Sunday, January 6, 2013

#No4MilTrials : Al Quorsaya locals’ agony

This is a very belated post from these posts I should have posted last year and I feel too angry for not posting it on the same day I have been on Al Quorsaya island after that battle took place in early November 2012.
Now 25 civilian are currently facing a military trial in Giza, they are accused of attacking army personnel and army properties. These 25 civilians are from Al Quorsaya civilians. Now here is the story of the island as I have known it. The court will announce its final verdict insh Allah next January 14,2012.
I went to Quorsaya on November 19th , 2012 , on the same day clashes erupted in Mohamed Mahmoud Street during the celebration of the anniversary. I went to Al Quorsaya after one day of that strange raid on the island by the military police in early morning on November 18th, 2012 to restore suddenly a piece of land owned by the Navy.
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The island´s entrance from the ferry

How the whole saga started

According to the locals in the island that land “or rather small island besides the main island” was owned by the Navy from about 14 years ago where they held some naval training yet since the revolution , suddenly the Navy forces left with no sign what so ever on that piece of land. Seeing an empty land , some of the fishermen and locals moved and stayed there with their families and tents. Then Suddenly the Navy and the army remembered that piece of land.
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That lady was beaten by MP soldiers
When the military police showed up to reclaim the land in November 2012 , some of these locals who were on that land said that they got papers and official ownership documents of that land from more than 14 years but they needed time to search for it. The commander of the military police told them they would give them 48 hours to show those documents but on early Sunday November 18,2012 the military police backed up with CSF attacked the island. They attacked the locals beating them electric shocks rod. I saw a woman badly beaten by the soldiers
Now both parties involved in the fight whether the locals and the army “in its official spokesperson’s statement” accuse each other of using live ammunition. The locals say that the MP officers shot live ammunition.
The locals also told me that the MP soldiers “Allah Akbar” during the attack !! The fishermen’s boats on that land were destroyed. According to the locals also a 23 years old young man called Mohamed Abdel-Mawgoud jumped to the Nile after he was shot twice. Abdel Mawgoud drowned. Other 3 locals drowned while they trying to save late Abdel Mawgoud May Allah bless their souls.
Right after that attack the locals protested back in the mainland in Giza’s El Bahr El Azam main street. Cutting the road and setting tires on fire , they were angry and furious.
Honestly I have heard about several stories about the disputed land but the most common one I have heard from the locals themselves is the one above.
Unlike what you think , this case has nothing to do with the the old Quorsaya land dispute between the NDP businessmen and the locals that ended with a legal triumph for the locals from couple of years ago.
Now here is the disputed piece land , it is not that big nor deserves that war the military police launched against the locals costing 4 lives and the injuries of tens not to mention those 25 men facing military trials.
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The disputed island
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Geese at that disputed island
It is like another island besides the main island. The army has banned fishing in this area completely today.
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The smashed new living
One of the things that I have puzzled me during my short visit is how the MP forces attacked a villa and a workshop owned by a man called “Dr. Ahmed Badawy” and smashing its windows and its living room. What truly puzzled me is that the villa is not besides the disputed island. The villa right in front of the small island was not attacked
The villa of Ahmed Badawy was new , the furniture in the living room that was stormed was not used. In fact the villa seemed to be new from inside. I do not know if Dr. Badawy ,who is popular in that part of the island spoke to the media or not about the incident or not.
Badawy got a workshop and according to the locals his workers who slept at the workshop as some of them not from Cairo , were arrested during the MP’s raid.
Now 25 men from the locals were arrested during the clashes and are facing a military trial. Among the detainees some of the workers working in Ahmed Badawy’s workshop.
I personally believe that this land dispute should be solved in civilian court if you want to speak about fairness. Already this is a small island , the civilians are the majority. Enough of the militarization of the State.
I believe that this is the biggest military trial taking place after the Presidential elections and yet there is complete silence from President Morsi , from Freedom and Justice Party as well the Muslim brotherhood. I used to defend the Muslim brotherhood leaders including Khairat El Shater during their famous military trial and yet not only they are silent but ok with the military trials for civilians articles in the new approved constitution !!
BY the way not only Freedom and Justice Party and MB are ignoring this case but almost all the other parties except may be The Egyptian Current Party and Strong Egypt Party. As usual the pro-Revolutionary movements like No for military trials and Revolutionary Socialists are standing with Al Quorsaya people.
A trivia : The 1954 constitution which was drafted right after the Coup of 1952 “and was not adopted” says clearly that Civilians should stand their civilian judges.
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The people of Al Quorsaya
Al Quorsaya island is extremely beautiful , it is like a piece of the country side in the Nile between modern Giza and Cairo. Its people mostly work as fishermen and some in agriculture. During my visit I saw that extremely old lady , very cheerful sitting on that wooden upper Egyptian couch who was waving to the guests coming from reporters warmly. I do not know how old she was but she was extremely old. Based on the tattoo on her face, I would say that she came from Upper Egypt like rest of the Qoursaya locals. They came from Upper Egypt from many decades ago. Their curse in life is not poverty but rather that their small island’s location is a golden treasure for tourism development.
I am sorry again that I waited till this time.
Al Quorsaya island after the MP’s raid

Where is Al Quorsaya in the Nile ??
Map picture

2 comments:

  1. I want you to think of how others including as you say the other parties are seeing this because you possibly cannot see the significance and they can of the military keeping people off their land.
    First it is their land and they can do with it what they please.
    Second and the most important and why no one is supporting the islanders is the fact that this small island is a strategic position. This is why armies put bases on little islands. All armies all over the world. They keep people off them if they are small and in strategic places because it would be very easy for a small terrorist cells to set up on them. Surrounded by water it would be a while before the police or army reached them so they would have time to hide their weapons or bombs. The fact that there could be a possible terrorist cell on one and it has an ideal position right on the middle of Cairo's Nile offeres it the opportunity to fire rockets to both sides of the Nile easily. That is how the military think. Especially in these days. If you approach the problem from the military point of view and the safety of the country you will understand their need to protect the borders and islands like every other country has to do. Egypt right now is a strategic target and has a cold peace with Israel and the tension in the region is high and on red alert more so than many other regions. I would have thought you would be aware of that and support the military and their job protecting the country.

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  2. There is always someone or many who will justify immoral actions taken upon a simplistic peoples. Israel does this all the time (case in point).....always quoting "it's a stratetic piece of real estate we need to grab"

    Bah - still immoral, imo.

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