Her Voice Counts
Zahraa Kassem, 33, is the sister of Khaled Said who was beaten to death by Egyptian security forces and is said to be "the spark" for the Egyptian Revolution. A Facebook group titled "We are all Khaled Said," brought attention to his death and contributed to growing discontent in the weeks leading up to the Egyptian Revolution which began in February. Zahraa began protested in June 2010, after the death of her brother in their hometown of Alexandria. “We wanted there to be some kind of retribution for what had happened amongst the police and security forces and the ministry itself.” Zahraa explains what happened to her brother was representative of the fate of many other Egyptians, “It happened before him and it’s happened since and it hasn’t stopped. I’ve been in Tahrir ever since.” Zahraa and her family have recently been threatened by thugs showing up at their house in Alexandria, flashing weapons and throwing rocks. She also began to receive threatening text messages, “You and your mother need to stop what you are doing or your daughters will be in danger.” She believes she receives threats because she was so outspoken about her brother’s death and because she’s a representative voice. “People are still dying in the streets an they can’t speak up, so we are speaking for them. There is a sense that most people feel that they can’t answer back if a policeman threatens them. There is a culture of fear. No one feels that they can answer back. I have always felt that I can answer back and I capitalized on that, answered back, have a voice and resist the silencing attempts. I was in the square last Friday and the day before yesterday. The teargas was so strong I fainted before I reached the Midan.”
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