The cases of harassment that occurred in Cairo during last year’s Eid al-Adha celebrations spiked the gallantry and honour of Dr Mohamed ElBaradei. They pushed him to send a scolding message over the internet, his favourite place after Austria, to the Egyptian people describing them as a barbaric. However, if he were to be criticized by anyone for using such a phrase, he would of course say that he meant “the harassers”…
This reaction shows that ElBaradei condemns harassment, let alone rape?! And what of Hamdeen Sabahi who vehemently asserted during a press conference alongside ElBaradei, Amr Moussa, and Sayed El-Badawi on Monday 28/1/2013 that his movement stems from the values of our religion.
However, what is alarming is that ElBaradei and Sabahi, as well as the other officials, ignored the brutal harassment and rape spree that affected 23 Egyptian girls in Tahrir Square during the second anniversary celebrations of the revolution. News of the incidents were reported by the Women’s National Council, specifically by Ms. Sherine Naguib, the council’s lawyer, who said, “According to the records of Al-Salam International Hospital, the demonstrations in Tahrir Square during the celebration of the revolution’s second anniversary resulted in the rape of 18 girls who went out on the night of the celebrations commemorating the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution.” The lawyer also told Al-Ahram Gate that she had visited a 19 year old girl being treated at the Al-Salam International Hospital and “was surprised by her poor health condition and fatigue due to the physical abuse and brutal gang-rape she suffered. After being examined, it was apparent that she had been cut on different parts of her body with a sharp instrument… and that the girl was brought in to the hospital by a woman who was coincidentally at the scene and donated EGP 5,000 to the hospital.”
According to the “Elaph” website, 23 cases of assault on girls were documented. Moreover, the website quoted Dr Magda Adly, Director of El Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, who said that such assaults are carried out in an organized manner.
Hasn’t ElBaradei, who was heartbroken that the Egyptian constitution did not allow for the establishment of a Buddhist temple in Egypt, heard about these horrific incidents? Haven’t Hamdeen Sabahi, Amr Moussa, and Sayed El-Badawi heard? If they have, it would be a disaster, and if they haven’t it would be an even greater disaster.
It is common knowledge that leaders of the National Salvation Front called for these demonstrations in Tahrir Square, and as such should be held politically responsible for any violence that arose. They are also politically responsible for securing the entrances and exits of the Square and ensuring that no thugs, criminals, or infiltrators are admitted. The Islamists appear to be very successful in ensuring safety during their events as we haven’t heard about a single incident of harassment during any Islamist event.
I ask Dr ElBaradei, Mr Sabahi, and Mr Amr Moussa if you are unable to control the occurrence of such atrocious crimes during a demonstration, will you be able to secure, let alone run a country?! Your dishonest babbling in the name of the Egyptian people has one purpose; to snatch the leadership from the rightful president, who was elected in a free and legitimate election.
I also ask Dr Mohamed ElBaradei and Mr Hamdeen Sabahi, what if, God forbid, this had happened to your daughter? What would your reaction be? How would you feel, especially since all the women you invited to participate in these demonstrations are in the position of your daughters? Or do you believe you belong to one class while the daughters of the public belong to a lower class?
I won’t ask Dr Sayed El-Badawi about his position on such a horrid incident, for he was unable to protect himself from being slapped on his backside while trying to make his way through Tahrir Square; an incident that will definitely be recorded as an historical slap.
I ask those who repeatedly ask the President to take political responsibility for the blood being shed at the hands of thugs and criminals, where is the moral responsibility for the people’s daughters who participated in a demonstration you invited them to? I ask the head of the oldest party in Egypt, where is the ethical responsibility… doesn’t this incident deserve a broad headline in your party’s newspaper or on any of your satellite channels that don’t miss a beat in order to stop such incidents? Don’t such crimes deserve a tweet from your Twitter account, Mr Baradei? Don’t such horrid crimes deserve a free televised statement by you, Mr Sabahi?
My question to the prominent women leaders – politicians and artists – who participate in Salvation demonstrations is, didn’t you hear about this? Hasn’t your blood boiled for the girls of your country and for women’s rights? Yes, Dr. Karima Hefnawi, a star at almost every demonstration, justified what happened to “90 Minutes” by saying it was caused by frustration!
As for the media in Egypt, except for some programs and articles such as Mr Wael Qandil’s article in Al-Shurooq, it was blind to what happened… the shameful media was silent.
Once again, I go back to the leaders of the Salvation Front and say, ignoring this incident and failing to condemn it at your press conferences is a disgrace that will follow you. Moreover, you did not even bother to visit the victims at the hospital, at the very least, as a message to the rest of the girls participating in your demonstrations that they have your support and are at the centre of your attention. You are political traders and human traders and you will fail.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.