Thursday, October 16, 2014

The student movement in Egypt: Statistics and context

The semester of this academic year started 5 days ago in most of the Egyptian universities and the number of the students who were arrested from homes, from the street on their way to school, and from campuses already exceeds 219 students according to local rights group "Freedom Seekers Students Observatory". 

These are some statistics about detained students from their most recent reports:
Sat, October 11th: 71 students.
Sun, October 12th: 53 students.
Mon, October 13th: 18 students.
Tue, October 14th: 62 students.
Wed, October 15th: 16 students.

These are some of their faces:






This is quite outrageous if you ask me. It's outrageous enough that I had to say something after I have been totally silent about Egypt and while I had completely distanced myself from all form of direct and indirect action.

All of this happened in less than one week and people in the "outside world" are paying a little more attention and wondering where that came from. 

Yet, media and commentators internationally are copying and parroting what the coup run media is reporting not sure out of laziness or naivety or with bad intentions. Everyone is still insistingly talking about "Pro-Morsi"and "Muslim Brotherhood" or "Islamist" students. This unprofessional and overly simplistic pattern is nothing new to the non-Arabic media and non-Arabic narrative anyway but for me it is even more frustrating now than ever to see this consistency in taking away credit from a unique movement that is way older than this one year old MB vs Junta fight post-coup fight. 

The movement I'm referring to here is the revolutionary student movement which developed after #Jan25. The generation of students who started or shifted their activism as a result of what took place in the past few years. I have talked about my experience a little bit in a previous post, this was during the one semester I had to spend as a student here after #Jan25

(This is not to say that the MB or the Islamists are not part of the movement, and also not to say that the Egyptian student movement is only 4 years old).  

While I generally dislike referring to causalities and victims with numbers and statistics unfortunately, numbers are sometimes the only way to put things in perspective for so many people. 

In this case it will be an indication to the fact that things have been messed up for a long time already for students here while nobody was paying attention. It is also important for emphasizing the fact there are different factions within the Egyptian anti military dictatorship movement which started in 2011 and that they are responding in so many different ways to what's been taking place in the past 4 years.

I came across the following info-graph from a local grassroots student run rights group here and thought about making it available in English.



This graph shows the following statistics on the student movement in Egypt since the beginning of the US funded military coup July 3rd 2013. This is my translation to the information presented on it:

"The Egyptian university students between graves and prisons":

209 students were killed in protests.

1970 students arrested and are serving in prisons.

502 students expelled from university education permanently.

3 students were given an execution sentence.

The total amount of fines the detained students are required to pay is 15 million Egyptian pounds.
(Many are still in prison because they can't afford to pay their fines).

The total number of years in the sentences given to detained students is 2237 years.

It is worth mentioning that Al Azhar University comes on top in regards to the number and severity of the violations with a total of 1386 years in the sentences given to Azhari students, 13 million Egyptian pounds fines, and one execution case out of the three total executions given to students.

Top 6 universities in the number of death cases as a result of the coup forces attacking AntiCoup protests and rallies:

1- Al Azhar Islamic University in Cairo: 76 students killed.
2- Cairo University in Giza/Greater Cairo: 30 students killed.
3- Ain Shams University in Cairo: 12 students killed.
4- Helwan University in Greater Cairo: 9 students killed.
5- Zagazig University in Al Sharqiya governorate: 9 students killed.
6- Alexandria University in Alexandria: 8 students killed.  

To offer another perspective here and make things even more complicated for those of you who like to think about things in black and white, for those who keep talking about Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi supporters getting killed in Rabaa to have a moral excuse to justify a massacre, this album is a documentation of students who where killed as a result of the Rabaa massacre:


All the data I have shared above is collected by: 
Freedom Seekers Students Observatory (Arabic):

A more detailed article about the post-coup mobilization in universities (Arabic):

For updates you can check out the following outlets I have selected just as an example to what's out there. 

YouTube Channels that were updated recently:

Al Azhar University

Cairo University

Ain Shams University

Active Facebook pages:

Students Against the Coup (Official Movement Page)

Students Against the Coup Al Azhar University

In the (Likes) section of the official page you will find links to the official Facebook pages of 23 other different universities across Egypt. 

Even if you don't read or understand Arabic there is plenty of media that you can check out (Videos and photos). 
Some people are risking getting killed and detained and others are already serving in prison for committing the crime of documenting. You can look at their faces and humanize their numbers. If you are not in a country of conflict you can think about the students in your country and the stuff they are complaining about, if you are a student you should reflect on the questions students have to deal with here which you don't have to ask yourself, the questions of of risking murder, arrest, and psychological trauma for merely being a student and speaking your mind under a military dictatorship funded and supported by big government, all of this while the whole world doesn't even want to give your existence a mention.

The least you could do to contribute is to recognize their work by simply taking a look at it. It would be very appreciated if you also shared it with others. 

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