Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Omar Salah, Marginalized in life, Marginalized in Death.

Stories like Omar's do not only steal whatever humanity you have left, it also deconstructs all

 your long held beliefs. Naive beliefs that Justice will be served and that evil will lose at the 

"end", no matter how long it takes. Welcome to the real world, where injustice always finds the 

easiest ways to win.

Omar Salah. Another name of yet another martyr. But Omar was not even a 21

 years old. Omar was not a middle class political activist. Omar used to fight,

 but not for political reasons. Omar used to fight every single day...to survive

Omar was 12 years old. Yes, twelve. He used to sell sweet potatoes on a 

peddler's cart. Omar had 5 sisters, and a brother. أis father is a sweet potato 

seller too. The 12 years old dropped out of school, but not because he did not 

like it. He dropped out to work and help his father and family survive.

In an old interview, Omar was asked "What do you dream of, Omar?"

He Answered:" I don't have the right to dream, Mr."

Omar used to tell his father to stay home, volunteering to work instead of

 him, because he felt that his father was too tired to wander the streets all

 day for a few pounds. "No, father. You stay and rest. I will go and sell the 

sweet potato and I promise to come back with money". When his older sister

 was hospitalized, Omar came to his father and said: " I know you do not have

 any money." and he went out all day. His father and uncles kept searching for

 him all day. He came back at 2 am. When he came back, his father found out

 that he took 5 pounds from some bystander and bought some tissues 

packets, and sold them to the people on the streets. And he gave the money

 to his father.

On the day Omar was killed, he had only two pounds in his pockets. What did 

he do with them? He went and bought very little food and forced his not so 

hungry father to eat, because he wanted to feed him. "No, father. I insist. I 

just want to see you eating. You are so worn out. I swear I am not leaving 

until you finish eating".

He then went to a bystander and asked him for two pounds. He took them and

 bought a cup of tea for his father.

Omar was killed by two bullets shot directly to his heart in Tahrir. Why was 

Omar in Tahrir? Not for protesting, not for joining our "fight". He was fighting

 a different and harder battle. He was fighting to feed his family. An army 

officer came to buy sweet potatoes from Omar. Omar told him that he would 

sell to him, but after he goes to the bathroom first. The very arrogant officer 

did not like the answer and threatened to shoot him. Omar challenged him, 

because you see, even 12 years old KIDS have dignity too. So the officer 

ended up shooting Omar and killing him.

I used to say that we have lost any sacredness for human life, after

 witnessing so many people get killed in front of us in cold blood by an

 arrogant and oppressive regime. But this time it is different. This time,

 something just died inside. I now realize that something inside could still 

feel and react to what is happening.

What hurts is not that a 12 years old had been turned into the breadwinner,

 after being denied any right to a healthy childhood. He had been denied the

 right to go to school, buy toys, have friends, spend time playing, not working.

He had been denied basically every right. He had been denied the joy of 

wearing a school uniform, this cute tiny uniform, and feeling what it is like to

 wear it for the first time. He had been denied the right to play in mud, start

 silly fights, eat healthy food, sleep well.

Even the peace of mind we envy children for...this too has been taken away

 from him in all viciousness. But that all does not hurt as much now. We kinda 

got used to it. At least I did.

What hurts the most is that

 Omar’s death was 

discovered by chance.

 Marginalized in life, 

marginalized in death!

A few activists were 

searching for another

 activist who had 

disappeared after the Friday

 protests, and they went to 

Al Monira hospital to look 

for him there. They did not 

find the activist, but a doctor who works in the hospital told them that he saw

 the corpse of a child, and he did not know who he was or what had happened

 to him and he gave them Omar’s picture. The activists kept trying to figure

 out who Omar was, until they found this video of an old interview in which he

 was speaking about his life.

I am at loss for words. Feelings are piling up inside me and I don’t feel like

 commenting…on anything. How many Omars do we have and know of? How

 many Omars do we have, but we do not know of? Does this make any sense 

to any of you? It does not to me.

They killed us, before they kill us. A generation of numb zombies! That is 

what they have turned us into.

Omar’s funeral will be held in tahrir tomorrow after Friday prayers. Please, try

 to be there in honor of a 12 years old's struggle.

I am so sorry, Omar that all I could do is to “tweet about it”. I am sorry I am

 so numb and helpless. I am so very sorry, because I too was responsible for

 this. I am sorry. I am just very sorry.

I am sorry Omar has died this viciously, but I am determined to save the

 many other Omars we still have. Omar has died, but many more Omars 

continue to live and suffer, and this is why we need to keep fighting for them. 

Take a moment, mourn him, and get back on your feet for your and my Omar.

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