by Maha Al Aswad
Although much has been said recently in the mainstream media about the current situation in Egypt, most of these accounts are largely influenced by the type of media submitting these reports: and given the nature of the Egyptian revolution as being citizen-led, it is important to hear these accounts from a citizen’s voice as well.
On Friday 18 November 2011, there was a huge demonstration in Tahrir Square calling for an end to military rule, to military trials for civilians (more than 12,000 civilians have been tried in military tribunals) and to the ever continuing use of supra-constitutional principles to govern the nation. There were huge numbers of citizens from different communities that attended the demonstration, most departing only in the evening. In addition to this, sit-ins were also held in different areas, including Tahrir Square, by those injured during the revolution and the families of the martyrs of the revolution. Throughout, they have been calling for the state to cover their medical expenses and pay compensations, based on the state’s responsibility in their suffering.
On Saturday, 19 November, security forces violently dispersed this injured group from their locations, provoking once more a return to Tahrir Square, as support to the injured and families of the martyrs, a movement similar to that held on 28th and 29th June. (See http://eipr.org/en/pressrelease/2011/07/04/1191). Many have claimed that this is an Islamist revolution to access power. Based on facts on the ground, one is forced to dispute the veracity of this claim, as what we see at the moment is ordinary Egyptian citizens revolting against police brutality and military rule.
Security forces are using different types of tear-gas, rubber bullets, bird-pellets and live ammunition against protesters in an excessively violent manner with each passing day; causing the death of 35 persons and leaving more than 1700 injured so far (official records from the Ministry of Health). People are being arrested arbitrarily and violently, including volunteers, field doctors and journalists covering the events. Field hospitals are being attacked to prevent doctors from helping the injured.
As this violence continues, more people are taking up to the streets in support of those already on the ground in more than five cities. It is crucial to portray this situation as it is, in order to assist this civilian-movement and promote their courage. A simplification of the revolution to a fight over power by religious/political groups and the army downplays the efforts of these brave people fighting for their rights. Accountability is crucial to the advancement of a people, this is what the Egyptians are fighting so ardently for.
One can help support the movement with the help of the following links:
– Joint Statement by Egyptian Groups:
– Human Rights Watch <http://goo.gl/zq5nR
Maha Al Aswad is an MA Candidate in International Human Rights Law at the American University in Cairo (AUC)