Sunday, February 3, 2008

Cherchez le Bro

My flight back home was a hellish experience. Right in front of my husband & I sat an Egyptian woman with her three children, an eight year old boy, a five year old girl, and a toddler (I suck at guessing ages, so please allow for an error margin of + or – 5 years per child).

I was feverish and had just started to feel the symptoms of a nasty cold, so I was looking forward to sleep throughout the flight. Unfortunately, the toddler in front of me had other plans. She systematically cried every five minutes. As soon as her screaming would fade into a softer cry, my eyelids would slowly obey gravity and the urge to sleep, only for her to start a new screaming cycle that would make me jump in the air.

The mother did nothing at all to stop this racket. The flight attendant gave me a sympathetic smile as she passed by, and asked the family to keep the noise down since the passenger behind them (moi) was very sick. As a typical Egyptian, she decided that the best way to get what she wants was by bribery, so she gave them lots of sweets. I don't think I need to elaborate on the effect of the obscene amount of sugar consumed by the kids on their already .

Of course I don’t have to tell you how much I hated this girl. On one of her trips to the lavatory with her mom, I was just about to offer to take her there myself, since I was planning to flush her down the toilet. But my phobia of public toilets, and specially in airplanes, stopped me from executing this perfect plan.

Fifteen minutes before landing, I found my husband sticking his hand between the seats in front of us. Holding the boy’s arm he started yelling at him: “Stop it, have mercy!!!” Turns out, this devil was hitting and pinching his little sister as soon as she stopped crying. The last minutes of our flight were relatively peaceful, but my headache was already beyond any known treatment.

The above is a true story, but what I will do now is give the characters different identities. My husband and I will be the Egyptian people, the mom is the Palestinian Authority & Hamas combined, the toddler is the Palestinians of Gaza, the flight attendant is the US, while the brother is Israel.

Egyptians must show the toddler that its behavior is unacceptable. But it is also important for them to find and deal with the brother who is the source of the problem. It will also help if we confront the mom, and the flight attendant and demand that they live up to their responsibilities.

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