A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Khaled Said is Avenged: State Security in Alexandria is Stormed

UPDATE: State Security Headquarters in 6th of October and in Nasr City have been taken over by protesters. More Bastilles are falling. The Army is letting it happen.

If the patron saint of the Tunisian revolution was the educated vegetable-seller Mohammed Bouazizi, then his equivalent for the Egyptian revolution was Khaled Said, the young man arrested by police or state security after leaving an Internet cafe in Alexandria, and later foundd beaten to death. (Early posts here and here.) The key organizing Facebook page for the Egyptian revolution was called "We are all Khaled Said," and his mother made several key appearances during the uprising. If Midan al-Tahrir in Cairo was the central focus of the Revolution, Alexandria was the genesis, as Sidi Bouzid was in Tunisia.

And now, perhaps, the symbolism has come full circle, and it is also the site of the symbolic fall of the Bastille. Yesterday, claiming they feared that records were being destroyed. Protesters and State Security reportedly through Molotov cocktails at each other until the Army intervened and secured the building, giving a victory to the protesters. An early Al-Masry al-Youm report here. Al Jazeera here. Blogger Zeinobia has a much fuller story, including many YouTube videos, including these two culminating ones after the people got into the building:

Were they really destroying evidence? Well, that or testing a whole lot of new shredders:

Khaled Said, wherever he may be, is avenged. Lafayette famously sent the key to the Bastille to George Washington (it's displayed at Mount Vernon still), as the inspiration for the French Revolution. If this place has a key, Khaled's mother should have it.

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