When it comes to torture, the victim is the only eyewitness,Khaled Said was a lively 28 year old bright young man who loved rap music and video games; and like thousands of young Egyptians who gave up on life in Egypt, was working to leave for America to join his brothers before him. On June 6, Mr. Said was sitting at his favorite cyber café, two plainclothes security stormed the cafe where, they started harassing everyone inside for no apparent reason. Mr. Said who was known for his gentleness and kindness, made a fatal mistake, that most Egyptians avoid these days, he protested the security police disproportional harsh treatment to the café patrons, according to eyewitness, the police security dragged Mr. Said , severely beaten him and repeatedly smashed his head against the café marvel counter, the police security then took Mr. Said and drove away. A few hours later Mr. Said body was found abounded on the street in front of the same cyber café where Mr. Said loved to spend his time. A bystander took one picture of Mr. Said battered face and circulated it all over the internet and social networks. The image of the massive damages of Mr. Said face was so shocking even to most Egyptians who had been accustomed to police brutality for more than 60 years. The gruesome image of Mr. Said broken scull, blue skin deep scars and damaged teeth was juxtaposition along with an old picture of Mr. Said handsome face, this disturbing contrast showed the undeniable evidence of the brutality of the beaten of Mr. Said. The Egyptian official denied the torture and ridiculously claimed that these was a result of performing an attubosy a few hours after his death due to falling on the café steps trying to escape; the Egyptian security known for using attubosy as a cover up of their insidious violence and torture against helpless innocent Egyptians. Thanks to digital cameras, millions of people in Egypt and around the world instantly saw the gruesome image of the young Khaled Said face on June 6. The impressive delivery speed of the internet that relayed what happened to Mr. Said in his favorite cyber café, those images of Mr. Said damaged face were still only snapshots-pictures that are devoid of the context that only human eyes and minds can record and convey. Mr. Said died in the custody of Egyptian security police, however what really happened to Mr. Said that day we will never know; our ability to know the true vanished with Mr. Saee last breath and was silenced forever; The police securities were the judges, jurors and the executioners. All we know of what happened to him that day is reduced only to a one camera image of his damaged face telling a tragic story of brutal abuse but not the whole story. Before digital camera and the internet, in torture, the victim in most cases is the only eyewitness. For me, there wasn’t any camera in the Egyptian torture chamber, and after so many years the deep physical and emotional pain and its tragic details remain vivid in my memory . When I was a youngster growing up in Egypt in the sixties, the daily anti-government protesters were in the streets. I was too young to grasp the serious political implication of the event. Like most teens students, I was glad that classes were canceled that day. Thousands of students poured into the streets all over Cairo, I was rounded up by the Egyptian secret police (The Mukhabarat), who were zealously trying to fill their daily quota of random arrests. I was lined up with common criminals. A tall handsome police officer standing at the front started shouting the worst kind of profanities at us, his harsh words quickly extended to our families and parents. Without thinking and in a fearful voice I mumbled, “you can curs all you want, but not my parent.” Unfortunately, the officer who is not accustomed to any challenge resented my soft protest; what happened after that has shattered my innocence forever. The angry policeman stopped his verbal abuse and without looking at me, he ordered one of his guards to take me away to -as he commanded- “the room.” The guard knew exactly where to take me; inside the prison, it was a small dark smelly windowless cold room, a godless room stripped out of any human sign, the dark silence in the room seemed as if it has witnessed lots of broken innocent souls. Shortly, the policeman entered the room, where he calmly and without uttering a word or acknowledging my presence, closed the door, picked up a big riot stick and started hitting me savagely and indiscriminately. I stood helplessly overwhelmed by the officer’s outrage; the severity of the beating escalated, until my skin start peeling off my body before my own eyes. I lost my feeling and any connection to my battered body; my confusing thoughts were trapped in my broken head. I wasn’t trying to be a hero, I couldn’t muster any words, I couldn’t scream or resist. I couldn’t understand the officer excessive beaten, but I knew he had an absolute power to do to me whatever he wishes in that room. He didn’t ask about my name, he never looked me in the eyes, he never explained my crime. I was reduced to a nameless, faceless object, as I stood motionless and void of any rights or expression. I wasn’t the usual suspect — a communist, a Jihadist or a government agitator. This wasn’t a national security issue, it was personal insecurity issue; The officer, unaccustomed to the slightest challenge, needed to break my will. I was too frail to beg for mercy, he needed a complete conquest. My silence was deafening, and as the officer grew more infuriated, he started getting more creative in his abuse. His relentless physical torture made his early verbal profanity seem like a friendly exchange. There is nothing more humiliating than unjust abuse where you can’t resist or retaliate, his savage hitting destroyed my ability to express my pain. After what seemed like an eternity, the beating suddenly stopped, and without saying a word, the officer stormed out of the torture room, he couldn’t stay and face his unbroken victim. I found myself standing alone licking my own wounds, only to realize for the first time that the guard who brought me to the room was still there; he was standing in the corner wiping his tears. His display of sadness brought a much-needed touch of humanity to the cold room. I often wondered how my brief confrontation with this officer could generate so much fury against a helpless young boy. He was not following any orders; he was the whole chain of command. I now realize we were both victims. I was a victim of unjust violence and abuse. He was a victim of his sadistic obsession with violence and his intoxication with power. I was physically paralyzed for weeks. He was morally paralyzed for life. There wasn’t any digital camera to tell what happened inside that room that day; all these years, my own memory has had to carry what no camera could ever convey.
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