by Ahmed Tharwat
You know the situation here is so bad when family and friends in Egypt are worried about me because of police brutality and not Islamophobia. The latest tragic shooting of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, is changing the conversation and debate of police brutality and racism in this country. A cop in Cleveland implicates president Obama and he thinks “… the president of the United States has blood on his hands that will not be able to come washed off.”
Even a black Police Sheriff in Baton Rouge thinks Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization, in an election year where politician’s rhetoric as president Obama fears heightened the situation and widen the gab between police and the communities they serve.
However, It has become clear that in America, police brutality against black people runs deep, and is wide-spread. Structural racism in our police department and justice system has become hard to ignore. The recent video of Mr. Philando Castile bleeding to death from the bullets of St. Anthony police has triggered a lot of anger and frustrations among millions of Americans; just like millions of Egyptians, who felt the pain of seeing the gruesome image of victims allover Egypt.
Police brutality cannot be ignored. With spread of social media and smarts phones millions of Americans waking up this dark reality, marching to the street and demanding justice for Jomar, Castile, Sterling, and other victims of police brutality.
Is this the new American Spring similar what happened six years ago with the Arab Spring, not quite but there are the similarities are hard to ignore.
Black young men are arrested, frisked, searched, and sometimes shot walking down the streets while white young men are playing Pokémon Go in the streets. John Crawford was shot and killed by police for playing with a toy gun. Jonathan Ferrel was killed by a white officer as he was asking for help after a car accident. Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy was executed in public by the Cleveland police in seconds. Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old man was killed by police.
Black young men are killed at an alarming rate. With spread of phones and social media, we all can instantly see images of police brutality to black people. People across the United States are fed up of seeing images of black people gunned-down by police. Even president Obama is tired of attending funerals of black-victims of police brutality.
Arab Spring was sparked by images of police brutality in Tunisia and Egypt and elsewhere.
Egyptian revolution started with a national grievance of their own when the Egyptian security had stormed a cyber café arrested, tortured and killed a young Egyptian activist named Khaled Said. They threw his corps onto the street like animals. The repugnant image of Mr. Said disfigured-face as Mr. Castile bleeding body was widely circulated on social media; and it brought millions of Egyptians to the streets demanding justice for Khalid Said.
As “Black Lives Matter” movement, “We All Are Khalid Said” movement was born. It was the engine of the Egyptian Spring, that eventually toppled the longest and most devastating dictatorial regime in Egyptian history. In the United States, black men are gunned-down by white policemen, even when complying with rules, and following their mothers’ street survival advice. Levar Jones was shot by a white police officer and Eric Garner was choked to death. He struggled to say “I Can’t Breathe” but the police officers continued to suppress him. Five years earlier, millions of Egyptians poured into the street demanding justice for Khaled Said and a stop to the killing and torture of Egyptians. Like the “We All Are Khalid Said” movement, Black Lives Matter is leading the way against police brutality. People are marching in the streets demanding justice and calling a stop to the killing of black men.
I covered a few of Black Lives protests, here in the Twin Cities, and I attended the people protesting in Tahrir Square where there are startling resemblance to the streets of Minneapolis, Ferguson, Dallas, New York, and cities throughout the United States. Both Egypt and America have images of demonstrators chanting and holding signs that condemn police brutality. Their spirit for justice is present, along with anger filling the thick air. Both in Egypt and the U.S., there is a national revolt against police brutality and against corrupt systems. The “Black Lives Matter” movement as well as the “We All Are Khalid Said” movement encapsulates the need for a justice-filled society. Millions of Egyptians realized they share the same fate as Khaled Said, and millions of Americans are now awakening to the dark reality of police brutality towards black people. The real tragedy of all of this, During the height of the revolution, Obama the Noble Peace prize winner asked of Egyptians to be Sylmaya Sylmaya…Peacefully Peacefully.
However later on Obama supported the Military coup and the counter revolution that crushed millions of Egyptian hopes and inspirations. According to the latest Amnesty International report, Egypt since was taken over by General Alsisi Military coup has become a brutal police state with wide spread human rights abuses: torture, executions, political killings and forced disappearances; where children as young as four to five-year-old disappear on an average day. A nine-year-old was snatched from his family late at night by police. Mazen Mohamed Abdallah, a 14-year-old was taken by security forces: he was repeatedly raped with a wooden stick to extract a confession, according to Amnesty International.
As Obama acted as Preacher and Chief at the Dallas Memorial service: he recited from the bible and became teary-eyed over police brutality. While at the same time, he was sending weapons and financial aid to general Al-sisi. The general is engaged in a jihad to rid Egypt of any dissenters. As Al-Sisi has become our henchman in the so-called “War on Terrorism”. Now the brutal images of police brutality are back in full swing in Egypt, and Obama is looking the other way. Now lots of Americans as the Egyptians done before them recognized that the main job of the police is to protect the system, regardless if the system is brutal and despotic like in Egypt, or brutal and racist like here in the USA.