You don’t need a personal connection to Egypt to be moved by the chaos that killed hundreds yesterday.
But for Egyptians in North Texas, watching it unfurl from 7,000 miles away is exceptionally painful.
Mohamed El Mougy has been in the hotel business since the 1980s; he started with Omni soon after graduating from St. John’s College where he was a Fullbright scholar. Now he owns the Pyramids Hotel in Allen, half a world away from the country that inspired its name.
“We still have connections there, we still have relatives, cousins, uncles and so on and so forth, so my lifeline is still very attached to Egypt,” he says.
El Mougy, his wife and three kids try to go to Egypt every five years. Their last trip was in 2005, but the uneasiness and then revolution has kept them away ever since.
“The last thing you want to do is go there in the middle of havoc,” he says. “At the end of the day, it’s vacation, so you don’t want to ruin it for your kids to go there and be locked in a house all day long.”
El Mougy says his children remarked on the welcoming spirit of Egyptians when they visited the last time, so it’s been tough for him to see these things happen in his homeland.
“Egyptians are typically very generous people by nature. I can tell you, you hear of things that I never heard of before growing up, you know? Christians and Muslims and churches being burned the last few days.”
But as worried as he is about his relatives and as much as his heart breaks for the lives lost, he’s optimistic. And he won’t hesitate to go back.
“The plan is actually to go there as soon as we feel comfortable that when we go there we can move freely. That we go back to the Egypt we are accustomed to, where it doesn’t matter what you wear, what you look like, what religion you are, he says. “You know, at the end of the day, you’re welcome there.”
But for now, all El Mougy can do is keep tabs on his loved ones, and watch Egypt try and rebuild from afar.