Why isn't Egypt's el-Sisi on trial for killing my friend?

Mohamed was trying to help the injured by driving them to hospital; he kept doing so till he had three bullets in his belly. He wasn't in the Muslim Brotherhood. He was just a very good man

Four fingers for Rabia Square
Ahmed Abdel-Raheem
On 5 November 2013 12:11

The 14th of August, 2013 is a date that millions of the Egyptian people still and will always remember. It is the date when the Egyptian army and police broke up the Rabbia Square sit-ins. On that date, many Egyptians lost their beloved brothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, and children.

On that same date, many children became orphans, many wives became widows, and many people felt so lonely and their lives went empty. At that same date, I lost my only true Egyptian friend, Mohamed Okasha. 

I always kept the pain of losing Mohamed in my heart, and didn't want to talk about it. But when I saw how the Egyptian media and elites kept depicting pro-Morsi protesters as terrorists, I decided that it was time to talk about one of those ''terrorists'' and let the readers judge.

Mohamed Okasha was a 38-year-old computer engineer, married to a dentist, and a father of two children (Marwa, 8, and Ahmed, 4). He also had a localization company and was a kind of businessman. I came to know him when I worked in his company as a translator after my graduation from the Faculty of Languages and Translation (at Al-Azhar University, Cairo).

He was a very honest, kind, generous, helpful, respectful, and respectable young man. I remember how Mohamed once sent an email to a British client, and, with a glamorous laugh, asked me, ''Do you know what I'm going to tell this client? He has mistakenly transferred us 13,000 dollars instead of 7, 000 dollars.''

I remember that the children of the housekeeper were often coming to the company to ask Mohamed for chocolate and money. I remember when I went with him to visit a man from his home village, Abdul-Wahaab, who was being undergoing medical treatment in the Al-Moqatam district of Cairo, and Mohamed bought him a very expensive gift. 

I remember when we were going together to buy books from the Cairo International Book Fair, and how he was keen on reading in all fields. I remember when he told me he was ready to spend all his money on an educational program to help Egypt become one of the most developed countries in the world.

Mohammed was very much in love with his country to the extent that he asked me to write a new national anthem that would really reflect our national character, offering me 1,000 pounds for such an anthem.

He was an anonymous good-doer. "Mohamed had donated 20,000 Egyptian pounds to someone through another; he didn't know the person he donated for and never cared to know,'' Al-Mustein Billah, a friend of Mohammed, said. This is just one of the stories the people of his village told me.

He was very tolerant, and when I wrote about peace with Israel he said, "Yes, we need peace, all of us are human beings." He was always telling me to keep writing objectively and respecting all people even if they were enemies.

On the day of assault on the demonstrators, "Mohamed was trying to help the injured by driving them to hospital; he kept doing so till he had three bullets in his belly,'' Al-Mustein Billah said. Sadly, Mohamed's family called to check on him, but someone else answered his mobile, saying ''the owner of this mobile may be now dead, and I'm arrested.''

Mohamed's mother was in Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage, and she returned once she knew the bad news. Mohamed was in hospital, but none among his family dared to visit him, because the police were detaining everyone who went there. Mohamed remained in a comma for three days and then passed away.

The news was so painful that I cried as I've never done in all my life. But there was always a question: why did they kill him? If it is a sin, smoking was Mohamed's only sin. I will never forget how completely destroyed I felt during the funeral. Mohamed was a real angel.

Mohamed has never been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was just a noble man, who loved his country from the bottom of his heart. His last words to me were, ''pray for Egypt and wish it all the best.''

Egypt's army chief, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, asked the people for a mandate to fight ''terrorists.'' And in a leaked video, Ali Gommaa, former Grand Mufti of Egypt, was seen telling soldiers to kill pro-Mursi protesters, describing them as ''Kharijites'' and ''hagglins.''  

Was my friend a ''terrorist,'' a ''Kharijite,'' or a ''hagglin''? I leave the answer to the people. Now el-Sisi and Gommaa are free and Mursi awaits trial.

Mursi didn't kill my friend. But el-Sisi and his men did.     

The writer is an Egyptian poet, actor, and a PhD student at Lodz University, Poland. He is also a contributor to the Jerusalem Post, an affiliated member of Euroacademia, and a former lecturer at Al-Lith College for Girls, Um Al-Qura University, Mecca, Saudi Arabia

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