Saturday, April 5, 2014

#Aswan : Tribal Massacre and State Failure

Today Egypt woke up on a disaster in Aswan, tribal fights between local ethnic tribes in El Seel Al Refy area resulted in the death of not less than 23 citizens. Of course the death toll increased till it reached to 27. It is a complete shock because we are speaking about peaceful Aswan and peaceful Nubians.
Unfortunately this disaster has been taking place since last Thursday yet the Local authorities did not give a damn leaving it escalate in to a semi ethnic tribal fight. The fight started as a normal quarrel between teenagers from two ethnic clans "Daboodiya" and "El Hilaliya". The "Daboodiya" clan is from Nubia while "El Hilaliya"clan is from the Arabs.
Last Thursday A group of "El Hilaliya" clan's students sexually harassed a Nubian girl at a secondary school where a group of Nubian students defended her and thus a fight started between both groups. Here is a video showing the original fight.

Then some alleged drug dealer from "El Hilaliya" showed up with an automatic gun. That armed man opened his fire shooting randomly killing three Nubian students and a Nubian woman passing by in the street.
Where was the police ? Watching the whole matter then issuing a statement on Thursday that there was a  fight between Pro-MB students and the locals in Aswan and the locals won the fight !!!!! That stupid statement made the Nubians even more furious. Nubian clans joined the "Daboodiya" in their anger.
Losing hope in the system the Nubians took the matter in their own hand.Early Friday a group of armed angry Nubians attacked an El Hilaliya village torching their houses and shooting the people.
The photos coming from Aswan showing scary scenes. They are extremely graphic. All the photos I posted here are from News Website Welad Al Balad

In retaliation early Saturday a group from El Hilaliya went attack houses of Nubians including houses of people who were not part of the feud slaughtering the men in those houses.

Nubian women mourn their victims
You can imagine what happened next. A hell broke loose in Aswan with checkpoints in the villages and torched tires in the street. Each clan wants justice.
The streets of Aswan today
The police claimed that it lost control asking the army to intervene.
An official tribal massacre one used to see and read about in Upper Egypt not in Aswan.
If only the police arrested that alleged drug dealer who killed those people on Thursday.If only !!

The photos from the Nubian villages showing horrifying brutality not to be used or seen usually in Aswan. According to early forensic reports the ages of the victims are between 20 to 50 years old , mostly men. Some of the victims had fractures in their skulls while some were completely slaughtered. I do not know what to say.
I had to wait all that time to gather testimonies “mostly from Nubian Netizens and activists” about what happened there and to wait till my old hard working laptop would start to work. All testimonies from Nubia agree on that version.
Interestingly thanks to this unfortunate version one has been introduced to a new interesting clan in the South of Egypt : El Hilaliya

El Hilaliya or El Gamsa clan is regarded in Aswan as Gypsies who work in illegal activities like drugs and thuggery according to the Nubians. They are being labeled in Nubia and Upper Egypt as “Gypsies”. They are considered new comers to Aswan. From several years ago some of them were kicked out from Luxor and Edfu and moved to the shanty towns of Aswan city. It seems that thugs from that clan were hired by both MB and Police to attack the protesters. According to some angry Nubian tweeps some police officers were implicated with the drug dealers from Hilaliya and that's why they did not arrest the drug dealer who shot the four Nubian students.

"The Nubians had to carry arms and defend themselves after they found the police bias to "El Hialiya" This talk was repeated by Nubian social media users today in Egypt over and over. It is worth to mention that the police did not and does not waste any time or effort in dispersing any protest against the regime whether MB protest or revolutionary protest in Aswan.

By the way some Arab clans “ From Arab ethnicity” in Aswan joined the Nubians in the past 48 hours in their anger against El Halayilia clan because that clan killed one of their members from two months ago. 
Of course all that information does not show a positive image about El Hilaliya today.

Now this tribal massacre exposes one important fact : We do not have a real state in Egypt.
You got armed society and ethnic tensions. You got a police that uses thugs and drug dealers aka honorable citizens in order to attack protesters when time comes neglecting that they are armed drug dealers “according to the Nubians” who break the law in the first place. I do not know what to say honestly.

Again and again our so-called governmental official focuses on one kind of security : The political security related to the continuity of a failed state.

In Cairo people are shocked to see what happened in Aswan and to see the peaceful Nubians carry arms and kill their enemies. Well the Nubians are very peaceful but they are fed up. This is what their activists and tweeps have been saying all day long. The incident of last Thursday was the last straw especially for the young Nubian generations.

The Nubians’ representative in the last C50 constitution committee Haggag Oddoul issued a statement in his official Facebook Page.He spoke about he warned that the young generations from Egyptian Nubians can not tolerate shit anymore
Here is important part of his statement translated in English about why the Nubians are armed now.

 The four displacements that shocked our existence especially the displacement of 1964 took us off our root around the banks of the Nile and threw us in the desert among armed groups. Nubians had their share from insults and abuse those armed groups while they were unarmed , Nubians do not even carry a stick. Those armed groups used to attack and steal the houses of Nubians as well beating Nubian women and men. Those armed groups were not punished by anyone because there was not authority in those places. We were insulted and called black and barbaric. We  had to be like them , carry guns and threat to use it in order to defend it , in order to be citizens like other citizens.
The Egyptian Nubians are angry because up till now the El Hialiya clan has been given more space in the media to attack the Nubians. The Nubians online accuse the government of being bias to the other clan because it is standing with the MOI.
By the way despite all that neglect from the state , all those years away from their land the Egyptian Nubians did not think to carry arms despite they turned to be armed as we all see. This is something we should remember.
At the same time the people from Aswan , the young Netizens from there are swearing that the current fight has nothing to do with politics and the Muslim Brotherhood is not involved , we find out that the official spokesperson of armed forces claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood members were involved in this clash !!

Yeah blame it on the Muslim Brotherhood because it is the easiest thing to do despite all the testimonies from the people in Aswan that say otherwise !!
This reminds me so much with what happened in his first statement regarding the St.Catherine Hikers tragedy .
You know I wish that the army did not get involved in this matter and issue that statement and to send enforcement only to the police forces.Police already got enforcement from several neighbor governorates.
Anyhow in some good sign “I know it is more of public stunt” PM Mehlab” is now in Aswan along a number of ministers including the minister of interior. He is holding meetings with the tribal leaders of both tribes.
I will quote Egyptian Nubian activist Fatma Emam from her twitter account and will say that we should stop dealing with the Nubian file as a National security file that the army , intelligence and ministry of interior and start to deal with it from a true citizenship human way.
Emam is so also demanding the authorities to start investigates about the clashes, to control the weapons problem and to hold the security officials responsible as well to end their impunity. This could have been stopped since Thursday.
Fatma Emam also did not forget the people , she demanded the citizens in Aswan to seize the fire , to hand over the inciters to the authorities and to release the hostages from both sides.
You must know since early Saturday demanded a curfew so the fight would stop.
By the way I predict that the head of Aswan directorate will be dismissed because of this.


  1. I'm sorry to hear about this but not surprised as the Govt is not doing it's job. It's a shame that Mubarak now is gone and things have gone from "bad" to truly worse now.
    Who ever would have thought this could happen...:(

    I'm angry and I don't even live there, it's terrible now for the citizens from north to south.

    How can they ever expect tourism to pick up? I doubt it will until there is some civil police firmly in place again and doing their jobs.

  2. Thank you, Zeinobia, for looking beneath the surface. Your work is admirable.

  3. Sure am glad that elected government is gone. Things were so violent before we had the military.

    1. to david walker...things may seem more violent before the military but wait till after the new government takes will see violence in a different form...repressive violence it possible you believe the military to be the saviour of egypt? "the more things change the more they remain the same"

    2. That was sarcasm. What I was actually saying is that despite Sisi's security mandate, Egypt is more violent than it has been in its modern history.


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