The Sad Connection between the Dead and the Detained
Let us face the truth.
The military rule, which extended for sixty years, has deformed us. We have become a nation where some of its citizens deny the most basic human rights.
During the thirty years in which a deposed president called Mubarak ruled us, he carried out an organized plan to destroy all state institutions. More grievously, he destroyed this society’s values within the hearts of many citizens, with the consequence that today we witness human-nature phenomena that we would not have imagined to ever see.
Blood shed on the streets, people falling dead, mothers bereaved, wives widowed, children orphaned, and thousands detained in prisons, all that did not cause a hair to be turned for some of those who were dancing to the rhythm of gunfire on the streets.
Even worse is that—as we discovered—after being ruled by someone like Mubarak for thirty years, a part of this nation could not care less about anything. They are with the state no matter what it does, without their realizing the consequences of this, without their knowing that they are their own enemy and that such an assaultive state would not show them themselves any mercy if it happened to assault them.
To make my point clear, dear reader, let us assume that several persons decided to meet in order to do drugs or hash in the home of one of them, or to exercise vice in a brothel. Then the building they are in fell over their heads, and they all get trapped under the rubbles, with their wrongdoing exposed. The question is: what is the duty of the state at that moment?
The answer to this question is, unarguably, according to all religions and their laws, all traditions, all legislations, Mubarak’s constitution, all constitutional declarations, the 2012 constitution and the current constitution, the duty of the state at that moment is to save these citizens trapped under the rubbles. No human on the face of the earth would dispute that.
The state’s duty, when a citizen is under rubbles or is lost in land or sea, is to save him, even if that citizen was committing any indecent act. Whoever says anything to the contrary has lost his humanity.
Unfortunately, some Egyptian citizens had no sympathy for a group of youths who went up to climb mount Saint Catherine, when a snowstorm disaster struck and they were snowbound until three of them died.(1) As usual, the government was remiss in rescuing them, for the reason that they were Egyptian nationals, with no foreign tourist among them to earn them a rescue aircraft.
Some said the climbers had violated some laws by climbing without a guide, and other nonsense that we read on social networking sites. A question arises: what became of those who were on board a ferry legally, having paid in full tickets whose price includes safety insurance, life insurance and accident compensation? What became of those who boarded the Upper-Egypt train and burnt in what could be called an authentic Egyptian Holocaust?
The answer is known to us all: all they got was heartbreak and defeat, while the ferry owner departed via the VIP lounge and the train minister was reinstated in his ministry.
Do not bother us with justifications to vindicate the government, for the truth is crystal clear. The Egyptian government scorns the Egyptian citizen. This is a common factor among all governments that ruled Egypt over the past sixty years. There are very few exceptions, most of which are “television” exceptions just for propaganda.
Gradually, we came to scorn human life. We did not stir when citizens drowned in ferries, when they were burned up in trains, when mountain rocks collapsed over them, when they were killed on the streets for rebelling, or when their bodies were burned and scooped away with bulldozers!
Those youths died of the bitter cold on Saint Catherine, yet you find thousands of people gloating over their deaths, blaming them for trivial matters (What made them go there?)(2).
At the same instant, there are others who are being thrown in jail on charges that are unparalleled except in countries of tyranny hell. Those include Omar Hatheq, a young poet, Taher Mukhtar, a bright doctor, Louay Qahwaji, a respectable activist, Mahinur al-Masry, a female lawyer who did not miss an opportunity to stand by the ill-treated, Hassan Mustafa, a political fighter who fought against injustice in all periods, and along with them Islam Hassanein, a hapless citizen whose only fault was that he happened to pass by at the scene of events. Those young people are sentenced to two years imprisonment and a 50-thousand pounds fine, on charges of breaching the demonstration law, causing damages and injury to soldiers, and crushing cars.
What did these people do? They demonstrated in front of the Mansheya court for the case of Khaled Said, the revolution’s icon. That case does not seem to have an end in sight, with a just or unjust verdict. The events of that day indicate that they staged a peaceful protest, and that the police was the one that started attacking the activists. The lawyers filed an appeal for the case, but for the first time in years, the appeal was rejected and the verdict was upheld. These young people are in prison and some of them were sentenced in absentia, after a case that took a few weeks in court. Oddly enough, they were demonstrating for the Khaled Said case, which has been undergoing postponements for four years.
Do you want a proof that we have lost our humanity? It is a harsh proof, and I am compelled to say what follows. Do you know, dear reader, where Khaled Said’s mother stands? Unfortunately, she stands on the side of her son’s murderer against those who demonstrated demanding punishment for him!
Some Egyptian citizens today are applauding all forms of tyranny and are gloating over all sorts of tragedies, in what appears to be madness. This is the sad thread that connects those who died on Saint Catherine of cold weather with those who have been detained and sentenced to prison for demanding the punishment of Khaled Said’s killers.
To the rebels, to the youths of the January revolution: we have a lot of work ahead of us, and immense tasks await us. Egypt's rulers have damaged a lot of people to the point of their losing their humanity. It is required of us now to restore those back into human beings as God created them initially. Our battle is a battle of awareness. God says: "God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves." The change has begun, with the emergence of millions of youths who do not accept humiliation or yield to tyranny, and who are willing to sacrifice all that is dear and precious for the sake of peaceful change.
Victory is at hand, God willing. Long Live Egypt for Egyptians and by Egyptians.
* Original article by AbdulRahman Yusuf appeared in Arabic on February 22, 2014 on Arabi21 site. Link to the article: http://arahman.net/menu-types/1646-2014-02-22-07-42-43 (1) A fourth climber was later found dead, after the original article had been written. (2) This question was first asked by some when a video appeared of officers unclothing and beating a female protestor, as a way of blaming her for subjecting herself to the abuse and thus vindicating the officers. (Translator’s note)