What would you do if you found a camera, and wanted to return it to its owner? One Egyptian taxi driver decided to do it the Egyptian way and utilise the internet – with rapid results.
The taxi driver, Abdel Hameed Tawfiq, asked the passenger who found the camera to post some of the photos on it online. The passenger, a young student called Asmaa Mostafa, tells the story:
ثالثا: تحسين الصورة الذهنية لمصر والمصريين بالخارج الأمانة لازم ترجع لأىحد مهما كانت جنسيته وكان لازم نحاول الوصول لمالك الكاميرا واللى زادنى حماسة أكتر أنه مش مصرى قولت أحنا سمعتنا بتبقى مش كويسة فى الخارج وبعض التجار المصريين بيستغلوا السياح وده شىء بيأثر علينا كلنا
رابعا: الهدف الأقوى أننا نوصل الصفحة دى لكل الناس أحنا مجرد بنبتدى ومعانا ثقة الحمد لله. لازم الناس تعرف أن مصر أمنة وبلد الأمان بالشعب […]خامسا: مصر مش تخلف ولا بلطجة ولا سلبية وعشوائية ( مصر هى عبد الحميد واللى زيه والوحش عمره ما هيغطى على الحلو فينا(
In the beginning when Abdel Hameed, the taxi driver, asked me to publish on the internet the pictures of the tourist which were on the camera, I decided to contact the many pages I was a member of and ask them for help, and indeed the various pages helped me and really encouraged me and supported the case. I published the pictures of Marcus on their pages. […] After that I sent a message to a colleague who told me to make a page on Facebook about the matter. I did make a page [called All Egypt is looking for this person] and began to invite people, and the pages I had contacted also invited their members to join our page. The aims of the page I made were:
1. Return the lost property to its owner
2. Return it by way of the Egyptian people (I never thought of sending it to an embassy to deal with); I hoped that we who were calling, searching and speaking ourselves would suddenly find him, and really I hoped that, but not as quickly as it happened, I thought it would take months.
3. To improve the image of Egypt and of Egyptians abroad; lost property must be returned to a person, regardless of his nationality, and we had to try to reach the owner of the camera. The thing which motivated us more was that he was not Egyptian. Our reputation isn’t good abroad; some Egyptian shopkeepers exploit tourists and that’s something which affects all of us.
4. The greatest goal was to reach everyone with this page; we’re just beginning and we have confidence. Everyone needs to know that Egypt is safe for people. […]
5. Egypt is not backward not full of thugs and chaos, Egypt is Abdel Hameed and those like him, and terrible things will never overwhelm the good in us.
Just an hour and three minutes after the page was created a message was posted by Mohamed Abu Seda, who said that he knew the person in the photo, a Swiss man called Marcus. Mohamed got in touch with Monzer Mohamed Rashad, a friend of Marcus in Switzerland, and soon Monzer posted a message and sent a picture of him and Marcus together. They later made a video telling the story in full (Monzer starts in Arabic and Marcus – also known as Abdullah – continues in English):
The Facebook page is still attracting followers, and is being used as a way of promoting Egypt as a safe tourist destination. As Monzer said in a post: