The Murder of Egyptian Dignity
As one of those fortunate enough to live in a true democracy, I and no doubt most of those around me are well aware of what we are entitled to. We have certain expectations that we are protected by the law as long as we abide by it. When we see a policeman or woman we do believe they are here “To serve and Protect” us. We know we have the right to feel safe in our communities…we have the right to enjoy our lives because we are good, free citizens who contribute to our societies.
We are entitled to our dignity!
Amgad Mokhtar Hussein, a young Egyptian Muslim man, was to find out that as an Egyptian he had no right to such expectations. His story is stranger than fiction…or so it seemed to one accustomed to living in a society where rule of law is respected. In fact, hearing him tell what happened to him made me absolutely sick with horror and despair. (He was interviewed by Amr Adeeb on the popular program Al Qahira Alyaoum, or Cairo Today)
Amgad and his wife are American University graduates, and he works for a cinema production company…he has practically no active involvement in any political movement.
Amgad, his wife and a friend were traveling by bus to Al Qusseir (a town on the coast of the red sea). The bus was stopped by the police for an ID check…a regular occurrence on Egyptian roads and highways, particularly after the recent attacks on Sharm Al Sheikh. One of the policemen asked Amgad if he had a work permit. Amgad replied that he is going to Al Qusseir for holidays and does not intend on working there. The policeman oddly repeated the question several times, apparently not satisfied by Amgad’s answers. Then he asked Amgad to get off the bus.
What ensued is a series of events that involve acts of torture to rival some of those we read about in Abu Ghreib in Iraq. Amgad was taken into an office and beaten severely by a mob of lower ranking officers. When Amr Adeeb asked him what he did while they were beating him, Amgad simply said “Initially I was trying to block the blows…but after a while, I was overwhelmed especially that I didn’t know why this was happening”
Throughout the ordeal, the first officer dished out insults to the victim. If you’re thinking he was just swearing at him, think again! He made Amgad say those things aloud about himself threatening to beat him if he doesn’t comply…then beat him anyway each time he said them.
At one stage, he made the other officers strip Amgad off his pants and cuff his hands to a desk. Then they proceeded to pull out Amgad’s pubic hair.
Amgad was then made to lie on his stomach and crawl on his bare stomach and groin along the room. There was reference in Amgad’s account to the officer calling to the others to bring “a fake ###” along with references to raping Amgad. Amgad said the officer said to him “I’ll show you. You know I’m really into women and I prefer men” clearly threatening him with rape. Then asked Amgad to kiss his shoes and the shoes of all the others present.
Meanwhile, and mercifully unaware of the horrors her husband is experiencing, Amgad’s wife was pacing outside the very building waiting for him and making some calls to her family. You see this couple is from well off and well connected families. When Amgad heard his wife’s voice while alone in his torture room, he understood she must be just outside the room and that she would also hear him if he yelled out loud enough. So he did…he yelled out that he was being tortured.
It’s obvious that the family connections served Amgad then. It seems that the officer involved also started to understand just how much trouble he’d got himself into. Because another officer came into the room, gave Amgad his clothes and told him to put them on. Amgad was also offered some tea!!!!!
Of course, and again due to Amgad’s family’s prominence, this officer has been suspended and an investigation is currently underway.
But it’s bigger than just this. This isn’t about one incident…this is about abuse of power and corruption. It’s about the average Egyptian who has no rich father or family connections…who is speaking on his behalf?????????????? Who’s making him/her feel safe in their own country??????
I sincerely thank the Lord for Amgad’s safety, and I applaud his courage in coming forward and speaking up so that justice can take its course, and the guilty is punshed. Maybe, just maybe, it will deter any other lowlife from repeating these atrocities.
Time and time again we see that those responsible for protecting Egyptians and upholding the law are the first to trample the law. When will it stop? When are we going to have a real and a free judiciary system?
Egyptian dignity is being murdered over and over again…is there even any hope left that we will one day revive it?