A journalist, an artist, a translator.
All have fallen for a cause in which they believed. All fought against the repressive regime that keeps Hosni Mubarak in power. All were killed by Egyptian police who get their instructions from the thugs with a license to kill. Since the pro-democracy demonstrations started on January 25, 2011 in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, and other major cities of Egypt, it is estimated that 300 people have lost their lives, and thousands were wounded.
And while the ‘new’ officials of the administration are saying they have begun addressing the issues raised by the protesters, journalists continue to be abducted, people continue to disappear and presumably, torture is still a specialty in Egypt.
It is fitting that we look at some of the fallen, if only to emphasize that they represent the ‘new’ Egypt.
Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud 39, was shot by a sniper last Friday. He was taping the violence from his balcony between protesters and plain-clothes policemen in front of the Ministry of the Interior when he was shot in the eye. He was taken to the Qasr al-Ainy hospital where he fell into a coma and died shortly thereafter. He leaves behind his wife, who is pregnant and a daughter. Mahmoud’s cousin, Hanan Hussein, said that Ahmed was always critical of the government, and felt an obligation to bring to light injustices. Mahmoud was the first journalist to be killed in Egypt’s uprising. The Mubarak regime is continuing its targeted attacks on journalists in an attempt to silence their voices. His funeral is today.
Ahmed Basiony, in his early thirties, was an artist, experimental musician and teacher at the Art Education College at Helwan University, Cairo. Ahmed died on January 28th, dubbed ‘the day of rage’ of beatings and subsequent gunshot wounds. He, too, had a video camera in his hands. The day before he died, it was reported that Mubarak’s Central Security Forces beat him severely. His body was found several days later at he Um Al Masreyeen hospital in Giza where official reports indicated he had been shot 5 times and run over by a vehicle. His last post on Facebook said: ‘I have a lot of hope if we stay like this. Riot police beat me a lot. Nevertheless I will go down again tomorrow. If they want war, we want peace. I am just trying to regain some of my nation’s dignity.’ He leaves behind his wife, and two children, – a four-year old named Adam, and an infant girl named Selma.
Sally Magdy Zahran, 23, was bludgeoned in the head several times by the regime’s Central Security Forces on January 28th, 2011. Unlike the others, she didn’t die in Tahrir Square but rather in Suhag, in Upper Egypt. She grew up in Cairo with her family and moved to Suhag to study English at the University’s Faculty of Arts. She had no political affiliations and no experience as an activist. She worked as a translator in Cairo. She had seen so many people in the streets protesting that she felt it would be safe to join them. She, too, had been critical of living conditions of Egyptians, and had joined Facebook groups who called for socio-economic reforms.
These young people were educated, passionate, dedicated and certainly not Islamist extremists. They all wanted and died for a better Egypt.