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Al-Sisi and the reality of Sinai

April 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Sinawi YouTube channel shared a video entitled “Watch the response of the people of Sinai in the wake of the leaking of Al-Sisi’s remarks on the area”. The video features scenes of destruction, house demolitions and cries by Sinai citizens who are victims of the military operations carried out by the Egyptian army.

The video was produced in the aftermath of a recent leaking of a statement by Egyptian Minister of Defence Abdel Al-Fattah Al-Sisi in which he warned against the danger of dealing militarily or through security measures in Sinai.

Sinawi wrote the following about the video:

“For more than 120 days, the security and military authorities have been conducting an intensive campaign against most of the north Sinai region. The campaign has been focused primarily on the areas close to the borders of the governorate.

“The campaign is accompanied by a daily disruption to all means of land transport and telecommunications including mobile phones and internet. The military authorities impose a curfew for several hours during the day. Several vital locations and squares have been declared no-go areas including six main squares.

“Living conditions in Sinai are deteriorating by the day. Prices are very high and goods are not easily accessible. Shop owners are no longer able to exhibit their commodities especially in Sheikh Zwayyid Square and at Al-Masurah. Indiscriminate killings have become daily occurrences. On Wednesday, three individuals were shot dead by members of a special security force belonging to Al-Arish Third Police Station. The shooting was unprovoked except that the car carrying the victims passed the police station.

“As part of the security campaign, Al-Salam Bridge above the Suez Canal, which is a lifeline for Sinai, has been closed for the six consecutive months. Passage using ferries is still rather difficult.

“We, the people of Sinai, have not been surprised by the statement made by the Minister of Defence saying the security solution in Sinai is futile and that it is not the ideal solution to the problem. We know very well what the objective of this campaign is.”

The five minute video contains images of Al-Sisi’s speech juxtaposed with images of the people of Sinai. The images play out as follows:

1. It begins with Al-Sisi, wearing his military uniform speaking in to the camera as if addressing an audience “You cannot imagine [the repercussions], as an army officer, of simply coming to Rafah or Sheikh Zwayyid, besieging them, removing their inhabitants and blowing up the buildings within them.”

2. Footage of army personnel carriers driving through a town inside Sinai while replaying Al-Sisi’s remarks.

3. Al-Sisi continues: “Is it difficult for us to do this? We can do it without killing anyone; all you need to do is impose a siege around Rafah and Sheikh Zwayyid, bring the inhabitants out and blow up the houses.”

4. Footage of Egyptian soldiers in residential areas firing bullets at houses.

5. An unidentified man holds the mutilated body of a child saying: “God is greater than you Sisi. Is this the terrorism Sisi claims to be fighting? This [child] was hit with artillery. Is this the terrorism Sisi talks about; children killed with artillery shells? To God we belong and to Him we return. God suffices for us and He is our refuge.”

6. The mutilated body of the child is then placed next to the bodies of other mutilated children lined on the ground.

7. Al-Sisi’s second remark is replayed in the background as scenes from the area are shown along with footage of the Egyptian troops walking through it and a helicopter firing a missile in to one of the houses.

8. Returning to Al-Sisi: “We could do this. When one person fires, a hundred may come out and fire in return. Two or three innocent people may die. Ultimately, you’re creating an enemy for you and your country because people would want to seek revenge.”

9. Children carrying remains of empty shells, one of them says: “They burned down my house. They forced us to flee. They bombed us from planes from above.” The footage of the helicopter firing a rocket at a house is shown again.

10. A woman stands in the ruins of her house. She says: “May God take revenge for us, soon. May God destroy them. May God damn them. May God break them. May God soon punish them for their betrayal, treason and deceit. They told us to come out of the house. When I returned I found that they blew up my house and burned it down. Why did they do this to me? Am I not a Muslim? Are they not Muslims? Is this the work of fellow Muslims? This is sinful of them.”

11. Back to Al-Sisi: “We provide security by our presence and not through combat. Pay attention. This is the sort of thing we say amongst ourselves. By presence and not through combat.”

12. A niqab-wearing women standing in front of her destroyed house: “They forced us out with nothing but the clothes we were wearing. We had no additional clothes for the children. The women had nothing but the clothes they were wearing.”

13. Al-Sisi’s third remark replays. “By presence and not through combat.”

14. Footage of an Egyptian armoured vehicle firing rockets at a house setting it on fire.

15. Al-Sisi’s third remark replays. “By presence and not through combat.”

16. Two women weep in the remains of their house.

17. Al-Sisi: “By presence and not through combat. One tank and one machine-gun can do a lot. But these after all, are your family, your own people.”

18. Footage of soldiers making arrests amid the ruin. Al-Sisi’s remark: “But these after all, are your family, your own people” is replayed.

19. Niqab-wearing women, one of them saying: “What they are doing to us and our children is a sin. They have left us without houses, without food, without anything to drink, without blankets and with nothing. They killed my mother. They killed my mother.”

20. Filmmaker Mona El-Zamlout asks: “Was it your mother who died?”

21. Woman answers: “Yes, my mother. She was an old woman and they killed her.”

21. A man standing in front of a burnt building speaks to camera: “They got the women and the children out of the houses. Then they hit the houses and set them on fire using planes and tanks. They tore the ID cards and certificates and destroyed the trees. They have not even left us garments to change in to apart from the clothes we are now wearing. They got us all out and placed us under those trees there where the women and the children were. They burned all the houses with planes and tanks.”

22. Returning to a clip of the women who appeared earlier and is still in the ruins of her former home: “We complain about them to no one but to God. We complain to God and we say God will punish the oppressors. May God take revenge for us from those who are behind this. May God punish them. May God take away from them their life, their youth and their children. May they suffer as we have suffered.”

23. A replay of Al-Sisi’s: “By presence and not through combat” is played.

24. A group of women sitting next to a wall in mourning of one of the victims shot dead by the army. One of them says: “I would like to say something to our Egyptian army, to the army that is treacherous though it was never treacherous before. To the army that has betrayed us. To the government that has betrayed us. The army that was in unison with the people but has today, together with the police, turned against us. We seek God’s help against them, against them and against Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.”

This is the YouTube link for the video:

Source: Arabi21