Sunday, March 21, 2010


It is a freezing Northern ocean, a lonesome boat full of people searches helplessly for any survivors. All they find are dead, frozen corpses including a mother desperately hanging on to her child.
You watch the scene in Titanic and you can't help thinking, "The selfish bastards, they should have gone back and picked them up from the cold." When you are the one who is relatively safe in the ship though, will you really risk your life?
No longer had the Titanic finished did my sister hear somebody screaming "Fire!" We all rushed to the voice and were surprised to see clouds of smoke rising up at us from somewhere in our building. Some woman was kept out by the hell around her in the balcony and could do nothing but scream her head off at the neighbours as we helplessly watched her. My sister, six floors above the woman, broke down and rushed about the house uncontrollably. My mother closed all the gas pipes and at a time the house even fell into darkness. Within minutes, the strong winds blew the piles of smoke up and the house was tinted in black. I heard a door banging outside and as soon as I opened the door fumes rushed in and I had to close it again without thinking. I looked through the door viewer and could not see the opposite flat, only three metres away, so even thinking of rushing down and saving anyone was out of the question. I frantically called both the Fire Department and ambulance and thought of ways to help by vulnerable household which includes a toddler, a pregnant sister and a 75 year-old uncle.
The screams of the woman stranded in the balcony of her house were heartbreaking. Hundreds gathered below her burning apartment and in all balconies that could hear her and urged her to calm down. Slow moments passed as smoke slowly filled our lungs, scratching at our mouths and throats. We were all helpless...if we close the balcony we will choke at the smoke that had already filled the air and if we don't more smoke will rise. If it is one person choking you, you can kick him in the nuts, scratch his eyes, force him away, but getting choked by an elusive enemy is unspeakable. The woman stopped screaming. Uncertain, we asked the people in the opposite building what happened, and they told us the brave firemen broke into her house and finally saved her. In an irrelevant moment of thinking I lamented that these poor firemen probably earn nothing in return for saving lives.
The following day, what was left of her salon was thrown beside the building. What she may have felt like, being all alone in this smoke, with hundreds of helpless passersby just watching and unable to do anything else, I cannot begin to imagine. Did she really feel that...they had to think of their family? Of their own lives and safety? Did she really think as she was yelling at us "7aram 3aleko" that we had to wait for professional people to save her? Or was she thinking...the selfish bastards?

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