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Why do they hate the Rabaa sign?

Why are they punishing different sports players for waving the Rabaa sign? Why do they arrest girls carrying yellow balloons with Rabaa signs?


In an attempt to answer these questions I watched and heard ugly comments and remarks by so called "talk show hosts" insulting football player Ahmed Abdel Zaher. Some demanded he be punished while others claimed he doesn't deserve to be an Egyptian. His supposed crime is that he waved the four-finger solidarity sign known as Rabaa sign after scoring the goal that secured the African championship League for Al-Ahly club against the Orlando Pirates, South Africa's oldest club.

Abdel Zaher was suspended and deprived of his monetary bonus from the club's victory. Al-Ahly is now offering him for sale.

He was accused of robbing Egyptians of much need joy.

Abdel Zaher was quoted by CNN Arabic as saying, "I waved the Rabaa sign but I didn't intend any political provocation to any party or fans. What I meant was to salute the martyrs of Egypt in Rabaa, whether citizens or security forces."

Finally, after three months, a forensic report was issued lately claiming that only 627 people were killed in the break-up of anti-coup sit-ins in Rabaa and Nahda Squares on August 14th. This figure differs from remarks by Prime Minister Hazem el Biblawy, who said that the number of deaths was close to 1,000.

Several western human rights organizations estimated the death toll to be around 1,300. However the National Alliance for supporting Legitimacy has estimated the death toll to be between 3,000 and 5,000.

Meanwhile, western media refer to the Rabaa sign as a symbol of the worst mass killing in Egypt's modern history. They mock the fear of the Rabaa sign and balloons and the arrest of those who carry them.

However, the issue for many in the Egyptian media and society generally is not that hundreds if not thousands of Egyptians were killed by the security forces for being against the coup or the demands for an investigation into the massacres. The big issue for them is the Rabaa sign which now symbolises the massacre that has become engrained in the memory of the Egyptian people and would not be erased or forgiven.

Therefore, a number of so called "columnists" and a "religious scholars" are associating the Rabaa sign with "Free Masonry" and "Nazism"; insulting the Rabaa victims without an explanation as to why they are comparing them with such movements, which many Egyptians know nothing about.

"They are afraid of anything that reminds them of Rabaa," Roqaya Saeed, 17, said of the Egyptian authorities. It is "a black spot they can't erase" she told the New York Times in an article published last week.

What Saeed said is the answer to the question of why do they hate the Rabaa sign so much and why it drives many mad. They don't have the courage to admit it; instead they resort to lying and denouncing the victims of Rabaa and other crimes instead of condemning the crimes and their perpetrators.

According to the New York Times, Saeed "is one of the girls the police arrested, interrogated for hours and then strip-searched and detained for 10 days, they were charged with serious crimes, including endangering national security, for what the authorities regarded as an act of subversion: passing out yellow balloons" !!

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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