An appropriate level of concern…


The world isn’t always a nice place.  One only needs to look at the recent events in Syria, Iraq, Gaza and Ukraine to realize this.  Refugees are filing out of these countries on a regular basis to get away from violence that has become all too common there.

But how bad actually is it?  Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to tell.

While I have no doubt the situation is pretty dire in the aforementioned countries, when we look at other regions, particularly Egypt, how much credence do you put into reports of instability, violence, robberies or even murders?   And at what point do these reports make you alter your behaviour?

I got to thinking about this the other day when a co-worker mentioned that the company her husband works for here in Egypt is not bringing their worker’s families into the country for safety reasons.  Apparently, there’s been a rash of carjackings of late (with SUV’s in particular being targeted) and they even had an employee killed in such a robbery.

When she told me this, I was a little taken aback.  Neither my wife or I have experienced ANY type of violence since we arrived here last year.  Nor have we really heard of anyone we know experience such.  Our impression is that Egypt is a very safe place to live.  Sure, we’ve periodically received warnings from my wife’s school about avoiding protests and even the odd robbery, but I honestly don’t think much about safety issues on a day-to-day basis here.  That said, I also recognize that just because I haven’t experienced anything, doesn’t mean that this “new” threat isn’t a real one.

So what exactly is one supposed do with this sort of information?  What is the appropriate level of concern I should have?  Should I avoid driving in any vehicle for fear of being carjacked?  Should we pack up and go back to Canada?  Or should I shrug my shoulders and acknowledge that while these incidents are awful, Cairo is a huge city with nearly 20 million people and sometimes “shit happens”.  To be honest I’m kind of leaning towards the latter, but I wish I was able to base that course of action on more information.

Part of the reason that I feel this way is for reasons that I’ve blogged about previously.  People are notoriously poor at assessing risk.  In truth, I probably have a much greater chance at being injured/killed in a car accident here than being the victim of violence, but how exactly do you know?  And what should be done to minimize the risk of either event occurring?

I wish there was an easier answer.



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