A few days before her assassination, Shaima tweeted: “Living in this country has become painful and cold…I hope that its soil is vaster… and the bosom of its ground broader than its sky.”
The Ministry of Interior acquitted itself, as it does often, saying that professional elements infiltrated the march and killed Shaima. According to the autopsy report and eyewitnesses who were standing next to Shaima, a soldier fired a barrage of shotgun shells at her from a distance of eight meters. The authorities hate the voices of the January youths, who say that “the Interior Ministry are thugs.”
Sabbagh fell in Talaat Harb Square. She was with her leftist comrades from the Socialist People’s Alliance Party (SPAP). They were walking peacefully toward Tahrir Square, singing and chanting: “Living – freedom – social justice.”
None of the goals of the January 25 Revolution have been achieved. They were consumed and digested by the old dictators.
Even carrying flowers on the anniversary of those who passed away in Tahrir Square in 2011 is forbidden to Shaima and her companions, disappointed with the comments of passersby, who watched and said critically: “Enough revolution and destruction, shame on you.”
Let’s not forget as well, that only a day before, Egyptian student Sondos Abu Bakr was killed, in a nearly identical manner to Shaimaa, after security forces started shooting at a demonstration she was attending in the city of Alexandria. Sondos was only 17.
The weapon and method used to kill both women was the same, and so were the culprits yet the coverage of both incidents could not have been more different. The killing of Sondos, once confirmed, received little to no coverage, whether on social media or on news outlets. There were no condemnations or special tributes, no major articles or investigations. I can’t help but think, had Sondos been protesting under a different (read “liberal”) banner, her death would have received more sympathy and certainly more coverage. It’s true that that the killing of Shaimaa was more well-documented than that of Sondos, and it’s also true that it took place in an area and time of great significance to the Egyptian revolution… but does that really justify the disparity in coverage?
I am not here to “compare” deaths or claim that the killing of one was more outrageous than the other. That would frankly be quite repulsive and counter-productive. I am simply trying to point out the sheer hypocrisy in our principles and stances that deem some lives more worthy of mourning than others. The fact of the matter is that the majority of people only started caring about the death of “Islamist” Sondos when it was linked to the death of “liberal” Shaimaa. Sondos was just an afterthought.
Yesterday Sondos, today Shaima.