CAIRO – It’s rare you get a chance to thank someone for saving your life. But I had that chance today.
We were badly beaten and held at a hospital and security facility in Cairo. We survived, thanks to folks in the states and some good people in Egypt.
One of them was Youssif Ghalez.
For eight hours, he sheltered us in his apartment near Tahrir Square. At great risk to his own life, he kept us under wraps while thugs ransacked the rest of the floor searching for foreigners and then using the hallway just outside the apartment as a staging ground for lighting Molotov cocktails.
I can remember him peering through the frosted glass of his apartment door while the hooligans ran wild, ready to throw his life on the line for ours.
He gave us food, water, blankets, and being a Coptic Christian, even prayed with us.
When gas bombs started coming through the windows we made a break from the building. That's when we had more of our difficulties.
Today, Youssif was genuinely surprised and happy to see me. Amazingly, he told me just today he was thinking about our experience together.
He said he had fled too, and was also beaten.
And he had been threatened again in his apartment during recent riots.
I asked him how he felt about things in this country. With Islamist parties surging in the current parliamentary elections, some fear for the fate of minorities like Christians.
He said he hoped for the best. And invited me to return when things are a bit more calm.
I agreed. A good man, indeed.