It was not enough the night the military police decided to shoot and run-over protesters murdering over 30 Egyptians during the Maspero Massacre on black Sunday , 9 October 2011. Thousands of Christians went out in peaceful protests and marches denouncing the tearing down of Edfu church in Southern Egypt. What started as a peaceful march out of Shubra to Maspero, state TV building, ended as the mass murder of protesters, whom mostly were Christians including a dear comrade Mina Daniel . The video below shows the collection of images showing military tanks running over bodies of protesters and soldiers firing their guns at civilians.
All this was not enough for the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces, who held a press conference denying any of these vivid images blaming “infiltrators” and those “inciting violence” ensuring that there will be an investigation. About 28 “infiltrators” are facing military tribunals for the Maspero massacre, and they are all being charged with inciting violence and/or destroying military property. Out of those accused the first one accused and charged is ironically Mina Daniel, the first dead military trial victim and martyr. Others include the prominent blogger and revolutionary activist Alaa Abdel Fatah now facing 15 days detention for refusing to recognize the legal legitimacy of military courts when he was summoned today.
This is the face of counter revolution, SCAF; they kill you and accuse you for the crime they committed. The military headed by the dictator Tantawi is doing all they can to ensure the revolution is dead, but luckily dictators are always stupid and they are being exposed increasingly everyday. I salute Alaa for his stance in refusing to recognize SCAF as the legal power, but accuse it as part of the massacre. They can kill some of us, they can detained some of us, but they cannot stop all of us.
I find myself sleeping every night and waking up with nightmares and anger about SCAF. Before the revolution it was Mubarak and now it is Tantawi. From military trials, to torture, to virginity checks, and lately the prosecution of journalist Rasha Azab for exposing torture cases by the military, SCAF have left no freedom that they haven’t robbed. We must stand in solidarity with Rasha Azab, not because she is a brave, kind, honest, and wonderful human being, but because if we didn’t then it means we are okay with the behavior of the military that Rasha was exposing in Al Fagr article. She is the first journalist to be tried by the military prosecutor for criticizing the SCAF and exposing army torture. No constitution will ensure our freedom of speech if we don’t take a radical stand against censorship of press. Rasha’s case whether you agree with her personally or not is about this very principle.
If we let this case pass like Michael Nabil’s case, then we are falling in the constitutional trap SCAF is throwing at us, when in fact things on the ground in our daily lives are actually deteriorating. Those who are so focused on the constitution first are completely forgetting that with SCAF still in power, torture still practiced in prisons & stations, virginity checks conducted on female protestors, censorship of press & media, and evicted families still living on the street after promised national housing, no constitution will solve these practical issues without real pressure on the ground not on fancy paper.
I urge you to build pressure on issues that effect the daily lives of citizens today in the streets instead of focusing so much on the constitution. Although I believe drafting a constitution and building political parties is important, but it seems that the overwhelming majority of the political forces in Egypt now are focused on this while forgetting whom or what they are actually trying to help and achieve through this constitution. If the end mean for establishing this constitution is equality, democracy, accountability, freedom of speech, and justice, then why don’t those people also support cases that fight for those principles like Rasha Azab’s case, the evicted families living in front of Maspero, the family of martyrs on June 26th, the workers facing court this Saturday, and countless other cases. This is the revolution in my view. If we don’t win those battles that are fighting for the principles of the revolution, then we are not gaining any ground in this “revolution.”
Rasha Azab explains her interrogation with the military prosecutor regarding the article she wrote in Al Fagr newspaper on military abuse and torture. General Hassan El Rouieny has filed a legal case against Rasha Azab and Al Fagr editor in chief Adel Hammouda accusing them of reporting false news and challenging national security, in which case they could face military prison sentence in a military court. Rasha Azab is now the first journalist to be tried in a military court for writing an article criticizing SCAF. It is completely unacceptable and wrong that this would be happening to a journalist in a post-revolution Egypt, which demanded freedom of press and freedom of speech.
After a night out with friends celebrating Sarah’s and my accomplishment of graduating, we found ourselves singing and chanting against Al-Musheer Tantawi. It might have looked out of place or stupid, but the interesting part was a door man was cheering us on as we passed him by in Garden City. The growing discontent with SCAF can be accredited to multiple of things, they really left us a long list to choose from including: crackdown on the labor protests, virginity checks, military trials for civilians, or the recent summoning of activists & journalists for criticizing SCAF. On a more optimistic note, the military council have invited the group working to end military trials to meet with SCAF members today and discuss their demands. I hope that the outcome is more surprising than what I am expecting of the usual publicity stunt the SCAF likes to pull off with their usual “meetings.” These military trials for civilians need to end and all detained freedom fighters must be released.