Dignity, Courage and Hypocrisy: Egyptian Man Stripped Naked by Police
Hamada Saber is the name of an Egyptian man, who was seen in a video which went viral and was even featured on CNN, while he was being beaten and stripped of his clothes by police forces. The incident brought about a wave of shock and disbelief and shook the nation in disgust. Interestingly, many people on social media started contrasting what happened to this man and the nation’s reaction to it with the extreme sexual harassment and rape Egyptian women are subjected to.
The video can be viewed here:
On Twitter, Ghada Elsayeh wrote [ar]:
بس الفرق بين حمادة إل اتسحل والبنات ال اتحرشو بهم واغتصابهم كبير لأن الناس تعاطفت مع حمادة الجبان ولم تهتم بالبنات الشجعان! محتاج علاج نفسي!
@Ghadaelsayeh: The difference between Hamada who was beaten and the girls who were sexually harassed and raped is great because people sympathized with Hamada the coward while they didn’t pay attention
to the brave girls! [They] need psychological treatment.
The reason Saber was called a coward by some is his initial statement to the media that he had been stripped of his clothes by the protesters, not the security forces. Reactions were divided when it came to this testimony: although some called him a coward, others felt the man might have been under threat to deny the truth, like journalist Rasha Azb, who tweeted:
اوعوا تلوموا علي حمادة صابر .اوعوا تلوموا علي واحد قضي ليلة من الذل والخوف واحنا نايمين في بيوتنا.اوسخ حاجة انك تيجي ع الضحية..ارحموا الضعيف
@RashaPress: Don’t blame Hamada Saber, don’t blame someone who spent a night of humiliation and fear while we were sleeping in our homes. The worst thing you can do is to blame the victim… have mercy on the weak!
Another interesting contrast made is that between Sabry’s generation (he is a middle-aged man) and the generation of his daughter. The latter had spoken out against what her father initially said, calling his statements ‘lies’. The blog The Arabist mentioned her saying:
In the most surreal part of this sad episode, Hamada Saber and his daughter Randa ended up arguing about what happened to him on a major satellite TV talk show, with Hamada accusing Randa of having taken money from satellite channels to lie about him.
Ahmed Talaat added:
لسه الناس مش قادرة تصدق أن فيه فرق بين جيل حمادة و جيل بنته ! جيل حمادة لسه بيخاف من أمين الشرطة ! جيل بنته مابيخافش من رئيس الجمهورية ..
@AhmadTal3t: People are still not able to believe that there is a difference between Hamada’s generation and that of his daughter! Hamada's generation is still afraid of a police officer! The generation of his daughter is not afraid of the president of the republic..
Later on, Saber, after hearing the reactions of his own family and the Egyptian people to his initial statements, decided to change his testimony. He apologized for blaming the protesters, claiming security forces were the ones who beat him and stripped him of his clothes. He also stressed that he hadn’t received any money to make the statements he initially made.