Zainab Al Mahdy: When trauma and revolution kill

This story resonates so much with whatever happened to the Egyptian movement.
I see myself so much in her. I see reflections of my past and present in her.

Her name was Zainab Al Mahdy. Her angelic face looks like so many Egyptian and Muslim young women from the Arab world, but not the ones you see in the media.

Her friends said that she suffered from sever depression and fear due to working for the years post the revolution on female political prisoners cases and reading horrific accounts on what's taking place in the Egyptian prisons specifically the torture, sexual assault, and rape cases against Egyptian female prisoners. 

Zainab Al Mahdy, a young Egyptian revolutionary was found hanged in her apartment in Cairo today (November 2014). She is a survivor of the Rabaa massacre and had done a great effort in establishing all the grassroots work around the post-coup female political detainees that we benefited from. I just found out that Zainab and I have so many mutual friends in common and her death caused quite a stir in the movement here. 

Zainab who looks like many of us went from being a socially and politically active organizer from before 2011 to being a neglected/isolated suicidal depression and PTSD victim in post-coup Egypt, dealing with spiritual/mental confusion and disillusionment on her own, and with very little hope left for bettering this situation, and this is where she ended. 

That's what militarism has been doing here in Egypt in addition to killing and imprisoning, this is not the first case but it's quite shocking given how ordinary Zainab was.

#Jan25 youth committing suicide in apartments and prison cells or living as Zombies half alive half dead as the 4th anniversary approaches is quite a transition now. 

This is her last message to one of our friends before she deactivated her Facebook and stopped doing the work she was doing:

"I'm tired. I'm wasted. There is no use in all of that. It's like we are digging in water. We won't get anybody's right through any laws here, but we are doing what we ought to do. Just saying a word of justice to save our faces and not spit on it when we look at the mirror. 

There is no justice here. And I'm fully aware of this. There is no victory coming.
But we are just fooling ourselves to continue to live"."

Ordinary youth like myself are being killed by police violence in 2010.
Ordinary youth like myself are being imprisoned in 2011. 
Ordinary youth like myself are being killed, imprisoned, and exiled in 2013.
Ordinary youth like myself are committing suicide in 2014. 

Zainab’s end was both a slap on the face and a wake up call. Zainab was too sensitive, innocent, and fragile for all what she had to deal with at this age, at this historical moment, and in this society, where young women and women in general have to fight to survive without expecting too much support. This is happening on a large scale to many young people and young women her age in countries like ours. 

The revolution-or what used to be so- has killed and continues to kill its own children in so many ways besides the police and army's bullets. Things like depression, PTSD, lose of hope, extreme unbearable psychological and emotional stress, and other issues are among the ways young Egyptians are losing their lives-literally. 

Unfortunately, there's very little that has been done to deal with the consequences of the movement on an emotional and psychological levels. People in Egypt either don't have awareness or knowledge of these things, or if they do know, they don't give it enough consideration. 

At the same time, I also believe people in Egypt don't have the privilege or the choice to be taking care of their inner well-being considering the overwhelming amount of tragic events they have to continue to deal with on a regular basis.

5 years is quite a long time, and these 5 years were especially long.

So many youth including myself went through dramatic spiritual and intellectual shifts, and they don't feel very supported or encouraged. I think people need to stick to one another very firmly and stop being judgmental about how their friends and family members might be going through. 

Zainab's story needs to be read and shared. 


Zainab giving a lecture in 2012 about the definition of "Theocracy" and "The Theocratic State" as a part of a political educational initiative inside Sultan Hassan mosque, Cairo. May her soul rest in peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum sister,

I read your blog frequently and really appreciate your insights. May Allah shower His Mercy on Zainab and all of us struggling against oppression.

I stand in solidarity with you. I have you in my dua's
Jazakallah khair

your sister