We are all Shimaa el-Sabagh now

We are all Shimaa el-Sabagh now
Comment: Shimaa el-Sabagh died holding flowers and calling for freedom and justice in Egypt. She is one of thousands killed by an unjust and brutal regime. We shall not forget.
4 min read
26 Jan, 2015
Shimaa leaves behind a five-year-old son [AFP/Getty]

Shimaa el-Sabagh died chanting for bread, freedom and social justice. She died on the fourth anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, protesting against a regime that has reversed everything that happened on January 25, 2011.

She was pictured dying in the arms of her husband while six other protesters were arrested at an "illegal" Cairo demonstration on January 24, organised by the Socialist Popular Alliance.

Shimaa's five-year-old boy, Bilal, will now have to comprehend the fact that his mother was killed as she carried flowers to commemorate those killed in the revolution.

A post-mortem examination showed that Shimaa died after being hit from eight metres with birdshot, which punctured her lung and caused internal bleeding. The police, of course, deny shooting her.

Egypt's recurring nightmare: Many reported dead on fourth anniversary of revolution.

For every small gain, at least 10 are taken away. For every person released from prison - if any - many more are arrested. Every waking hour we count the days of hunger strikers, we count the dead, the injured, the missing, the children facing harsh prison sentences, the journalists imprisoned.

But many more like Shimaa will continue fighting, remembering and counting the crimes of the regime until that dream of bread, freedom, and social justice is achieved.

Shimaa knew she she was no better than the thousands who have bled for freedom. She was not the first to die at the hands of those who, ironically, call themselves "protectors of the people". She will not be the last.

[Illustration: Emad Hajjaj/al-Araby]

Not in a country where the regime has banned peaceful protest. Not in a country where police open fire on unarmed civilians as they chant for bread, freedom and social justice.

The regime has used every tool it owns to erase the 25 January revolution and those who courageously fought in it.

It is a part of a crackdown by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and his anti-protest law that allows police to  "legally" shoot and arrest protesters at any attempt to criticise the regime or recall the demands of the 2011.

Since the Shura Council protest in November 2013, the first protest to be indicted under the protest law, every attempted peaceful stand is crushed within minutes.

With revolutionary icons such as Alaa Abdel Fattah, Ahmed Maher, Sanaa Seif, and 40,000 others in prison facing bogus charges, it is clear the regime is in the processes of reversing anything that January 25 won.

Those in power drive the myth that January 25 was a "conspiracy", and do everything they can to break anyone attempting to revive it or even celebrate its triumph.

     The regime has used every tool it owns to erase the 25 January revolution and those who courageously fought in it.

Sabagh was a leading activist and labour organiser in the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, based in Alexandria.

She fought for workers rights, became the voice of the poor, and even a poet for the revolution. She would lead chants in protests and sing to revolutionaries during sit-ins. Filled with courage and persistence to achieve the goals of the revolution, her actions prove that she was never afraid of the regime's flawed laws or guns.

She recently showed solidarity with Fiber Factory workers in Alexandria in their sit-in for better pay - which has now lasted more than five months - even when the intelligence services prevented her entry to the factory.

Shimaa was simply unafraid, knowing that the revolutionary road to freedom came with many sacrifices. She paid the ultimate sacrifice.

They despise your revolution, Egyptians. Hard-hitting commentary from Wael Kandil

Thousands mourned her death and marched with her coffin, demanding retribution not only for Shimaa as a martyr but for all those who fell before her.

She lies in the same cemetery where Khalid Said is buried, exactly four years after a revolution that was ignited because of police brutality on "police day".

With no justice in sight for Shimaa, and no justice for those who died before her, we are still all Khalid Said, and we are now all Shimaa El-Sabagh.

We will never forget and we will continue our dream until we achieve it - not only for us, but also for the martyrs. May their souls rest in peace.