Tadros Bass's story
When I was a little boy growing up in Cairo, Egypt, I felt I had one big dream and that dream was to be like my father: a great family man and a Police Officer, a hero — or at the very least my hero. He would come home from long hours of work and change from his uniform, and embrace us with his loving and gentle big arms.
Egypt in the 1980’s was at peace as far as the external world could see. But the economy was down and the struggle was a silent internal war due to religion. Even as a child I felt and sensed a “us against them" situation developing. Christians were —and still are— a minority in Egypt that had little rights, and were subjected to harassment, bulling and terrorism for no other reason than religious beliefs. This was one of my father’s drives to migrate to Australia to protect his family. Being in law enforcement meant he witnessed things at their worst, and was in the firing line.
My dad’s vision of the place he called Australia presented so many opportunities, not just freedom to practise safely our religious Christian beliefs, but the freedom to be in a country that is peaceful, that has high standards of education to start the careers we seek regardless of creed.
Before we left Egypt, dad organised a trip down history lane when he took us all to Giza where we spent the day marvelling about one of the world’s amazing mysteries: the Great Pyramids of Egypt. I felt the pyramids were larger than life. I remember sitting on the stones silently, in enthralment, wondering how my ancestors built the pyramids.
There were markings on the very stones I touched that day, linked to stories from Australian soldiers that went to war and fought in Europe. For many, their stories ended shortly after edging their names on the stones of the pyramids in Egypt. But whilst that’s where their stories ended, it was also where my story began.