“Jica”: A new Khalid Saiid on Mohamed Mahmourd Street

by Hamdy El-Gazzar  and translated by Nour Abdelghani  /  December 3, 2012  / No comments

Police violence only makes the people fight harder.

Conflict at Simon Bolivar Square

Conflict at Simon Bolivar Square, Cairo on November 26, 2012. Photo: Jonathan Rashad

On November 19, 2011, Egyptian youth congregated on Mohamed Mahmoud street in Cairo, demanding the fall of “the military regime.” Different governmental forces—the police, homeland security , and those dedicated to “diffusing” the outbursts—took on the mission of physically eliminating the demonstrators, not just by separating them, but by what was described as a genocide of the revolutionaries. To complete their mission they used brute force, murdered targets, and purposely caused life-long disabilities, in addition to attacking emergency clinics. The final reports proved that the army had committed war crimes during these incidents in which they took the lives of tens and injured thousands.

  1. Off-Screen
  2. “From Egypt” attempts to draw a cultural map of Egypt and the Arab world by profiling the artistic, literary, and political issues that affect the region via on-the-ground coverage of current events, publications, and the fight for freedom of expression.
  3. Hamdy el Gazzar
  4. Hamdy El-Gazzar is an Egyptian writer and one of the 39 young Arab writers included in the Beirut 39 Project. His first novel, Sihr Aswad (Dar Merit, 2005) won the prestigious Sawaris Award, and was subsequently translated by Humphrey Davies (Black Magic, AUC Press, 2007). His second novel, Ladhdhat Sirriyya (Secret Pleasures) was published by Dar al-Dar in 2008. He is currently working on a third novel.

The overarching banner for this second wave of the revolution was “Down. Down with the military regime” and the demonstrators were the people’s revolutionary voice, ranging from youth activist movements to independents. However, the Islamic political current, with all its sects and divisions, swept to the polls to count the parliament seats and started to vigorously attack the “thugs and criminals” demonstrating in Tahrir and on Mohamed Mahmoud street.

The youth that sprouted the Egyptian Revolution—the ultras youth, members of the April 6th Youth Movement, the Socialist Revolutionary Union, the Leftist Power and many more— were falling on Mohamed Mahmoud street as they continued to attack “the military regime” and demand the cleansing of the military forces. In the meantime, those who are in power today were running for office and just recently Mohammed Morsi declared a constitutional coup granting him Pharaoh powers.

On November 19, 2012, a march took to the streets honoring the battle of Mohamed Mahmoud. It also demanded the prosecution of the police-cum-murderers, a cleansing of the military forces, and a disbanding of the Constituent Assembly of Egypt. And because Mubarak’s politics are still pretty much in action, nothing changed in the military, nor was it cleansed. Instead, a brutal confrontation took place and “kill and run” tactics were executed once again. As a result hundreds have lost their lives to date and hundreds more were injured and one, Mohamed Jaber, was pronounced clinically dead.

Mohamed Jaber, known among his friends as “Jica” is a member of the April 6th Youth Movement and the Constitution Party. He is also the admin for the “Together Against the Brotherhood” page on Facebook, though in the last presidential elections he gave his vote to Morsi.

Before the march on Mohamed Mahmoud, Jica posted this status on his Facebook profile: “This, with God’s will, will be the last post I write until I come back tomorrow from ‘The Eyes of Freedom‘ street. That is, if I come back. I am going for the blood of our brothers and sisters and for our revolution. I am going because of my dearest friend, whom I carried with my own hands when he he was murdered, Osama Ahmed. I am going for Ahmed Sharara’s eyes. I am going to bring back the revolution that thousands died for and tens of thousands were injured for. I am going for Mahmoud Taha and Ahmed Youssef, my friends that died in Port Said. I am going so our country can come back to us”

Why did they target Jica especially?

Perhaps his chant, “Down. Down with the rule of the Morshid” and his sign, “The Brotherhood May Not Enter” on the sidewalk in Mohamed Mahmoud aggravated the murderers who came looking for more blood and terror with the goal of securing their power, even if that meant wading through an entire lake of blood.

As the current events in Egypt continue, will Jica become a new icon like Khalid Said?

About the Author

Hamdy El-Gazzar is an Egyptian writer and one of the 39 young Arab writers included in the Beirut 39 Project. His first novel, Sihr Aswad (Dar Merit, 2005) won the prestigious Sawaris Award, and was subsequently translated by Humphrey Davies (Black Magic, AUC Press, 2007). His second novel, Ladhdhat Sirriyya (Secret Pleasures) was published by Dar al-Dar in 2008. He is currently working on a third novel.

View all articles by Hamdy El-Gazzar

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