June 2010 archive

On Khaled Said

A few years ago, I saw the french movie "Irréversible" , and like many movie watchers I was subjected to the-now infamous- utterly brutal and inescapable Monica Bellucci 9 minute rape and murder scene. That scene has left me disturbed beyond measure, not just for the extremely violent depiction of such a heinous act, but by knowledge that, as certain as the run rises and the oceans ebb and flow, there is someone in the world, right now, facing a similar and equally brutal death. That at every minute, someone, somewhere in the world, in areas that we don't want to think or know about, someone is about to die, painfully, brutally, and completely without Mercy on the hands of a fellow human being.

What terrifies me isn't the violence; Anyone who has two eyes can see that we are a violent species that is capable of some horrid nightmares.What terrifies me is the feeling of helplessness that those victims must feel before they meet their end. The absolute certainty that someone has the power to end your life, and is doing just that, and there is nothing you can do about it. The Horror of realizing that this one won't pass, that you won't live to see the morning, and that this person- if we can even call them that- sees you as nothing more than an insect that they can crush the life out of it by the heels of their shoes.

This is precisely why I didn't want to know the Story of Khaled Said, a 28 year old Alexandrian man, who got killed on the hands of two policemen a few days ago. And the story is equally disturbing and terrifying in its simplicity: He simply was sitting in a Cyber Cafe, when two policemen walked inside and demanded the ID's of everyone who was sitting there. When he refused to give it to them, they grabbed him, tied him up, dragged him out of the Cafe, took him to a nearby building where for 20 minutes they beat him to death, smashing his head on the handrail of the staircase, while he screamed and begged for his life, and as people around watched helplessly, knowing that if they did something, they would be accused of assaulting a police officer, which would pretty much guarantee them a similar fate. This went on for 20 minutes. Think about that. You are beaten to death, by those who swore to protect you, while the people in your neighborhood watched silently, and as your pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears. 28. Not yet married. Still having the rest of your life ahead of you. No More.

After the police discovered he died, they took the dead body to the Police station, where the Police Officer ordered them to throw it back on the street and call an ambulance, in order not to be held responsibly for him. When his brother- who had the american citizenship- found out, he went and confronted the head of the Police in his neighborhood, who told him that the story isn't true, and that his brother was a known drug offender and that he died from asphyxiation, for swallowing a bag of drugs when the police caught him with it. 

This is Khaled before the "Asphyxiation":

This is Khaled after his "Asphyxiation":

 

 Amazing what Asphyxiation does to you these days, no?

 When the story went out, and people saw the pictures, they were of course enraged. About a 1000 people gathered after the Friday prayers to protest in front of the police stations, and there are plans to do sit ins and demos this entire week, demanding that people take action, before they become the next Khaled. The Ministery of Interior swiftly responded, by stating that Khaled was a criminal and a womanizer and a drug dealer and responsible for 9/11, and that he died from Asphysxiation, and the picture is simply after his body was diagnosed by the Coroner. And that really, really, we should be glad that such a menace to society at large is not with us anymore. 

And of course no one will get punished.

Egypt likes to refer to itself as the land of Security and Safety. Please note that we always put the word Security first. We like to think we are safe, that we are better than those evil western countries, where a woman is raped every 48 seconds or whatever, but we are not. We are not Safe. None of us is. Not n this country, not in this world. Any one of us could lose that spark of life at any minute, and the lucky ones get it quickly and painlessly. The unlucky ones suffer. The really unlucky ones end up like Khaled.

You think about Humanity, and where it is today, and you can't help feeling disgusted at us as species. We are brutal, evil and vile, and very quickly for congratulating ourselves on anything good we do, while we really don;t do that much and we know it. Anxiety is soaking up most people’s days. Everyone had become
pre-occupied with horror. Madness was fluttering everywhere.There are diagrams
illustrating all these problems- circles and hexagons and squares. Most troubling
were the fleeting signs that nothing could transform any of this into
something positive. You couldn’t help being both afraid and fascinated. Hearing about such incidents made you feel that the survival of mankind
didn’t seem very important on the long run. We were doomed. We deserved
it.

When they finish those Colonies on the Moon, I will be on the first spaceship out of here. This planet is fucked!