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We won't forget: El Sayyeda Zeinab

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I know it is very late to write this, but I thought people might still be interested in some of the details.

first check the photos

The idea of "كنس السيدة عليهم" is older than the current events, it's a fact that we should have done it long ago. It started when torture became a regular treatment for every egyptian citizen, whether male, female, a kid or an elder, for the sin of displeasing a police officer, his family, neighbours, friends, or any of their relations..or as the easiest solution for a lazy police officer who wants to get his bonuses without moving his ass, what could be easier than getting a few persons (or 3000 as what happened in el-arish ) and torture them till they confess on themselves or on others. No one will ever forget the father who confessed of killing his "alive" daughter.

Note that there is no definition for a torture crime in the egyptian law, unless the torture happened to get a confession, which makes it very hard to take these officers to court..which was what lead to "kans el Sayyeda".

Alaa took the idea from a cartoon by the famous Salah Jaheen. We started discussing the idea again on the black wednesday then Amr got interested and we were thinking of doing it the following wednesday to the candles protest.

We hadn't agreed yet on doing this crazy idea, however the first announcement was when we were on air at el-ghad internet radio and there was no going back.

We prepared a written announcement and Amr created the banners, and we started sending the invitation to all the people we know..many of the political movements adopted the idea and decided to join us.

The idea created a very big debate on many of the blogs..I think it was good to have this debate, many people came with different ideas which is really good.

We started preparing for the protest, we had many different ideas of how to make some banners, and what should we write on them. We used boxes so that we can have different banners on 4 sides but we had no clue how are we going to get in with them. The advantage of cloth banners is that u can tie them and put them in your handbag or even under your clothes, no one will ever know.

We didnt know what to do, we went in Nora's first it was decided that she will drop us in front of the mosque, then go with another person to park her car, she shouldnt be alone..u never know, but we arrived early so we gave it another thought and decided to park the cars (we had another group with their car with us) and go on foot and see what happens.

It went out fine, we arrived safely with the boxes and the banners, and we started to take positions carrying the boxes and distributing the A4 paper banners.

the box-banners the box-banners 2

we left part of the recommendation banners empty and attached markers so people can add their own recommendations.

your recommendation plz

The great point about this protest is that we could get in touch with the normal people, apart from the people who gathered on the small pavement in the middle of the police to watch us

many people watched us

some of the people coming out of the mosque joined us and started browsing the A4 banners till they found something which expresses them

relating to the ppl

one of the street sellers (is this a good expression?) approached Amr who was standing with one of the "The Ministry of Interior Affairs tells you" banners saying Baladeya (which is a cairian name that we call the police force that comes to arrest the street sellers or take their goods, we found an equivalent alexandrian expression that I can't remember now)


he asked Amr if he was a street seller and Amr replied no, he asked him why then are you holding this banner and after Amr explained that we are against all police abuse, the guy decided to join us and hold the banners himself.

There were many different stories of interaction with the public, and thats what we need to do more, we need to things that relate to them and include them. For example, many of them started to repeat the slogans with us, but not all the time, because many of the slogans don't relate to them or were a bit complicated. They hate the police, they hate the minister of interior affairs, they hate Fathy Souror, they connect the bad standards they live in to these people, but they don't make a connection to Mubarak, therefore we wouldnt attract them with so many anti Mubarak solgans..I really like Kamal Khalil's slogans which try to relate to these people. I remember one of the 20 march protests in Mogama3 el Tahrir, it was at noon and it remained for a long time, so the employees of the Mogama3 were stuck in there offices (if they allow them to go home, they might join the protests) and so they came to the windows to watch us, Kamal Khalil started shouting slogans about them and their problems, and they smiled back to was really beautiful.

talking to them

Some people brought brooms with them, mostly were symbolic brooms

a broom

But it seems that the police is really afraid of el Sayyeda Zeinab, they locked the ladies entrance to the mosque and the daree7

the locked mosque the locked daree7

when I came close to the mosque door to take the above photos, I found two ladies standing by the window, I approached them worried that they had been locked up in the mosque, and I asked them. One of them was very suspicious and was pulling her friend away from the window telling her not to talk to me, the other one started saying that we saw you standing with them (the protesters) what do you want, and I told her that I saw the lock on the door and wanted to know if they were locked up, she explained that that the back door was open, but why do I care. I told her why we came "علشان نكنس السيدة و ندعى عليهم" and all of a sudden she is not suspicious at all, and she starts telling me about her sons who cant find a flat or a job, we talk a little bit while the other women is still afraid to talk or be seen talking to me, I try to comfort the lady and tell her this why we came to el Sayyeda Zeinab.

Al Ghad people were supposed to come in big numbers and invite us to their event in Nour's center in Bab el She3reya, and then we can take this as an excuse to do a march, since Nour's center lies at the end of Port Said st. where Sayyeda Zeinab mosque lies. But there were only a few of them, and by the time we decided to leave we were also very few, so it was called off at the last minute.

When we were leaving, a Lady came and told us that what we were doing is the right thing, that el Sayyeda Zeinab is the one that can solve our problems, and we did right by coming here asking her help.

We put the box that says Maddad ya set (asking help from el Sayyeda Zeinab) and Maddad ya Masr (asking help from egypt) on the fence and left.

مدد يا ست


ezala is the alexandrian equivelant... nice to see u blogging manal :)

These are the people to really care about.

I mean these suffer more than any of us from the system's abuse of power, so if they start knowing that there is a way to express their needs they'll start, as you noticed, joining in and giving support.

These are the majority of the egyptian population, with their simple but essential thinking they'll give a real taste to what's being done.

Also this breaks the boundaries between them and the so called intellectual elite whom they thought are living in their ivory towers and unaware of their problems.

The shobra move is a real wise one, getting amongst the people will make the difference.

Way to go.