The Murder of Shaimaa al-Sabbagh

SHAIMAA AL-SABBAGH, 32 years old, a mother, poet and member of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, was gunned down January 24 by black-clad snipers who were seen on video pointing rifles in her direction (see (http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/01/25/shaimaa-al-sabbagh-died-near-tahrir-birdshot-back-forensic-authority/).

It was a targeted assassination by agents of the regime that has reversed the Arab Spring and restored the old order under the new presidentialist dictatorship.

A participant in a demonstration in Cairo marking the fourth anniversary of the 2011 popular uprising that toppled the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, al-Sabbagh was in a group of protesters carrying slogans and chanting for “bread, freedom and social justice,” and carrying roses to place at Tahrir Square in honor of the martyrs of the revolution.

“There are so many layers of symbolism in this murder,” says Atef Said, an Egyptian human rights activist now living in the United States. “It was the fourth anniversary of the revolution. It was a small demonstration, around 30 people, doing nothing but carrying flowers — and she was a member of socialist party formed after the revolution, not the Muslim Brotherhood or anything that could be called terrorist.

“It’s a symbol of the victory of the counterrevolution, showing how murderous and cruel the regime is, and that it will simply not tolerate protest of any kind.”

Said told Against the Current that in restoring the Mubarak state, killing by the regime has become “very normal, common, expected and accepted because of media propaganda. Four to five thousand people have been killed — more than in the quarter century under Mubarak. There are 40,000 people in prison. All 26 state governors are appointed by the dictatorship, and 20 of them are police or military generals.”

Despite the counterrevolution’s victories, Atef Said argues that “they are surviving on money from the Gulf and the United States, and they cannot bring stability or end corruption. The revolution has not ended.”

The memory of Shaimaa al-Sabbagh will long outlive the power of her murderers.

March/April 2015, ATC 175

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