When someone bursted my bubble

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Almost three years ago, sitting on the university bus, scrolling down my Facebook account with no purpose whatsoever, I read a post and unfortunately saw pictures of a dog hanging from a balcony, blood drooling from his neck.

I read details about the story and - without going into so much details - found out that the owners weren’t letting people get inside the house to help and left the dog hanging there for several hours until an animal rescuer insisted on saving the dog.

This was the first animal torture incident I heard of in Egypt, and to be honest, I was more than petrified.

I decided to open the page that shared the post and read about the incident, and unfortunately, since that day, I open the page daily, cry over their stories and cannot stop myself from doing so. The page was called ESMA - Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals. The page belonged to an animal shelter, that rescues thousands of stray dogs and cats and to my surprise, I had never heard about it before.

Since that day, I discovered that we (or at least myself) literally live in a bubble. I honestly never imagined the amount of torture and negligence animals in Egypt face everyday. Selfishly, I never thought of their lives and never questioned they way stray animals eat or get cured, for instance.

Day after day, I kept digging deeper and became more knowledgeable about the issue and that proved to me, even more, how isolated I was (and most people honestly are) from the realities of our society. I felt extremely bad, I felt guilty for the years that have gone by, and ever since, I decided to do something and try to help.

When it was time for me to choose my audio documentary topic for one of my courses at university, I decided to tackle the issue of animal abuse in Egypt, as a way to raise awareness and help those helpless souls. As I started presenting the topic, a student suddenly stood up and accused me of overdramatizing the issue and claimed that Egypt isn’t such a bad place for animals.

“We always see people in the streets feeding animals and playing with them. Why do you only look at the bad side?” she questioned.

But in fact, I wasn’t dramatizing the issue. She, like myself and many others, was unaware of the reality, unaware of the cruelties some animals face daily, unaware of the thousands of times animal rescuers get insulted for helping animals, unaware of the number of dogs getting poisoned, beaten or even acid burned and certainly unaware of the lack of help those souls get even when feeling ill.

The issue is crucial, and gets very little or almost no importance and awareness. Some very kind people help by donating money, medicines, food, etc. to shelters that are in need for ressources. But, in my own point of view, this is not enough. At all. Awareness is key. People, everywhere in Egypt, need to know what happens to animals daily. They also need to know about the obstacles animal rescuers face; ones that hinder their initiatives. People, and let’s even start with our kids, need to know that animals are souls, just like humans. They need attention, care, love and sympathy.

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