“The pain is too heavy”, Sarah Hegazy’s farewell: suicide after the trauma of arrest for showing a rainbow flag

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“To my brothers, my sisters and friends. I went out of my way to survive, but I can’t keep going any more, the pain is too heavy. To you world, you have been very unfair to me, but I forgive you and everyone. ” The sheet of a block, over a few lines and its signature. So Sarah Hegazy, 28-year-old Egyptian woman announced her decision to end it. The final word on the last two and a half difficult years of his life: from detention, until last Saturday, when he turned off the light in his home in Toronto, in Canada, where she had been forced to emigrate. Sarah Hegazy, a declared lesbian, had paid an absurd fault in prison, that is having shown a rainbow flag for the rights of LGBT communities during a concert in Cairo. This happened at the end of September 2017, then at the beginning of October the arrest and detention of a few months, less than four, however, was enough to traumatize her: “She has never recovered from that episode – says Amr Mohamed, her lawyer at the time of the case -. I never imagined I would never see her again when I accompanied her to Cairo airport that evening in early 2018. The causes of his death are the Egyptian state, community and media according to which there is no room for those who defend freedom and sexual orientation. ”

Amr Mohamed is also the attorney for Malak el-Kashif, the young Egyptian transgender, also closed in prison and victim of violence, of which Fattoquotidiano.it wrote a few days ago: “In her message Sarah apologized to her family, friends and forgave everyone, including those who she wanted to discriminate in every way – says Malak – you forgive, I don’t. She was a great fighter, one of the few who gave me her help when I needed it because of my being ‘different’ from the social patterns of the country. Her imprisonment was decisive, when she came out she was no longer the same. She was abused in the cell and the media tore her to pieces for her being openly lesbian. Lhe situation for members of the LGBT community in Egypt is appalling, amid verbal and physical violence. This is what hate campaigns produce against us. It is a difficult day for me, she will always remain in my heart, I will never forget her. ”

All for a flag waved during a concert. On the evening of September 23, 2017, Sarah Hegazy was at the concert of Mashrou ’Leila, a very popular Lebanese group whose singer is also openly gay. Hegazy was in the company of a group of friends, including Ahmed Alaa, and other members of the Egyptian LGBT community. Waving and showing that rainbow flag was a rare and serious gesture for Egypt, but if it hadn’t been for a local TV station that built a case on that episode, perhaps nobody would have noticed. Showing a different sexual orientation is a fault that can cost dearly in the country led by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. On October 6, the raid was launched, dozens of people arrested, including Sarah Hegazy and Alaa Ahmed, who ended up in prison and then both fled the North African country. Among the charges against him also that of ‘promotion of sexual deviance and debauchery ‘as well as being’ part of a group aimed at damaging social peace‘. Archaic terms that refer to dark historical periods, to medieval practices that seemed forgotten over time and instead so sadly current.

In January 2018 the release: “It was the worst time of my life, the prison destroyed me, killed me” he said at the time, already marked in the spirit. Yet the worst was yet to come. Unlike prison, Sarah was subjected to double discrimination based on her progressive and leftist political views and on the basis of her gender identity. The case was not closed, the risk of returning to prison very concrete, not to mention the constant threats received because of his sexual tastes, considered obscene. Hence the choice, a few months later, to leave the country: “She never returned to Egypt, she would have done so only when everything would have changed – adds Karim Abdelrady, Egyptian lawyer, activist and friend of Hegazy -. Land things got worse for her when her mother passed away last year and she wasn’t here in Cairo to be near her“. The 28-year-old was also a political militant and was among the founders of the Freedom Party, a movement linked to activism for the protection of human rights in Egypt: “Sarah participated in several campaigns In solidarity with prisoners of conscience, especially writers and artists who have been oppressed because of their opinions – say some party colleagues -. He believed in everyone’s right to live in dignity and freedom without class exploitation or discrimination based on gender or sexual identity. She was expressing her opinions with rare courage, subjected to double discrimination on the basis of her political ideas and on the basis of Gender Identity for the whole period of investigations and detention “. Condolence was expressed by the international LGBT community: “It is a sad day for all of us in the world”.

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