Corruption and Bribery – Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

I woke at 730am to say goodbye to Nader before catching a taxi to the Sharm El-Sheikh airport. We were catching an 11am flight to Hurghada and since it was domestic, we had more than enough time. We weren’t checking any luggage, had two hours to space, and had pre-bought our Egyptian Visa stamp. Things should go smoothly right? Wrong.

We were fine all the way up to the ticket counter where Lee did not have a copy of his e-ticket anywhere. But the bigger problem was that apparently our Visa stamp was not good enough. Egypt Air called the authorities and the immigration guys also got involved. What it came down to was that we needed to pay some one to “guarantee” us because we had been to Israel. None of it made any sense to me. It still doesn’t. What I do understand is that we basically had to pay an illegal bribe to government officials. I asked them if that was what was happening and they said yes.

The whole thing had me absolutely fuming. Actually I was beyond angry. After Lee paid them off (600 pounds), I went through the whole gamut of feelings from rage to sadness to disappointment to pity to the acceptance of the fact that this is the first country I want to blacklist. I was pretty much hysterical about the whole thing because I felt trapped and imprisoned. Don’t threaten my freedom. I realize this is a major trigger for me.

As I sat on the plane, tears rolled down my cheeks. I felt discriminated against and beaten. I tried to work through my red hot anger that burned in the pit of my stomach. One of the airline employees who was trying to help me pled with me to “be angry in your head, but don’t keep anger in your heart”. I knew these were wise words. Still I had a really hard time managing this strong reaction to such injustice. I turned my focus to some little kids. I was able to bring myself to a place of compassion and love when I put myself in their energy field. The anger was replaced with concern for all those who are affected daily by this type of sinister corruption. All those innocent people who cannot leave. Those who do not have the choice.

Grateful for justice.

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