LAST_UPDATESun, 20 May 2018 9pm

Inside Egypt: Paramedics Risking Wife And Limb

Kamil (right) talking to his colleagues at Nahda Square in Giza. Pic: The StarKamil (right) talking to his colleagues at Nahda Square in Giza. Pic: The StarKAMIL Abdul Bar’s wife is hopping mad. Night after night, for the past 10 days, her husband has been frequenting rallies.

The 40-year-old is not there by choice but rather out of a sense of duty.

Kamil is a trained paramedic with the Egyptian Ambulance services.

Ambulances have been placed on standby at various flashpoints where pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi supporters have been holding gatherings, rallies and marches. There have been violent, even deadly, clashes between the rival groups, the police and the army.

“We don’t care if they are for Morsi or against him. We work with everyone and treat everyone the same,” said Kamil.

“Our job is to save lives. We keep our personal political opinions to ourselves,” said Kamil when met where his team and 10 ambulances had converged for the evening at Nahda Square in Giza, a short walk from Cairo University.

Here’s where one group of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters had been gathering.

Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi was elected president a year ago in what was largely seen as a clean election.

But after a year in office, millions, dissatisfied with his rule, took to the streets to call for his removal.

On Wednesday night, the army, claiming that it was listening to the will of the people, ousted the elected president, which unleashed fury among his millions of supporters.

At least 35 people have died in the last few days in the clashes although the number is likely to be higher. The flare-ups and violence have been occurring in many areas.

Kamil said when the ambulances first started coming around about 10 days ago to offer their services as first-aid responders, the protesters were distrustful.

“They would stop the ambulances and sometimes try to attack us,” said Kamil.

“Some would even stop us from getting to the injured, because they prefer to take them to their own makeshift emergency tent at their rally site because they trust their medics and first-aiders more.

“But after watching us work, they started to believe that we are impartial. They know every minute of delay could cost a life, so now they work with us to help their injured and look to us to get the injured to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible,” he said.

As for his wife, Kamil said they had been having fierce “clashes” because she thinks he is endangering his own life by working at these volatile areas.

“Yesterday, she warned me ‘if you go there again, I am not going to be your wife anymore!’,” he said, as his colleagues echoed similar problems with their worried spouses.

While Kamil was on duty, his wife would call him on his mobile phone all the time to check if he was okay.

“After the fourth time or so, I would switch off the phone or I just won’t take her calls anymore,” he said.

The first-aiders work 24-hour shifts. Because of the chaotic situation, they work non-stop and are so tired by the time they finish.

“When we get home, we just want to sleep. But our wives are so angry with us because we don’t want to talk or do anything else.

“Our sex life too is affected because we are just so tired to perform our bedroom duty,” he said cheekily.

- The Star