Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) held a poignant webinar yesterday on 14th August 2023 titled “Dark Decade of Impunity: Remembering the Rabaa Massacre and the Ongoing Lack of Accountability in Egypt.” The event marked the grim 10th anniversary of the Rabaa Sit-In raid in Egypt.
Esteemed speakers, including Sarah Leah Whitson of DAWN, Egyptian actor Amr Waked, former UK MP Helen Goodman, human rights activist Ramy Shaath, academics Dr. Abdullah Al-Arian, Dr. Ahmed Ghanem, Dr. Maha Azzam, and director Mohamed Ismail, converged to shed light on the tragic event. The discussion was expertly steered by moderator Melissa Turner, Co-Founder and Co-Editor of BeMagazine.
The Rabaa Sit-In massacre, a harrowing chapter in Egypt’s history, saw hundreds lose their lives when security forces violently dispersed demonstrators in Rabaa Square. Often dubbed as one of the most heinous mass killings in modern history, the events at Rabaa remain etched as a stark reminder of the perils of unchecked power and the absence of accountability.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), emphasized the deliberate nature of the massacre, revealing a comprehensive investigation her team undertook. She criticized international support for General Sisi and underscored the importance of accountability.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Arian, Associate Professor at Georgetown University Qatar, interpreted Rabaa as a beginning, not an end, to Egypt’s tumultuous decade. He highlighted how the event reshaped Egypt’s trajectory and has left lasting impacts on the nation’s youth.
Helen Goodman, Former UK Member of Parliament, addressed the international community’s onus to act, urging politicians worldwide to tackle human rights abuses. She emphasized the potency of publicity against repressive regimes.
Human rights activist, Ramy Shaath, spoke from personal experience about the ramifications of Rabaa. Having spent over two years imprisoned without charges, he drew attention to the broader international implications and interconnected struggles for justice.
Prominent Egyptian actor, Amr Waked, reflected on the Rabaa massacre as a televised crime against humanity and criticized the suppression of artistic expression in Egypt. He encouraged embracing diversity and unity as a way forward.
Political analyst, Dr. Ahmed Ghanem, underscored the international community’s role in Middle Eastern political strife. He expressed concerns over Western ambiguity, emphasizing the importance of resilience and defiance.
Dr. Maha Azzam, Head of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council, called for global audiences to heed their pleas for justice, emphasizing the interconnected nature of struggles in the region.
Mohamed Ismail, Director of Egyptians Abroad for Democracy, voiced disillusionment with Western support for the Sisi regime. Witnessing the peaceful protests in Rabaa and Nahda Squares, he urged the international community to stand by the democratic choices of Egyptians.
Throughout the event, the speakers’ testimonials painted a vivid picture of a nation’s anguish and the struggles of its people. Their insights served as a call to the international community, emphasizing the deliberate nature of the massacre, the political ramifications, the stifling of artistic expression, and the importance of international solidarity.
The profound discussions, moderated by Melissa Turner, Co-Founder, and Co-Editor of BeMagazine, underscored the need for justice, human rights, and democracy in Egypt. The event was a somber reminder of the fight for justice that still lies ahead.
In conclusion, the webinar, marking the grim decade since the massacre, resonated with powerful messages of resilience, unity, and the unwavering pursuit of justice. Each speaker, in their own capacity, brought forth a unique perspective, yet the overarching theme remained clear: the memory of Rabaa continues to galvanize efforts towards a brighter, democratic, and just future for Egypt.