Egypt Speaks: Art department presentation features a witness to the revolution

Egypt+Speaks%3A+Art+department+presentation+features+a+witness+to+the+revolution

Zahra Saeed holds a picture of her brother Khaled who was killed by the Egyptian police in June 6, 2010.

William Rohrs, Staff Writer

Dr. Hoda Rashad returned to SRJC Sept. 17 to continue her campaign to raise awareness in the Western world about the revolution in Egypt during Arab Spring, 2010. Rashad’s book “Rising from Tahrir” chronicles the time between the murder of Khaled Saeed to the ousting of Egyptian president Mohammed Mubarak from office.

Saeed was a computer and electronic technician living in Alexandria. He received his bachelor’s in electronics in Philadelphia. He hacked into a phone belonging to Egyptian police containing a video of policemen splitting hashish with each other after a raid. When the video went public, police apprehended Saeed. Police beat Saeed to death on the streets of Alexandria in broad daylight, fracturing his skull and throwing him down several flights of stairs. To cover up the murder, officers broke Saeed’s teeth and stuffed drugs down his throat.

An official statement from the police stated that Saeed died after attempting to swallow a joint during an investigation of Saeed as a potential drug dealer. His body was sent to a morgue under heavy guard without autopsy.

Days after the murder, Saeed’s family was admitted into the morgue. A picture Saeed’s brother took of his nearly unrecognizable face went viral, and soon after, Saeed’s visage was plastered over the signs of angry protesters. It took Egypt 18 days to overthrow Mubarak’s regime and the military declared martial law on the country.

Art history teacher Heidi Saleh organized the event to educate students on the impact single images have on a populace ruled by fear.

Rashad showed pictures of Saeed before and after his murder and other videos showing brutal police beatings conducted in broad daylight. After the military took over, the Muslim Brotherhood, a government organization with grassroot connections to various support agencies, reorganized the Egyptian people. The Muslim Brotherhood is currently the ruling faction in Egyptian government, having effectively replaced military and police influence.

“There is no 911,” Rashad said. “There is no one to call if there was a mugging, a robbery, a traffic citation, a murder. There is no one there.”

Replacing Mubarak’s old regime, the Muslim Brotherhood has significant influence in current Egyptian politics. The new Egyptian president, Mohamad Morsi, is a Muslim Brotherhood candidate. Layla Marzouk, Saeed’s mother, said that she wouldn’t vote this year because choosing between Mubarak and Morsi is like choosing between cholera and the Plague.

Rashad’s book “Rising from Tahrir” is a chronicle of the 18-day revolution. Rashad said the book was independently published and will be distributed at universities, where it can have the most effect.

“We were advised to turn down the gore. Apparently the beatings and murders the police committed to its people were not ‘palatable’ to the American readers,” Rashad said.

“I absolutely want to learn more,” SRJC student Lisa Hughes said. “I’m almost overwhelmed by the brutality done to Saeed. I didn’t know about the ultra violence, and there isn’t a lot of coverage from the news over here.”

“Rising from Tahrir” can be bought at http://www.amazon.com and a copy can be found in the SRJC library.