At face value, everything seems to function in the same fashion—semi normally—good enough for Egypt on any given day. People are still going to work, meandering through the acute traffic, and bracing the heat—it is an unusually warm winter, 30° today, totally unheard of in mid March.
But the events and the challenges are perpetual. More protests and more violence, endless ones, seem to be what Egyptians are left to endure—the Corniche has turned into a hotbed for daily clashes. My daughter’s cell phone was pinched in broad daylight. The microbus drivers are on strike choking the already blocked roads leaving people stranded. And the IMF has yet to complete the 4.8 billion dollar loan it has been negotiating for months with Egypt.
One other menacing event to manifest this week was the verdict in Samira Ibrahim’s case. She, along with a few other women who were captured in Tahrir on March 9, 2011, was allegedly strip searched, assaulted, electrocuted, and subjected to a virginity test. Samira filed a case against the doctor and the military personnel for violating her.
On March 8, 2013, the military court exonerated the doctor. Dr. Ahmed El Mogy was acquitted as the court deemed he did not participate in violating the women. In other words, these women were not subjected to any humility or degradation; they were not videotaped; and virginity tests were not conducted on them. The military junta won—again.
But someone is telling another story. According to Samira, the women were forced to allow a doctor to examine them. When Ibrahim asked for the procedure to be done in private she was assaulted, she said, and had her arm broken, which remained in a cast for four months. http://bit.ly/Y04BBU
Something is totally out of whack here. Samira Ibrahim couldn’t have brought about her own shame. It is not doable in Egypt. For her to go out in public and complain was an act of bravery of gravest proportion. To lie about it seems unfeasible.
The doctor was interviewed. He denied any violation was committed against Samira or the other women. He also said that a set of mere questions was used just in case the women were in need of medical care.
So, either Samira Ibrahim and the other women held that night lied all along, and their supporters—the NGO’s and the human rights’ organizations—lied, too. Or the doctor, his team, the military court, and the judges are the liars. Egyptians listened, confused and baffled, but consented. It is the military court after all; isn’t it just and trustworthy?
These kinds of stories where two sides of the same coin emerge are becoming too common and too frequent. How can Egyptians tell and decipher the truth amidst deceit and pretense?
True, by listening to Samira, I sense the exaggeration; on Reem Maged’s program, “Baladna Bel Masry,” when Ibrahim was asked why she didn’t complain earlier since it took her a good three months to file a complaint, her response was, “How could I have complained when I was bleeding from everywhere in my body?” This got the doctor smirking; then his lawyers pounced saying that Samira was in court for another trial from March 9 till she filed the complaint. Clearly she wasn’t bleeding profusely.
On a completely different note, Ibrahim lost the International Women of Courage Award, a high-profile ceremony to have taken place in the White House. The US cancelled her award “after learning she had praised the 9/11 attacks and the killings of Israelis.“ http://bit.ly/Y04BBU I don’t blame the Americans one bit. You don’t accept an award from those whom you want harmed and whom you delight in their pain.
However, the doctor left me doubtful, too. He provoked a false impression; he wanted the audience to believe that he queried Ibrahim on her marriage status and medical condition, and he questioned her virginity only when he asked if she were married or divorced. This seemed farfetched and fake.
This, as many other flabbergasting stories, comes to the surface daily. These stories, emerge, dumbfound us, and then vanish into oblivion, as another totally incredible event occurs.
My concern is with the Egyptians themselves, those who have lost faith and trust in absolutely everyone: Samira, the doctor, the military court, the lawyers, and the supporters of both sides. In this case, as in the dozen of other cases, Egyptians have no source to rely on and no one to believe.
Because the truth is refuted and contested, nothing is sacred anymore; even the court rulings are questioned. I, as all Egyptians, am lost. Whom do I believe? Do I have to rely on my intuition instead of the facts? And will I ever believe any source again? This is why rumours and mere hearsay are rampant. This is Egypt today.