Children For Freedom: Fighters Against Tyranny
I was so much impressed when I saw those children whose faces appeared in various scenes (courts, Satellite channels, art exhibitions, demonstrations and press conferences and even the cyberspace); they appeared in all these places and domains seeking and demanding one thing: freedom for their loved ones and care-givers of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders who were detained by the Egyptian autocratic regime….scenes that reflected a high organizational efficiency and a spirit of resistance which seem to be their companions since their birth, not childhood because they are actually children; these youngsters did not fear the central security soldiers who surrounded the court in which their fathers were standing trial; they insisted on attending these trials to express their anger at the Egyptian regime through highly impressive poems that they wrote and memorized till they delivered them in front of satellite channels and various audio and visual media outlets.
Little Princes and Princesses Of MB Trials
The story of these children started immediately after arresting Khairat Al- Shater, the second deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood and a number of the group leaders in late 2006; his children and the children of the other detained figures turned into leaders who led the large crowds that attended the courts to stage several demonstrations against the Egyptian regime and against detentions; the youngsters were making up slogans and the elders were chanting them; they weren’t afraid of any body and weren’t asking their moms’ permission; they were even calming down their mothers and brothers and appeal for stability and patience.
Several scenes showed us those youngsters behaving as if they were experience old men who are used to struggle; little child Aisha Hassan Malek, the daughter of the detained businessman Hassan Malek, less than ten years old, delivers, in every trial that includes her father, a new poem in front of satellite channels without fearing camera or fearing the large crowds looking at her to the extent that they called her “the princess of trials” due to her enthusiasm and inventiveness in defending her father in every trial.
Aisha isn’t the only child that led crowds to defend her father; there are many others like Moaaz Shousha, the son of the Muslim Brotherhood leader Ahmed Shousha, who was leading demonstrations in front of courts; and the very young leader Ahmed Diaa Farahat, who was leading chanting slogans; and Sara Ayman Abdul Ghani and many other children who insist on accompanying their mothers and elder siblings in the early morning in front of courts in an organized manner.
Treat My Father Kindly
The activities of the children of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders weren’t restricted to only courtrooms, but this children’s organizational activity included also the fences of prisons where their care-givers are denied kept; the youngsters insist on being among the first visitors in Torah Farm Prison and Natroun Prison, joking playfully with guards and giving them food and drink to treat their fathers kindly and mercifully.
These would-be-leaders extended their activities to schools and universities; they turned the graduation party of the Arab Maritime Transport Academy into a demonstration that condemns the regime and calls for releasing their care-givers, when these young children insisted on attending party to congratulate their elder brothers; they made a big placard that calls for releasing their fathers and stood on the platform, hanged the sign and started chanting slogans and all people in the hall following them and chanting the slogans, turning the celebration into a demonstration.
Invading The Cyberspace
The children of the Muslim Brotherhood detainees didn’t stop short of creating more methods to defend their fathers; their latest weapon against the repressive regime is blogging on the cyberspace; the children launched their own weblogs immediately after their fathers were detained; scores of weblogs and the number is on the increase to keep up with the increasing number of crackdowns, to the extent that every detainee is likely having a weblog for him now on the cyberspace.
Observers see that what the children of the Muslim Brotherhood offered in the last four months to defend their detained fathers and loved ones may be more than what the Muslim Brotherhood leaders and figures offered to these detainees; these children managed to gain the sympathy of the Egyptian public opinion to support their cause, a sympathy that increases every day and with every new trial in which their fathers appear in front of justice.
Zahraa Al Shater
For her part, Zahraa Al Shater, the coordinator of the Association Of Children For the Sake Of Freedom, said in a statement to Ikhwanweb:” The idea of establishing the Association Of Children For the Sake Of Freedom emerged due to the circumstances and incidents that the children faced, starting from arresting their fathers and waking them up at the dead of the night to see the state security forces arresting their care-givers and freezing their assets in addition to the very fact of missing their fathers who are thrown behind bars.
Zahraa Al Shater, the daughter of eng. Khairat Al-Shater and wife of eng. Ayman Abdul-Ghany who are currently transferred to a military tribunal, pointed out that the families of the detainees are suffering while facing the repeated questions of those children like: why is my father thrown behind bars, why are my assets frozen, who are they doing this against my father who isn’t a thief or a drug dealer; and other inquiries about a status quo that these children can’t easily understand in their early life; the children see many contradictions in Egypt and raise their eyebrows: they see the scandal of the polluted blood bags and they are surprised to find that the one responsible for this scandal is released from prison, the same prison in which their father are held under groundless allegations.
Zahraa Al Shater added that the biggest question from the children was when the court acquitted engineer Khairat Al Shater and several MB leaders but another arrest warrant was issued against them: why have they been detained again despite the court”s ruling; doesn’t the judiciary have the final say in these cases; we were obliged to tell them the truth and make these children be aware of the truth behind these contradictions, involving them in the core of the issue.
Zahraa Al Shater said:” Under the current incidents, we thought of establishing an association for the children of the detainees to make them give vent to their feelings, defend their issues and their natural right of demanding the release of their fathers.
Zahraa Al Shater expressed her astonishment and admiration at the courage of these children while they talk to media with full boldness, steadfastness, self-confidence, despite their tears and grief.
Regarding the coming activities of the association, Zahraa Al Shater said that they are preparing an art exhibition for the children of the detainees in which their works of art will be shown.
Khaled Hamza is an Egyptian thinker, lecturer and prominent political writer.