At the end of August last year, I reached a point where I couldn’t deal with what I saw and the reactions of people close to me. I decided to escape for a week and chose a country I don’t speak its language. Two days into the trip, my mobile was stolen and with it all the photos I took of the turbulent July and August events. Everything lost. But it only hit me later, this April when I realized that all messages with Bassem, especially during these two months, were lost with that phone. Snippets of political and personal discussions. And the most precious of all were his brief uplifting messages that he somehow sent at the right time, as if he knew what I needed to hear without us speaking for days or even weeks. These past weeks I realized his loss the only way I was sure it would hit me. Twice, for personal and work related problems, Bassem was the first to come to my mind. But before reaching out for the phone to get his advice, I realized he was gone.
The only thing that survived the stolen phone was this video, which I had downloaded immediately for some reason. Bassem had watched it and told me to post it. It’s of the Ramsis clashes/crackdown few days after the Rabaa dispersal. Tens were killed and MB supporters were trapped inside the Fatah Mosque overnight. Earlier that day, I briefly got caught up in the gunfire. Authorities then told those inside they would have a safe exit. Never mind that many were eventually arrested, but for the moments captured here, residents of the area decided to provide this safe exit. They wanted to protect those inside from their neighbors who have been beating up journalists and anyone looking like Brotherhood. The essence of the story here is that those people forming this passage loathed the Brotherhood and those inside, but their humanity won over their affiliation. Call it even practical and logical thinking. They decided to unexpectedly break the cycle of violence for no reason other than being fed up with blood. This realization is the key to solving our problems. This video gives me hope that this realization could one day prevail. What people told me that day always reminds me of Bassem. Since his funeral, I’ve been asking myself in many occasions, what would Bassem do. And this video captures his spirit even though he had nothing to do with it, a spirit I wish would prevail. So here you go, get some hope during the anniversary of a bloodied week as I plan my next escape.