From revolution to reaction in Egypt
Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of Mubarak’s ouster, but the current conditions in Egypt do not match the jubilation that erupted onto the streets on February 11, 2011. The government has revved up its repressive tactics, lashing out in an unprecedented manner, and no one is immune.
On 25 January, Giulio Regeni, an Italian Phd candidate at Cambridge researching independent unions in Egypt, went missing near Tahrir – despite the security lockdown in the area. His body was found nine days later bearing the signs of “inhuman” torture. The Egyptian security forces deny any involvement, but it is far from impossible that he was killed at their hands.
In the last week, 20 students in Alexandria are victims of forced disappearance. Police threatened and assaulted doctors in Matareya Hospital, demanding that they fabricate a medical report. Hundreds have disappeared only to turn up dead later. Thousands are detained, awaiting the political expediency of a presidential pardon, the ‘justice’ of the courts, or the interminable (l)anguish that is the fate of so many unknown prisoners. In the run up to 25 January, security forces raided flats around Tahrir, arts and culture centres, and in the months preceding it they detained artists, activists, journalists, students, youth and banned human rights defenders from traveling. Visiting academics and even writers close to the regime are included in the campaign to quell all and any kind of opposition.