“The day didnt start as planned..“ woke up a bit late still adjusting to the to the new eating and sleeping patterns to accommodate for fasting. I wont deny it; when everthing falls according to plan, I get a sense of accomplishment and control, but when it doesn't, I know its either a new challenge or a shift in my destiny that will lead me to an alternate destination. I tried to fight it at first and regain control of it, but eventually gave in to the unexpected.
A cemetery, maybe is not a common choice for people to spend their mornings but I felt a calling to take a look. Didn't know what to expect knowing that I’ve never been to what other refer to as a ”Christian Cemetery”. The image I had was one created from hollywood movie scenes showing burial ceremonies. As a Muslim I’ve only witnessed the traditional Muslim burial process.
Everything I saw next simply amazed me, the place is whats originally called “The Commonwealth Memorial Cemetery”. The location was donated by the Egyptian Government to commemorate the fallen soldiers of World War One. To this point, every thing made sense until I started reading the names and ranks off the tombstones. I was astonished with a stupid smile on my face; everyone was there, all next to each other. Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus and all sorts of ranks, all together next to each other no classification or segmentation. Soldiers from Britain, Australia, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, New Zealand, and India all together. I guess in war and death we are one.
The magic was just beginning, because this well maintained place need some devoted care takers. Thats when I met one of hard working care takers of this breathtaking place. A man with a solid handshake, rough working hands and a little smile. Magdi Imam, he said, and that was my second shock, a Muslim in a Christian Cemetery how could it be. I asked him in blunt words trying to provoke any sense of displeasure his next word were my key to silence “This place is a work of art and I'm part of it and most people caring for the multiple locations are Muslims as well”.
From there on everything made sense, I was witnessing a piece of art in every way possible.
A place that stands as a symbol for beauty, equality, and unity. I spend most of that morning just wandering around and looking for any reason to strike conversation. Lucky for me, Sayed was there as well, a younger man, with an intimidating look from a distance that keeps away strangers. At heart, Sayed was kind, decent, and held his end of the conversation with resilience. We spent a few hours sharing our views and stories on embracing responsibility and self-actualization. For a moment there, in the silence I felt a breif of serenity.