The Sudanese author Mohamed Bahnas’ death of hunger and cold out on Cairo’s streets has made people speak of his virtues, although nobody cared for him while he was alive.
The tragedy of Bahnas
Tuesday ,24 December 2013
Bahnas, 42, was an author, a poet and an artist who came from Sudan to Cairo more than a year ago, where he held a fine art exhibition and never returned to Sudan.
He resided in the Ataba neighborhood for a while before financial troubles forced him to live on the streets of downtown Cairo. He died homeless and friendless on a sidewalk and was transferred to Zeinhom Morgue. His body lay there for two weeks until it was identified by his acquaintances, indicating that nobody cared about, or noticed, his absence.
According to his friends in Sudan, before coming to Egypt the tragic poet had travelled to France, married and had a child, and then got divorced.
He was then deported to Sudan, where he was traumatized by his mother’s death. He moved to Cairo, where he ended up without a job. Did he suffer a psychological disorder that led him to homelessness or did homelessness accentuate his psychological woes?
Was news of his death a shock to his friends and acquaintances? Or did his death uncover those who neglected him and turned their back on him like many other citizens who die of cold and negligence?
If those who mourned him and decried his lonely, freezing death in the streets had cared about him with even a word, he would have lived a far better life or died in a better way.
It is a tragedy that his Egyptian and Sudanese colleagues and acquaintances in Cairo are complicit in, until he died and became their favorite subject of conversation.
Bahnas’ death is a tragedy that became a pastime on Facebook.
Yet those who pity him after his tragic death still see homeless people without helping them.
To all who want to exaggerate feelings of sadness, and condemnation of Bahnas’ colleagues, the Sudanese community and Egyptians, you can turn these feelings into a relief campaign for the homeless instead of letting them die.