History insists but to repeat itself with all the details. Four years ago, on very similar days to the ones we live now, Sayyid Bilal and Khalid Said were killed by the Egyptian security authorities which went on to crack down so brutally on protesters provoking widespread outrage. That was one of the reasons for the 25 January revolution in 2011. Today, on the eve of 25 January 2015, the same perpetrators have killed two young women: Sundus Abu Bakr who is 17 years old and Shaymaa Al-Sabbagh who is 32 years old. The question, however, is: will history also repeat itself so as for another revolution to erupt against the coup in Egypt?
The martyrdom of the two girls stirred up outrage among the Egyptian youth and among those who have been following events including politicians, lawyers and journalists. There was so much rage especially in the aftermath of the circulation of the video clip showing Shaymaa’s last minutes alive in the arms of her husband while several pedestrians stood by watching and doing nothing to help.
A hashtag attached to her name took the lead in the last few hours and surged across the Arab world. Many users shared her picture, the picture of her son and pictures of her in the peaceful rally held in Talaat Harb Square just moment before she was murdered.
Seventeen years old Sundus Abu Bakr was martyred on Friday following Asr prayers. She received a bullet in the head and another in the neck that ended her life. The incident happened after the Egyptian security forces dispersed a demonstration that came out following Friday prayers in Al-Asafrah district of Alexandria. The martyr’s own aunt, Fatmah Abu Bakr, was martyred three months ago, again murdered by the Egyptian security forces.
The last thing Sundus had written on her Facebook page was “you keep walking in Heaven and suddenly you meet the Prophet #together_until_Heaven”.
Martyr Shaymaa Al-Sabbagh was the mother of six years old Bilal. She departed at the age of 32. She was one of the youth leaders within the Socialist Popular Alliance in Alexandria. She held the position of Mass Action Secretary within the party in Alexandria until she passed away. She travelled to Cairo together with her colleagues in order to take part with the party leaders in a symbolic sit in to commemorate the 25 January revolution anniversary. She walked with them from the quarters of the party in Huda Shaarawi Street to Talaat Harb Square where they observed a peaceful sit in. However, within minutes the peacefulness of the event was disrupted and turned upside down upon the attack launched by the security forces. Shaymaa received a fatal gunshot directly in the face from a distance less than two meters away according to eye witnesses from among her colleagues who were with her.
Al-Sabbagh was active in defending the rights of the workers. She stood by many workers who were dismissed from their jobs and struggled on their behalf until many of them were compensated or regained their jobs. She united their ranks and founded several workers syndicates in Alexandria.
The last thing Shaymaa wrote on he Facebook page was “This country is now causing us pain and is devoid of warmth. May its soil be more comfortable and the embrace of its earth more expansive than the sky”. Her life came to an end while she was still shouting the slogan: “Bread, Freedom and Social Justice”.
Four years after the revolution, and like all supporters of the leftist current, Shaymaa found that the revolution had not yet accomplished its goals, especially after Mubarak was declared innocent and the continued insistence on not applying the minimum wage rule let alone the continuation of the workers’ grievances across the country. This state of affairs is what motivated Shaymaa to take part in her party’s rally at Talaat Harb Square in the hope of reviving the spirit of the 25 January revolution.
Activist Muna Sayf has been quoted by an eyewitness journalist speaking to a local news website as saying about the martyrdom of Shaymaa Al-Sabbagh: “I swear by God, the officer shot the girl in front of us from less than two meters away. He could see her very well. He was watching them for a while and he could see them standing doing nothing. All they were carrying in their hands was placards and roses.” She added: “A peaceful rally with nothing but placards and roses in Tahrir Square was fired at with shotguns. People were hit and a girl was martyred. Just placards and roses, you people!”