Remembering Khaled Said: An Essay from a Year Ago by Alaa al-Aswany

On the anniversary of Khaled Said’s murder, from Al-Aswany’s June 2010 essay, “An Attempt to Understand the Causes of Cruelty:”

The brutal way that Khaled Said was murdered has found its place in the history of Egypt and the memory of Egyptians for ever. Those truly responsible for the murder of Khaled Said are not the detectives who beat him to death, nor the commissioner who sent them nor the director of security nor even the minister of the interior. The prime responsibility for the murder of Khaled Said and of all the victims of torture lies with the head of state who, if he wanted to prevent Egyptians being tortured, could do so with a single word, in fact with a single wave of his hand. If Khaled Said had been European, American or Israeli, President Mubarak would have intervened personally to have the killers arrested and severely punished. But it was Khaled Said’s wretched luck to be born Egyptian at a time when Egyptians are slaughtered like stray dogs, with impunity and without any impartial investigation or even a word of apology. The murder of Khaled Said is a turning point by which Egyptians have understood how subjugated and humiliated they have become and how they can never live in freedom and dignity until Egypt rids itself of despotism.

Democracy is the solution.