The snowstorm has melted… Humanitarian initiatives that save Egyptians stuck on the streets of Istanbul
Istanbul- Despite the very cold weather in the Turkish city of Istanbul following the most severe snow storm in years, the warm human relations between the Egyptians there have thawed the ice of exile through a solidarity campaign to save those stranded on the roads.
A state of general mobilization witnessed by Egyptian groups and their accounts on social networking sites, as personal initiatives have spread to host those stranded on the roads for long hours since the first evening yesterday, Monday, and to provide assistance to alleviate the crisis that paralyzed the Turkish city and provoked angry reactions.
The Egyptians Gathering in Turkey, a Facebook group with nearly 230,000 subscribers, has seen an influx of posts by members offering to help on the roads and hosting in nearby homes.
To get closer to what happened on the stormy Turkish night, Al Jazeera Net met a number of Egyptians stuck in the streets of Istanbul, as well as others who launched initiatives to help.
Abd al-Rahman Muhammad, the young Egyptian, says: located in Istanbul “I wrote a post in which I offered to host any of the young men stuck in the streets and near my place of residence, because I watched many videos of closed roads, and I know that there are many who were unable to return to their homes.”
Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, Muhammad added, “It was necessary to exploit the proximity of some Egyptians’ residence to the main roads of the city to host the stranded, and my initiative received a great interaction from Egyptian youth and families, and I found many initiatives, and publications from people who put their phone numbers and addresses of their residence and offer to host the relative to them “.
Abdel Rahman was not surprised by the strong interaction of the Egyptians with these initiatives, saying, “This is not strange to the Egyptians who are known for their magnanimity, and providing assistance in exile is a very important thing.”
The young Egyptian Islam Salah – who lived through difficult moments stuck in the snow – tells with emotion, “On my way to my house the roads were closed, I rode a bus traveling on a road designated for it away from cars, but it took twice the usual time to reach the nearest point of my residence, and when I got off I found the road closed Completely, the snow is so high that no one can move.”
AndSpeaking to Al Jazeera Net, Salah added, “I posted in a private group on Facebook a video of the road and that I could not reach a house, and immediately I found many calls from young people, but some of them lived far from me, until a friend contacted me and hosted me in his house.”
And about his feelings in those moments in his estrangement, he said, “The situation was very difficult and the feeling that you were alone and no one beside you, a very bad feeling, and I began to remember the condition of detainees in Egyptian prisons, in this bad weather, especially since my father and brother are under arrest.”
He added, “However, the contacts that came to me made me feel once again among my family and friends.”
A storm made me cry
In turn, the young Egyptian Ahmed Essam recounts his experience with the snow storm and his inability to return to his home, saying, “I was in one of the large commercial complexes in the city, and when I got out, I found the conditions outside very bad, the roads are closed, and the storm is severe, and I cannot move.”
And he added in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, “I wrote on my Facebook account for help, and indeed I found a strong interaction, as I received several calls from people I do not know offering to host me in their homes until the storm ends, and others to reassure.”
And he continued, “I was crying from the pain of the severe cold, and at this moment, with great sympathy, I felt that I was among my family and in my country, Egypt, and that God sent these people to reassure my heart in this alienation.”
Nobility does not differentiate
The magnanimity of Egyptians in exile does not differentiate between a young man and a girl, everyone rallied to the support of his countrymen. For her part, the young Egyptian Asmaa El-Serafi showed on her Facebook page that she hosted girls and women stranded on closed roads, saying, “I will be very happy to welcome you until the situation improves.”
Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, Al-Serafi said, “These weather and snow storms are not usual for us as Egyptians, because Egypt is always characterized by its moderate atmosphere, and many of us have not adapted to this situation.”
She added, “After watching the photos and videos of the stranded, I felt completely helpless, especially with the inability to help our refugee brothers and their children dying from the extreme cold in the border camps, and the least I could help with was receiving girls and women stranded on the road.”
She confirmed that her initiative met with wide interaction, and indeed she contacted some of the stranded girls, and some of them came to her home on that stormy night.
Ahmed Ajami, like other dozens of young Egyptians in Istanbul, moved with great passion to help those stranded on the roads, and in response to the initiatives that called for opening their homes and hosting their compatriots.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Ajami said, “I seriously thought about it, as I live in an apartment with an empty and equipped room that can accommodate two or three people, so why not host my brothers who are stuck in this bad atmosphere and were unable to return to their homes.”
And about his feeling of the importance of the matter, he said, “In the beginning, it was no more than writing a post on Facebook, but when thinking from another perspective, which is harboring your brother in a strange situation and in a bad circumstance, a very different and positive feeling that gives energy and renews the spirit, and that we are support and help for each other, and not because we Only between the sons of one nation, but as Muslims we are commanded to do so.”
He confirmed that a young man responded to his initiative and was stuck on the road near him for more than 5 hours, when he came to his house and spent with him last night.
The number of Egyptians in Turkey is about 34,000, according to the official announcement of the Turkish Immigration Department this January, most of them are stationed in Istanbul.
In an attempt to manage the crisis resulting from the snow storm that hit the city, the governor of Istanbul, “Ali Yerlikaya,” issued a decision to suspend work in all government and educational institutions yesterday, Tuesday, January 25, until the municipality dealt with the crisis and opened roads closed with snow.
The governor of Istanbul also announced the opening of 71 mosques throughout the city to accommodate the stranded and appealed to all stranded to go to the nearest large mosque.