Reporters on the Job

Knocked Off His Feet: The vulnerability of Sudanese refugees in Cairo (see story) was brought home to staff writer Dan Murphy earlier this year. When he moved to Cairo, an American friend of his had a young Sudanese man from Darfur living with him. When the American left the country, Dan invited the Sudanese man – an English student and enthusiastic amateur basketball player – to move in with him.

Last January, Dan's roommate went to visit other Sudanese refugees living in a third-floor apartment in Shubra, a poor Cairo neighborhood. A large group of Egyptians with heavy sticks burst in shouting something about one of their sisters being insulted and started beating the men. As Dan's friend retreated to the balcony, one of the attackers gave a shove and he went over the rail.

"Miraculously he got his legs under him,'' says Dan, but added that the bones in his roommate's right leg were shattered.

"We talked about trying to schedule an appointment with the UN to see if they would consider the fact that Cairo isn't as safe as it's cracked up to be for the Sudanese. But it wasn't possible." So Dan dug into his own pocket to help his roommate get reconstructive surgery. "That's surgery he simply wouldn't have received if he didn't have someone like me to pay for it," says Dan.

– Christa Case
Europe desk editor

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