Saturday, January 20, 2007


E-xem-pto-pho-bi-a(noun): an abnormal fear of being exempted from anything.

Based on latest figures Exrmptophobia hits 1 in every 9 billion. Considering that the human population is around 6 billion, you have to admit I'm damn unlucky to be Exemptophobic. I developed a severe case of Exemptophobia a few years back. I was planning a trip to Syria so I went to the Embassy to check what I need to issue a visa and they told me: As an Egyptian you are EXEMPTED from a visa! Now, these words might seem familiar to you if you hold a US passport but believe me for Egyptians (and I can tell from my personal experience of visiting 35 different countries) you need to issue a visa for any country you want to visit!

I was very excited As I marched into the immigration booths of Syria's Aleppo airport at 2 am on a sticky summer night. The excitement of entering THE FIRST country that exempted me from a visa vanished in a few seconds as I was dragged to a 45 min interrogation and walked out there without my passport!!!!!!!!!

Yes, turns out alot of Egyptian students enter Syria and stay illegally there. And since I was "EXEMPTED" from a visa and the JOB field in my passport read: STUDENT I was a text-book example of the illegal alien. I was given the option to either wait in the airport and take next plane to Cairo (i.e. to be deported) or surrender my passport and take it as I leave Syria and off course I opted for the latter.

For the next 7 days I enjoyed Syria (Great country by the way! you must visit it) but the fact that I am in a foreign country (and let's not forget not ANY foreign country, it's Syria!) without my passport nurtured my growing Exemptophobia. Thankfully, after going to the administration building in downtown Damascus for 4 days in a row and bribing a couple of officials I was able to get my sweeeeeeet sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet passport back.

The interesting is that this all came back to me a few days ago as I was at the South African Embassy here in Warsaw getting my visa and the lady looked at me and said:

As an Exemptophobic, I felt the cold sweat break from my forehead and the early signs of a full scale seizure kicking in, luckily the lady completed by saying:


Ashraf said...

how come I didn't read my name in that post? or how come you didn't mention that you left me alone in syria after taking your passport and went back home, leaving me to get into the second phase of exemptophobia is jordan alone!

shame on you!!!!


Homer said...

That is true. By now you should have figured out that I'm an ego-centric bastard. This is MY blog it's about ME ..ME ..MEEEEEE

However, you reminded me about something very important ... the one .. the only .. THE SYRIAN NODE