Citation
Interview with Magda Adli

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Magda Adli
Series Title:
Middle East Women's Activism
Alternate Title:
مقابلة مع ماجدة عدلي
Creator:
Adli, Magda ( Interviewee )
عدلي ، ماجدة ( contributor )
Pratt, Nicola Christine ( contributor )
Place of Publication:
Cairo, Egypt
Publication Date:
Language:
Arabic

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Egypt-Syria unity ( UW-MEWA )
United Arab Republic ( LCSH )
Israel-Arab War (1967) ( LCSH )
Israel-Arab War (1973) ( LCSH )
Arab Socialist Union (Egypt) ( DBN )
Ittiḥād al-Ishtirākī al-ʻArabī (Egypt) ( LCSH )
الاتحاد الاشتراكي العربي (مصر) ( UW-MEWA )
Nasserism ( UW-MEWA )
التيار الناصري ( UW-MEWA )
at-Tayyār an-Nāṣerī ( UW-MEWA )
Socialists ( LCSH )
Camp David Agreements (1978) ( LCSH )
הסכמי קמפ דיוויד (1978) ( UW-MEWA )
اتفاقات كامب ديفيد (1978) ( UW-MEWA )
Egyptian Bread Riots (1977) ( UW-MEWA )
BuSSy ( UW-MEWA )
بصى ( UW-MEWA )
Capitalism ( LCSH )
Female genital mutilation ( UW-MEWA )
Female circumcision ( LCSH )
Ḥizb al-Tagammu' al-Watani al-Taqadomi al-Wahdawi ( LCSH )
حزب التجمع الوطني التقدمي الوحدوي ( UW-MEWA )
Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000-) ( LCSH )
Iraq War (2003-2011) ( LCSH )
Violence ( LCSH )
Al-Mahalla strike (Egypt : 2008) ( UW-MEWA )
El Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture ( UW-MEWA )
مركز النديم لتأهيل ضحايا العنف والتعذيب ( UW-MEWA )
Women's rights ( LCSH )
Violence against women ( UW-MEWA )
Women -- Violence against ( LCSH )
Mubārak, Muḥammad Ḥusnī, 1928-2020 ( LCSH )
مبارك، محمد حسني،‏ 1928-2020 ( UW-MEWA )
Maspero massacre (Maspiro, Cairo, Egypt : 2011 October 9-10) ( UW-MEWA )
أحداث ماسبيرو (ماسبيرو ، القاهرة ، مصر : 2011) ( UW-MEWA )
Poverty ( LCSH )
United States ( LCSH )
Human rights ( LCSH )
Torture ( LCSH )
State security ( UW-MEWA )
National security ( LCSH )
Kefaya ( UW-MEWA )
Kifāyah (Organization) ( LCSH )
الحركة المصرية من أجل التغيير ( UW-MEWA )
Spatial Coverage:
Asia -- Egypt -- Cairo Governate -- Cairo
Coordinates:
30.033333 x 31.233333

Notes

Abstract:
Magda was born in Cairo in 1953. She studied in the Faculty of Medicine at Al-Azhar University, followed by studies in anesthesiology and emergency medicine at Ayn Shams University. She was politically active from a young age. At the age of 15 she joined the Youth Organization of the Socialist Union. This activism continued into university, where she was involved in the 1977 popular uprisings (‘bread riots’), for which she was arrested and jailed for a year. After graduating, she worked at a clinic in Bani Sweif, in the Egyptian countryside. In the 1980s, she joined the Tagammu` Party and ran for parliament. She resigned from the party after 5 years. Later she opened her own clinic in Shoubra al-Khaima and in 1993 joined the Al-Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and Violence, where she worked with victims of torture from Egypt and Sudan. She helped to establish the Women’s Programme to help female victims of violence and torture. She also helped conduct a study of violence against women, including wife beating, FGM and early marriages. After 2000, she was involved in other political activities, such as helping to found the Popular Committee in Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which sent supplies to Palestine, the Kefaya movement and Doctors Against Inheritance (referring to the grooming of Gamal Mubarak for the presidency) During the 25 January 2011 uprising, she worked in the field hospitals and clinics, helping victims of state security violence. After the stepping down of Mubarak, she observed the return of state security and an increase in their power. ( en )
General Note:
Funding : Women's Activism in the Arab World (2013-2016). This project, funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, examines the significance of middle-class women's activism to the geo/politics of Arab countries, from national independence until the Arab uprisings. It was based on over 100 personal narratives of women activists of different generations from Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.
General Note:
Interview conducted on: 25 December 2013
General Note:
Duration: 2 hours, 7 minutes and 4 seconds
General Note:
Language of interview: Arabic
General Note:
Audio transcription by Captivate Arabia, Amman, Jordan , info@captivatearabia.com
General Note:
آسيا -- مصر -- القاهرة -- القاهرة
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Pratt, Nicola Christine : URI http://viaf.org/viaf/49147457

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Warwick
Rights Management:
© 2013 the Interviewer and Interviewee. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.

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Full Text
Interview with Magda Adli
2013
TAPE 1
Magda Adli: I was born in Cairo, in Egypt, the Arab Republic of Egypt, in a middle class
neighborhood, for working parents who were both employees, and I'm the second of 5
children, four girls and one boy, I received my entire education in Cairo, I finished high school
then went to the medicine faculty in Al-Azhar, unfortunately because my GDA didn't qualify me
to attend the medicine faculty in Cairo university, and then I did my higher studies in Ain Shams
university, I specialized in anesthesiology and emergency medicine. After that... that's all.
Nicola Pratt: Excuse me, what you did you say you were born?
M. A: I was born in 1953, during Abdul Nasser's rule. So, we grew up with Abdul Nasser's songs,
as we grew up and learned how to talk there were the songs about the unity between Egypt
and Syria in 1958. So, I lived through unity between Egypt and Syria, the 1967 war, the war of
attrition, the 1973 war, etc.
N. P: When you went to university, did you join any groups or any political activities or...
M.A: I've been a political activist since I was 15, years before I went to university. We were a
liberal family and there was no discrimination whatsoever, on the contrary, the girls were
favored over the boy although he was an only boy, as opposed to the Egyptian traditions. So, by
the time I was 15 the Nakba (the 1967 defeat) had happened and the war of attrition began, so
I joined the Youth Organization as an exception due to my young age. The Youth Organization
was the part designated to young people in the political confederation known as the Socialist
Union, as during Abdul Nasser's rule there weren't any political parties, only one confederation
called the Socialist Union which brings together all the forces of the people. During that time
we worked on supporting the internal front as well as traveling to support the soldiers on the
confrontation lines with Israel, and we would provide communication between them and their
families and we would reassure them and bring them small gifts and things like that. In addition
to that we would support internal refugees from Sinai and the canal cities, who fled to the
Capital. So, that was the beginning, during that time I was a Nasserist, "by definition", as at the
time there was nobody but Abdul Nasser talking about making the country rise and there were
social reforms indeed, I wasn't really aware of the democracy complex, so I was a die-hard
Nasserist and most of my family were too. In university after Abdul Nasser died and Al-Sadat
assumed power I started to read more and I started to be more aware of the (inaudible: 3:46)
the democracy complex, especially when Anwar Al-Sadat started to ride the wave of Capitalism,
I wasn't a Socialist yet. So, I started to review the problem that people weren't defending their
rights as they did before, the social and economic rights which they have obtained, so I touched
upon the democracy complex and how the people were not involved anymore in obtaining
their rights. I became closer to Socialists and after that I became a pure Socialist. So, in
university we were a group who shared the same political tendencies and we'd formed a family
inside the university, and since it was Al-Azhar University so they put pressure on us all the
time. But there was a nice female professor who adopted the family; they didn't want to
acknowledge the family officially. So, we did something called "the press hallway" where we
1


posted our wall magazines in which we discussed the issues of the country and the issues of
students and things like that. That was during my first year in university, before the 1973 war. I
joined a training camp, military training as well as training on medical tasks, they only took med
students, we hadn't learned anything yet. So, that was how I supported the front during the
war of attrition and what followed until 1973... in university, after that came the war, I was still
a student, I graduated late, studying medicine takes 7 years and there's an extra year because I
had a general secondary certificate, not a certificate from Al-Azhar, so I studied for 8 years, and
I lost a year because I was running from the police, so it took me 9 years to finish university. Not
only was I on the run, I spent a year in jail so I lost a year, so it took me a long time to finish
university, 10 years or so. In 1973 the activism continued inside the university in addition to the
activism by the major organization, medical activities to support the internal front... but
unfortunately one of the things I can't forget was Al-Sadat's speech announcing ceasefire, after
the gap Deversoir, on that day I was in Qasr Al-Ainy, it's the biggest university hospital in Egypt.
I can't forget the sight of the injured screaming soldiers; they wanted to go back to battle with
their wounds still fresh and after going through surgeries. It was a shock for me personally, and
what made me more shocked was that we agreed to a ceasefire although we were able to go
through unlimited war, we could've liberated all our lands and also liberate Gaza, that has
always been a scar in my heart because Egypt was responsible for Gaza after 1967, I mean
before 1967, sorry, and we lost it when we were defeated in 1967 and I felt that things should
have come back to how they were before 1967. So, the ceasefire during those months and the
level of success we achieved in the war and expecting to reach a settlement on the ground and
that things wouldn't be better, that was tough for me, in addition to the reaction by the
wounded soldiers and officers, they were seriously injured, some of them suffered Napalm
burns... because Israel was using napalm at that time. So, we continued in university to pressure
for negotiation terms, since the beginning, since the ceasefire was announced. And what
followed that of Camp David Treaty which put us all at a high risk. Al-Azhar University is a very
conservative university since it's a Religious institution, so the state security apparatus had
always been in the university in a very clear way, until the 1977 uprising came along, the
popular uprising in 1977, on that same day we had a conference at university on democratic
freedoms. We cancelled the conference as we heard the news in the morning and we joined
the popular protests. The next day the ceasefire happened and I heard they were arresting all
the activists, whether they were students or workers and whatnot, I expected that my name
was on the list so I left the house on the next day, it was January 19th, the uprising was on the
17th or the 18th of January, the next day after the uprising when the army took the streets. So,
I didn't go to university during that period, the universities were closed anyhow because they
were afraid of the students' reaction because there were martyrs. They weren't like the martyrs
of January, they were 41 martyrs. So, I was arrested and as soon as the university opened again
we held an activity, and after that the activities moved from Ain Shams University to all the
universities in Cairo, to commemorate the martyrs of January, it's always January. It's an
auspicious month for us. That was in March, so I was arrested at university and I was charged
with the attempts to overthrow the regime and joining a secret organization and all the rest of
the list of accusations by the state security which is still used until now. I spent 14 or 15 months
in jail, I went to jail on March 14th until April 30th of the next year. So, that was a year lost from
university because while in jail the only course I took was the general health course because it
2


had no "practical" side, all the other courses like obstetrics and whatnot I need to be there to
do "practical work". And, I was sentenced to 3 years in jail, along with other people too, around
20 people were sentenced, half of them 3 years and the other half 10 years. So, I was one of
those who were sentenced to 3 years but I didn't do the rest of the time... I was under
surveillance by the state security all the time even when I was doing my exams... that every new
case for the state security against politicians or socialists and whatnot, I was wanted for
interrogation, so that would impose on me that I would not turn myself in easily, because I
considered that to be an illegal apparatus, that apparatus dedicated to surveillance over the
minds of the people was an illegal apparatus. So, they didn't have the chance to arrest me, they
had arrested me once, one month after my release, I spent a month in jail and then I was
released. They would arrest me on the street, they wouldn't come knocking on my door or take
me from university so easily. So, I was playing cat and mouse with the state security all the
time, so they couldn't catch me although I was charged with 3 cases after that, until I
graduated. After that I worked in the countryside for the first year, I was appointed there, that
was my first experience with the Egyptian countryside, and I was shocked, I was socked because
I hadn't realized the level of poverty and ignorance and the absence of political awareness and
health awareness, and the "basic hygienic issues" in the countryside, and I knew very little
about the countryside before, the beautiful countryside with fields of crops and the tranquility.
So, the first governorate I worked in was Bani Sweif in Upper Egypt, after Giza. It's not
considered very bad yet I was shocked by the level of poverty and I was shocked by the
embodiment of the idea of economic openness contrived by Al-Sadat. Al-Sadat had promised
the people in 1973 that since that was the last war they would live in abundance. Of course, he
could not achieve abundance. In 1974 he formulated the laws of economic openness... during
that period men started to leave the country, so many of the men of the village I worked in
were in Iraq, and some Gulf countries but the main bulk was in Iraq. So women did everything,
they farmed, they bred poultry, they made cheese, made butter and if someone had a cow or
some cattle women would raise them. The level of poverty was so drastic that, in the past
people in the countryside used to make their own bread at home, but they didn't even have
wheat so they were fighting over subsidized bread from the government. It became hard to...
poultry for example, only a few people could raise poultry, most of the people would buy it,
which proves how much capitalism is an ugly abominable thing, and it really crushes people's
lives, these convictions coming from intellectual tendencies and books that are no longer in
practice, loose ideas, and they were embodied on real ground, which caused a huge "gap"
between the level of the few rich people in the Capital... and there were residential towers
built, and what was called "hostelry hospitals", and investment hospitals, and they were
ridiculously expensive, and the level of poverty and ignorance and disease in the countryside.
So, I was more convinced that the society cannot go on living like that, not with this huge gap
between classes at this level, and that the new wave of vicious capitalism which depends on
"core and periphery" this stupid theory, it's done to the advantage of 5% of the world, the
people of earth, while the rest can barely afford their basic needs. So, that made me
determined to follow through with the same approach. If you want to do any "interference"
here, if you want to interfere...
N.P: No, keep talking please.
3


M. A: During that period since before 1977 I had been part of a leftist organization, there were
no political parties back then. Al-Sadat in 1976 did something funny, there were no parties and
he said: I promised you there would be democracy as I promised you there would be
abundance. So, how would we have parties? Okay, the parliament which was made up from
one party since the days of Abdul Nasser would be divided into 3 parts, part left wing, part right
wing, part moderate. The members would be divided into these three blocks, without a clear
law for political parties back then, after that a law was issues stating the parties should accept
all the charters of revolution since 1952, so where is the "difference" between the 3 groups? So
they were (inaudible: 17:52), and then the political parties law came out and they turned into
parties.in 1986 perhaps I tried to work through the Unionist Party... it was the collective leftist
party but at the same time I didn't quite agree with their approach, he brought together
Nasserists and leftists, the leftists too were divided into many groups, they didn't have the
same mindsets, but they were split into groups. This experience lasted for... maybe 5 years,
after that I saw it was useless because the Party was more inclined to have "compromises" with
the state, even in parliamentary elections, it was all about agreements from under the table,
and the party was infiltrated and the leaders knew it was infiltrated and when they ran for
parliamentary elections, I ran for parliamentary elections twice in the 1980s, by that time I had
graduated and finished my assignment period in the countryside and opened a clinic in an area
outside Cairo, an area called Shoubra Al-Khaima, it's a labor area, and I asked to work in the
same area after finishing my assignment, because labor areas are poor areas that need services
and whatnot... So, I opened a clinic there and worked there at the beginning of my career, I
opened a "GP" clinic, "mainly" for internal medicine, pediatrics and gynecology. And I ran for
the elections... the first time I ran on the Unionist Party's list, we had the system of lists back
then, and it wasn't easy, I was running with my own agenda and they wanted me to run with
their agenda so there were problems all the time during that election process. At the end I
found that this was not my ambition, that was not the political party of my dreams, actually I
knew from the beginning that it wasn't the party of my dreams, but it didn't live up to the level
at which I could work with a group of leftist movements without problems, even in the partisan
election, they wanted to minimize the presence of the leftist and have quotas, so there wasn't
"transparency" even in the elections. I ended up leaving the party... and I did "freelance" work.
The leftist groups had started to weaken and many people joined (inaudible 0:21:05.7) he
renounced the socialist theory, and we had learned it from him and he was a role model for us.
So, we started to fall apart without a decision for the membership of the leftist groups, and
they became less in numbers, in addition to the problems themselves that were there, we
would be doing (inaudible 0:21:45.2) work all the time, we weren't allowed to work in groups
as we were not registered as a party, and the political parties law didn't allow us to become a
party anyway according to its article, it was "restricted". So, for some time we had that problem
and people were trying to gather and do something, until it all ended up in nothing, in the
1990s... I can stop now if you like.
N. P: What?
M. A: I'll stop now if you need more information
N. P: In your opinion, the movements in the 1970s and 1980s have failed?
M.A: I don't measure things by success or failure, right or wrong, it's not black and white,
nothing in the world goes to waste without having possible results in the future. If they failed I
4


wouldn't have continued actually, if I felt that way. I feel that any seeds you sow will bear fruit,
even if after a while. The tree takes time to become green. Because in truth, the movement was
very inspirational in the 1970s, the students, the middle class and the workers, all through the
1970s starting from 1972, there was a real movement that joined the popular movement.
When that movement joined the parliamentary election in 1976 it had a massive presence on
the street, it was unbelievable. I think that this was the foundation stone of the 1977 uprising.
But that wasn't gone, the people didn't... I mean, in the 1977 elections the revolutionary and
socialist slogans were dominating the scene, Al-Sadat hadn't listed the help of Islamists yet to
eliminate the Socialist movement. In the 1977 the same slogans were being adopted by the
public, the same slogans we chanted in 1976 during the parliamentary elections, I didn't run for
the elections at the time but I was working with a leftist candidate against a government
candidate, the same slogans that were resonating throughout Egypt. All the people who took
the streets in all the cities were chanting the same slogans, that was a scene from what
happened in January but it was only for a day and a half, because the very next day there was a
curfew until 4:00 o'clock. So, that's a "feedback" (inaudible 0:25:01.7) and the leftist movement
received many blows, we can say that the organizations became less at the movement's level
but at the level of paving the way on the ground, nothing goes to waste. Even the slogans of the
1970s were repeated in 2011 in the January 25th revolution, the same slogans, the same songs
of Shaikh Imam and Ahmad Fouad Negm, those were the songs chanted in Tahrir square. So,
the revolutionary mass, revolutionary sentiment, the songs and the slogans, despite the
passage of time and despite the restrictions on the revolutionary movement, they were still
alive. Not only that, many of the young men and women who were in the revolution were the
children of the 1970s generation. When I look around me I see my daughter and the daughters
of my friends and comrades, we didn't brain-wash them, I didn't "push" my daughter for
example, I showed her all the schools of thought and she was free to choose. But the same
generation was active in the revolution and they are still active now, and in the groups that
were formed against the military and against the Muslim Brotherhood's rule... you find them all
have an automatic "reference" to this house where they were brought up. So, nothing goes to
waste, even the work of organizations, I wanted to talk about that shortly, that when it was
impossible to have a political movement and my friends were establishing Al Nadeem center, I
felt it was something important, because the people who were subjected to torture were too
afraid to do anything, and at the time we had 20 thousand detainees for decades, they have
been in jail for so long, they haven't seen the sun or the outside world for years. So, if you break
the fear barrier and support the victims this might help people to fight for their rights and feel
that there will be others who will defend them. I think that was important and it played a role
in at least paving the way for the public resistance. Mind you that even before this revolution,
since 2000... since 2000 the second Palestinian uprising took place after the Israel broke into Al-
Aqsa Mosque, with horses and soldiers wearing their boots, they violated the sanctity of a
sacred religious shrine which meant they were challenging the feelings of people regardless of
what religion you belong to, but that was very provocative for the Palestinian people who are in
our hearts all the time. The whole people showed solidarity, I can't forget that, we formed
committees and this was the first big thing to be formed during Mubarak's rule. We formed a
committee called the Popular Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People. It started in
Cairo and in a very short period of time it was present in all the Egyptian governorates. It has a
5


political wing and we collected signatures to denounce the aggression and to reiterate the right
of return for the refugees and to stop the building of settlements and whatnot, one of the
petitions was directed to the United Nations and one was directed to the President of the
Republic, there were two petitions, and we collected around 3 or 4 million signatures in 2
months. The other part was the humanitarian support, we sent convoys of medicine and basic
nutritional supplies... the poorest people in the countryside would donate everything they had,
so much that there was a woman who had only a duck and she donated it. She gave it to us
alive; the duck was alive and quacking. She insisted that we take the duck to Palestine. We said
it wouldn't work, she said then sell it and use the money to buy medicine. That was the public
sentiment for the Egyptians back then. This committee kept working for years, we would sent
flour, sugar, rice, medicine, medical supplies, ambulances, so there was an unbelievable public
support indeed. So, from 2000 to 2011, for eleven years there was a movement, that
movement didn't happen "all of a sudden", especially that it is connected to a cause that isn't
exclusively Egyptian and it doesn't have to do with the sustenance of the people, contrary to
that, people were donating from their own sustenance, and yet it found so much solidarity. In
2003 during the invasion of Iraq the same thing happened, there were calls for protests
TAPE 2
Magda Adli: if there was any, and the calling for protests wasn't very open back then, we didn't
have social media websites back then, there were cell phones maybe, or maybe there weren't.
Nonetheless, the call was successful and the state security couldn't intercept it before it
happened, and Tahrir square was full, full to the brink, on the day of the invasion, it was clear
that it was going to happen and we said that in case America invaded Iraq we would be on the
streets on the same day. And we were. We were not just the elites, I don't like that word, "I
don't like to be elite"... and the sit-in in Tahrir continued until dark, and people held protests
the next day, and for security forces to be able to disperse protests the security forces
themselves set a car on fire, they started a fire to frame the protestors for it, the state security
does that sometimes. Of course, the central security forces came out and the fire squad and
whatnot and the violence started, that was the second day after the invasion. That didn't come
from nothing. The next thing was in 2004, immediately, the movement didn't stop after the
invasion of Iraq, or rather since 2000. The solidarity with the Palestinian people continued, even
the committee continued in support of the Palestinian and the Iraqi people, and then it became
the Palestinian, the Iraqi and the Lebanese people. And... so, groups started to forms like Kifaya
movement, which started with people on the "frontline" but included slightly more people than
those who were in the frontlines and it created a movement and established branches in the
professional associations, so we started a group in the medical association, it was called
"doctors against bequeathal" as Kifaya movement was against extension and bequeathal of
power, extending Mubarak's term or bequeathing power. That was the direct activity against
Mubarak's rule on the political level, and that was simultaneous with the economic labor
movement, so there were non-stop movements all the time, since 2005 there have been 2000
movements each year until the revolution, and sit-ins, people would sleep on the street in front
6


of the parliament, men and women, for months, and there was Al-Mahalla strike in 2006 and
2008, which was met by a very violent response from the security forces where people were
killed and many lost their eyes and other things. So, that was the economic labor movement
and it was joined by employee movements, like the employees of real state taxes, in protests
and sit-ins, they had an economic nature, basically, seeking the economic and social rights of
workers, employees and professionals too, because the associations too, like the medical
association formed movements like "Doctors without rights" who defeated the Muslim
Brotherhood in the elections that took place 2 weeks ago, for the first time since the 1980s. So,
there were various non-stop movements, and that wasn't far away from the idea of rejecting
Mubarak's policy, before that there was nothing, not even on the economic level, fear reigned
supreme. Fear of torture and violence and arrests. Something had started to crystalize, it was
that "obvious" to people. That's why I'm telling you that nothing goes to waste, I don't think
that any effort you exert for the sake of the country would be gone with the wind, since the
early 1970s, or maybe before the 1970s as there was a movement but it didn't last for long, I
wasn't part of that movement, it was in 1968, it demanded trials for those who were
responsible for the 1967 defeat. And Jamal Abdul Nasser responded to it by changing
commanders in the army and whatnot. So, nothing goes to waste. Otherwise one would
commit suicide immediately, thinking that their life is of no value... There you go, you're
reminding me of painful things, or not painful, but it's okay.
Nicola Pratt: May I ask, during that period, the 1960s... I mean, the 1980s, did you face any
difficulties when you participated in public activities? Were you distinguished in that field?
M.A: It's hard to describe yourself as distinguished, unless you are (inaudible: 6:40) I'm not
(inaudible: 6:40). I did the best I could. That's it. All the time, the state security forces would be
searching my house, so almost since 1977 I didn't have the family life I used to have before. I
went out of jail only to go back to jail shortly after, and then the state security would want to
arrest me on every occasion so I had to leave the house, after that I left home for good, and
that was hard for my family and it was hard for me too, but I knew I was paying the price for the
choice I made, I felt sad for my parents, because they didn't have a choice, they would rather
make the choice for me, but I was trying to convince them all the time that I had the right to
choose and that they needed to respect that and not to be so worried. So, I did everything I
could, I don't feel that I saved any effort, since the day I joined public work, I was a child, I did as
much as I could, even if it was at the expense of my study, my health, my family. Of course,
thank God my family was social and had us connected with the world since we were young, it
wasn't something exclusive to myself, I won't say I had major fights in the beginning of my life
with my family, on the contrary. They started to worry in 1977, I did all I could do, I didn't leave
university, I didn't leave my work in the hospital, whether on the political or unionist work
level, for the medical association, trying to make a strong professional association that is not
controlled by the government or the Islamist movement who had deals with Anwar Al-Sadat to
eliminate the leftist movement in Egypt, and they supported Al-Sadat in beating us at
universities and professional association and what not, while Sadat helped them in taking over
all the professional associations in Egypt, so the truth is, my choices were clear, I was against
political Islamism, and also against the state's policy which crushes the poor, and where
7


corruption increased every day, and there was no real margin for democracy. And I used to
work wherever I would be, saving no effort, and I was harassed by state security all the time. I
also joined a venter against torture, supporting torture victims, and that was the reason they
broke my arm in 2008, they broke my arm but they didn't break my spirit. Thank God, I'm still
unbreakable, no matter what they do. So, I don't have any feeling of failure, even towards my
family, although there were times when they were exhausted, nor towards my daughter, I was
all the time trying to... sometimes you have to do something at the expense of another but I
compensate for it later. Even in the hospital, the whole time we were working in the operation
room we were having discussions, about doctors' problems, the political situation, the peace
treaty... all the time I was trying to influence change even over those close to me like colleagues
and friends or relatives. I didn't separate my political work from my professional work, I didn't
have that division. So, I think that I wasn't special, there were people who tried all the time, I'm
not better than anyone else. Some people were tired and they had every right to be tired, some
people decided to stop and that's a human right. So, even those who stopped, I'm not better
than them, it's their choice... Did you sleep?
N.P: No... what you're saying is important, I'm learning a lot. I didn't know this before. Can we
go back to the 1990s?
M. A: Let's go back to the 1990s, what happened in the 1990s?
N. P: You joined Al-Nadeem?
M. A: Yes, there was Al-Nadeem. There was Al-Nadeem... Just before that we were still trying to
gather the leftists; we were still trying to unify the leftist groups in one entity, before Al-
Nadeem. But the results weren't that great. The person who started the first period of Al-
Nadeem wasn't me; they were Suzan, Aida and Abdullah. And then Suzan met with me and we
talked so I felt it was something important. But I asked for some time to think, I don't like to
rush my choices because you must be convinced about the price you would pay. Actually, I
didn't want to think because of the price, I had no problem with anything that might happen,
even if I was going to be killed, that wasn't my problem. The problem was a price of a different
kind in my opinion, that if I was consumed by that work, although it's important, but would it be
at the expense of establishing a new political party, would it have an impact if all the leftists
group gave up on building a political movement that is present on the street, would that be at
the expense of the movement or not? That was what I thought of back then. So, I took a
decision, I thought for two weeks and I told them I was in, I agreed. And we started to work in
Al-Nadeem. When we started, there was something like the political parties law which I've
talked about, it was the civil organizations law. It was since 1964, since the days of Abdul
Nasser, the totalitarian regime. That's what we called it because there was no political
pluralism, so the organizations law almost limited us to charity work. And it gave control for the
Ministry of Social Affairs. If there are any Arabic words that are not "clear" I can translate them.
N. P: No, no problem. There's also someone who...
M.A: someone who will do the transcription?
8


N.P: Yes.
M.A: So... what was I saying? The beginning of Al-Nadeem center, right? Yes, so I started
working with my friends who conceived that idea first, they thought of it due to the nature of
their work, they were psychiatrists, the three of them, while my specialty was a bit different, so
they were dealing in the hospitals they worked in with victims of torture who had psychological
issues, and the way the psychiatrist dealt with them was like dealing with any other patient,
they didn't understand that there was any problem, that there was a problem with the ruling
system in the country, and that there was a very private experience after which it was only
logical that people would experience psychological symptoms afterwards, there wasn't enough
of that and the doctors didn't fully grasp the idea of "post-traumatic stress" which resulted
from "trauma" or (inaudible:16:23) or "major crises or whatever". So, they thought there must
be another way of dealing with those victims which depended on a different kind of support,
and on a different understanding of the "context" of torture. So, they made the initiative as
they lived that experience. For me, I was convinced with their idea, in addition to that I had a
personal ambition to break the fear barrier, and to support the victim, not only behind closed
doors but also on the level of society by holding anti-torture campaigns, and that might break
the vicious circle which causes the people to be terrified of the ruling regime's aggression. I
stayed with Al-Nadeem since 1993 until this day. I worked on a program to rehabilitate torture
victims; I studied some psychiatry again, because I had forgotten what I learned in university
(inaudible: 17:41) and my colleagues helped me a lot and I was working with them as a
"psychiatrist" or you might say an assistant, not a psychiatrist, and we started to do other
things in "campaigns" and "publications". I'm not sure if it was in 2008 or when exactly, I can't
remember. Suzan was the "director" so she insisted I be the "director", so I became the
"director" of Al-Nadeem center sometime around 2008, I can't really remember. In 2000 we
started a separate program to support women who survived violence, other than torture cases.
Because there was a large load on the clinic especially with the influx of huge numbers of
Sudanese people as Al-Basheer's regime in Sudan was committing crimes against humanity in
Southern Sudan and Darfur and Al-Nouba, entire villages were wiped out. So, many Sudanese
people fled to Egypt. Many people were subjected to torture, not only those who were fleeing
from war or conflicts. Anyone who was suspected of having tied with a strong tribe, not only
political affiliations, would be tortured. Any woman wearing trousers would be tortured; any
woman who didn't adhere to the Islamic dress code would be tortured. Torture also included
the rape of men and women. As a "low key" (inaudible:19:40), that came at the expense of
having to set priorities, there was pressure and we had a small team, it wasn't easy to find at
that time doctors who would do that service knowing very well that it wouldn't generate an
income for them like that they'd gain if they did "private" work, on the other hand, they would
be confronting the authorities, they had to be "fighters". So, it wasn't easy to find someone like
that, so we had a small team. So, the priority was given to torture victims, there were large
numbers of them, both Egyptians and refugees, at that time there were refugees form Burundi
and Somalia too. So, we decided to create a separate program for women who suffer from
domestic or sexual violence, so that they wouldn't be neglected. And we had increasing
numbers of them, at first there weren't many cases because there was a "taboo" that a woman
can't complain and can't ask for support or divulge family secrets, until around 1994, the first
9


explosion of a women-related issue was in 1994 and then in 1995 there was the Beijing
convention. So, we decided to create a separate program for the support of women. So, I was
specialize in women torture victims, except when there was a major crisis, and we established
the program for women and I was put in charge of it in 2002, we worked together on it, the
four co-founders. And the program set out with female volunteers whom we trained, and part
of the training was on how to know whether the case needs a psychiatrist or just a "counselor".
So, the program offered direct services and direct "empowerment", and they would be filtered
too, so that not all the numbers would be a burden to the psychiatrists. So, the cases which
were found to need more than just "psychological support" or "psychological counsel" were
referred to our colleagues in the clinic which was on the "second floor". And we're still working
since that date on two programs, supporting torture victims and supporting women who
survived violence... during the revolution obviously the nature of our work changed, we had to
become field doctors too, all of us not only me, my colleagues in Al-Nadeem and I were
providing aid to the wounded all the time, so it wasn't only me, that was "state violence" which
was a part of our work, not only that we were with the revolution, professionally speaking, our
work was partly related to torture and partly related to the violence used by the authorities
during protests, state violence. So, until now we keep dealing with wounded people due to the
violations of the general authorities, during protests for example.
N.P: May I ask, with regards to women issues, was that the first time you get involved in this,
through Al-Nadeem? Or you've been involved with women issues and women rights before
that?
M.A: No, actually I've always been interested in women issues, even before I knew there were
human rights treaties, anywhere. As I told you, I was born into a household where there was no
gender discrimination. But when I grew up, when I was still in middle or secondary school, I
found my classmates complaining; telling me how there would be violence against them at
home for example. And that their male brothers were treated differently than them. I found
that one of my relatives, I can call her my aunt, she was complaining about her husband a lot,
so I would take stands all the time, because my family at home gave me the same rights as my
brother, so I wouldn't let anyone interfere with me, and when I saw friends or relatives facing
violence that would make me very angry, so much that I once caused a family problem. My
uncle, my mother's brother, he was at our place and I came home late and he asked me why I
came home late. I love him a lot, but I told him: who gave you the right to ask? My parents are
alive and they don't ask me this question. I was young, in high school. My parents didn't
comment or tell me I was being rude, as they felt I was right, it was nobody's business. He was
upset and he didn't visit us for years after that. So, from the beginning I thought that... just like
that, "spontaneously", or by accident, due to my upbringing, that this should not be the case,
and that nobody should beat anybody. I was beaten only once in school, with a stick. I was in
the fifth grade, I was 11 years old. And for something that had nothing to do with lessons or
classes. The teacher wanted money to make decorations for the classroom, I said I wouldn't
pay, it's our classroom and we should decorate however we want, not like you want, you're just
one teacher; we have 5 or 6 courses. So, she insisted on hitting me, she ordered me to stick my
hand out so she would hit me with a stick and I said no. She had no right to hit me. My mother
10


was a teacher at the same school, I didn't tell her. So, she hit me with the stick on my leg. So,
automatically and due to my upbringing I said: Sorry, but I won't attend your class. There was
no such thing as deciding not to attend a certain class. Not this class or ay other class at all. I
went to the school principal's office, it was a public school, not a private school, and I told her
that the said teacher had hit me for those reasons. The only right I demanded was not
attending her class till the end of the year. She said she could apologize to me but I said
"never", she said she could send for my mother, I said the issue didn't concern my mother, it
concerned me. And for the rest of the year whenever I saw that teacher I would not say good
morning, I didn't attend her class, and to solve the issue they would open the library for me and
I would sit there and read, just me, all alone. So, we didn't have the concept of anyone beating
anyone else, my mother has never beaten anyone. The most severe form of punishment was
giving us the look, that look was very powerful, it hurt so much. But there was no "verbal
abuse" or "beating", nothing of the sort. So, I would feel weird when I heard those things and I
would say that nobody has the right to do such a thing. Simply like that. The issue intensified as
we grew up, and when we went to university groups were formed and there were discussions
about it, even outside university, even in leftist groups I would see a woman abused by her
colleague or friend or husband for example. So, I would go discuss the issue in a group and the
colleague would be expelled, he would be expelled. The person who doesn't consider human
beings to be equal then his conviction that people have the right not to be subjected to
violence is fake. Some people considered that dismissible, that we should not evaluate our
colleagues based on their psychological side, but I used to say the psychological structure of the
person is very important because if you don't have a sound psychological structure then you
can't deal with others in a fair and sound way. And they wouldn't follow through. And that's
what happened in that case, that person didn't stay with us. Or, the huge complex on the issue
of religion, especially after the big defeat of the Soviet Union, with themselves. My uncle went
to Saudi Arabia for 10 years to make some money, so he was turned into a terrorist. So, I saw
early on that things can't go on like that, you can't refuse state violence if you are practicing it,
or if I'm an accomplice in it, even if it was perpetrated by those closest to me, or by my friends,
or by my colleagues, and I am concerned with the structure of the Party, but this doesn't work.
So, this is how things were. After that in secondary school and later on when I went to
university I started to read the books of Nawal Al-Sadawi
TAPE 3
Magda Adli: And I read for some of the leaders in the history of the feminist movement, more, I
hadn't been involved with Al-Nadeem yet. And... it wasn't until 1994 when we did the first
research at AL-Nadeem, it was the first research of its kind in Egypt, Al-Nadeem conducted it in
cooperation with New Woman, which is a foundation that's still there today. As a prelude to
Beijing Conference, a big conference was held in Cairo in 1994, and at the same time we
conducted the first research on violence against women, all forms of violence, beating, "sexual
violence", everything, like FGM (Female genital mutilation), it was a little "survey", a small
11


sample, around 500 women and 100 men. So, the results were shocking, because there hadn't
been any data before that. It was shocking because we found in the results of the research for
example that almost 42% of women, as far as I remember, has been beaten during their lives,
at least. One third of the sample were beaten while "pregnant". One third of the sample had
university or higher education degrees. "Masters or"... So, the issue wasn't limited any more to
the cases you chance upon, it's a big issue. The FGM was 98%, we took the simplified sample
from 12 year-olds for example, the result was shocking. We presented some inputs in the
conference in Cairo and after that we worked hard, CNN had also done a documentation of the
case of FGM of a young girl and a men's barber, who performs FGM himself, in Egypt
(inaudible: 02:38) that was shocking too. So, we piggy-backed on those results and conducted
the research. There was an unprecedented attack on all of us, all of the feminist groups who
weren't many at that time. We were 3 or 4. They likened us to "prostitutes" and that our goal
was to break families, and that we were anti-lslam because we talked about men beating their
women and there's an idea called guardianship in Islam, the way they understand Islam, so the
newspapers started attacking us, not only the state, Al-Azhar and many backward people
adopting the religious discourse in their own way. The research was presented in Beijing and
that "stimulated" the state to conduct a "survey". So a "national survey" was conducted and the
sample was around 25 thousands, and it came back with the same results of the small sample.
Mind you that we still didn't have independent newspapers back then. There were only
government newspapers and partisan newspapers. Few of them were supporting us with
regards to the torture cases or women issues. "Mainly" the partisan newspapers, the
government used to attack human rights organizations all the time, whether they dealt with
human rights in general or torture or women and whatnot. Those days there were no cell
phones, no satellite channels, all TV stations were state-owned, radio stations were state-
owned, so even when I had an interview on the radio they wouldn't let me talk about sexual
harassment, or to talk about the cases I saw in the center of "sexual assaults" by family
members, which is called incest, or by a relative of the family. We talked about beating; the first
taboo to be addressed was beating wives. It was hard to talk about anything else, even talking
about FGM was hard. But also when we started the research I became more interested to read
about women issues in Egypt which I could be familiar with and the numbers would put it in the
right perspective. But I also started to see the larger scope, on the regional and international
level, etc. Besides, when you're in a human rights organization that opens doors for you for
experimentation and many workshops on a lot of issues that could support your personal
growth in human rights, but as I told you I was a "feminist" by definition, as the you gain more
information as you grow up, you deal with more people and you travel outside and inside
Egypt, on the regional level, so it's not just about "attitude" it's also about how much
"information" you have about a certain issue. I won the Amnesty International award for
working in the field of women, the 2014 award, and I was among the people they choose for
the UN's counseling office for women issues on the level of the "region", so that's related to my
work on women's issues.
Nicola Pratt: Congratulations
12


M. A: Thanks. But I'll tell you something that doesn't necessarily have to go on record... what
else do you want to know? We spoke about women issues.
N. P: May I ask about the relation between Al-Nadeem and the state, how was the relation?
M.A: I think they hate us more than anyone else. For example, when Mubarak was in America
once and he was asked about human rights, he said that the organizations were fine wouldn't
be dissolved, back then he was planning to issue a new law to put more restrictions on us. Or I'll
tell you the specific reason later on. So, he said we only had 3 centers that were causing
trouble, and we were the first of them. Okay? They raided the center in 2004 and tried to shut
it down, but they failed. We filed a lawsuit. They came under the cover of an inspection by the
Ministry of Health, because we had a psychiatry clinic, but it was obvious that it was an
inspection by the state security apparatus, we have a long experience with them. They came in
at a time before the clinic was opened, and they searched all the drawers, even the personal
desk drawers, they searched the files, there was a sofa, they lifted up its cushions, they took
photographs of the files and whatnot. They asked questions like: you're a clinic, what business
do you have to do with torture? What business do you have to do with prisoners' rights? And
things like that. We hadn't rented this apartment yet so the files were there. What business do
you have with harassment? Things like that. They said: you're a human rights organization, not
a clinic, you will be shut down. And then they picked at clinic rules, asking about a fire
extinguisher. We had a fire extinguisher but they said there wasn't. So, we filed a lawsuit,
because we had "clients" present there, some of them "refugees" and still in the stage of
emotional pain, and that gave them "flashbacks" indeed. So, we objected to that. That was
harmful to our clients. In the end, nothing happened in the lawsuit. They filed a lawsuit and we
filed a lawsuit and both were closed. Things like that happen a lot, even if there are foreigners
in the center there would be state security officers standing downstairs. If there is a press
conference the street would be surrounded. Once we had a press conference, as we celebrate
the 26th of June every year, the international day for solidarity with torture victims. And an
officer came in, he knocked on the door wanting to come in, so I opened the door to him and
said: you are paid a lot of money to watch and report, so go stand downstairs in the sun for the
money you get paid, you won't get any information for free, you may stand in the sun all you
want, but you're not going inside this center. So, I didn't let him in. I told him he could come in
by force if he dared. A similar case happened right after the revolution, or during the 18 days of
the revolution. They raided Hisham Mubarak's center and then they came to us on the same
day, but we didn't let them in, because there were patients sleeping inside and the medical
clinic was open. We did have injured people indeed, as we would bring the people who were
injured on Ramsis street to our center for treatment. So we didn't let them in, in between the
two incidents in 2008, we were in a city near Alexandria called Kafr Al-Dawwar. There was a
family, I might have told you this story before, a father and his three sons were attacked and
they stripped one of them off his clothes on the street and dragged him, and he went to the
police station stark naked, "completely bare", and they were subjected to torture, cigarette
butts were put out on their skin, the father and the sons were beaten and one of them had his
arm broken, in addition to marks left on them by being dragged on the street, the lacerations
and things like that. So, I was with them and there was a court session on the next day. First I
13


went to the family house and saw the damage that was done to it, I documented the
statements of witnesses and then I went and visited them. I saw the injuries... I had took photos
of the clothes on the street and things like that, and when we went back to Cairo at night I
made large versions of the photos. There was a session to renew their detention on the next
day, so I went to the court with Dr. Muna, our colleague in the center, a psychiatrist. People
asked us to go to the village again, so we went the next day to the court and I took the clothes
with me, which had blood and dirt for the street, and which were torn, because they were
accused of assaulting the police, so I used the torn bloody clothes as an evidence as to who
assaulted whom. Was it the people or the police? Who's the criminal here? So, I took the
photos and attended the session. So, we were attacked. Muna had a car; I don't have a car, so
we went by Muna's car. When we came out we found that they had torn the car tires apart, all
four of them, they were torn by knife, and they broke the mirrors, they thought we would need
to stay in Kafr Al-Dawwar overnight so that they could eliminate us. A thug would kill us or
something. I was hit on the head as I was coming out of the session so I fell down and broke my
"left shoulder", as I fell on the pavement. And I had severe bruises all over the left side of my
body; I still have a 25% "disability" in my shoulder. Several parts of it were fractured. The
intelligence agent ran away and framed the police officer for it, the one who was there. So, this
happens all the time. Just last Thursday, there was a raid on Al-Masry center, I don't know if
you were in Cairo at the time... last Thursday.
N.P: Last Thursday?
M.A: Yes. Al-Masry center, this is always used as a warning, because in fact the human rights
organizations have the loudest voice and they have credibility on the regional and international
levels as well as the local level to a great extent until smear campaign against them start in TV
shows and playing on the idea of foreign funding and that these people right reports and
handed to the Americans for money and the European Union, depending on what country they
want to attack, and so on. So there has been a systemized attack since dispersing the sit-in in
Rab'a on certain organizations which denounced the killing of so many people while dispersing
the sit-in, i.e. the use of excessive violence, and violating the law of dispersing protests and sit-
ins. So, there has been an attack which started a while ago through newspapers and TV stations
even satellite channels, unfortunately, after June 30th there's a situation that anyone who
doesn't acknowledge Sisi as a president is considered an enemy. As a matter of fact we've
always been against the military rule and against the Islamist rule, both of them. But when
there are human rights violations regardless of who the perpetrators are, we take the side of
the victims against the criminals, it's that simple really, yet it's being distorted. From both sides.
There has been severe political polarization after the Authorization OF Sisi on July 3rd. So,
there's an attack from all sides and these are the prelude to the coming "punch". They started
with the center itself, maybe because Ahmad Adel is wanted, so it was a message to everyone,
and maybe because Khaled Ali was planning to run for elections again, and they wanted to put
him out of the presidential race. But these are usually the first tidings. So, we are waiting, it's
very probable, we and the other human rights organizations, of which there aren't so many in
Egypt who could be targeted, some organizations are measuring their steps, while others are
very straight, the straight ones are usually disliked by the regimes because most of the
14


violations are perpetrated by the regime, as it represents the state and it owns the tools and
devices of oppressions more than anyone else, so you can't be nice to them, and all the time,
the state security has always called us trying to form ties with us, but we would never allow
that, they would ask to come for a cup of tea, but "never", if we are arrested then "it is
obligatory", but we would never do it of our own accord. So, there would be restrictions on us
in conferences, to hold a conference on women issues, after we make reservations at a hotel
the hotel would return the money and say they didn't get the security clearance. After the
revolution things weren't so strict and we had lots of space. After the ministry of interior
regained its power the state would bother us, as they changed the names but their policies
remained the same, this happened, and it wasn't something related to torture, it was the 23rd
of November and we were celebrating the International day against violence against women,
we had an event, there was a conference and we were launching a research on "early
marriage", and we've made a documentary on that phenomenon and how wide-spread it is in
rural areas and how much women trafficking and violence against women in its different forms
are going on there. So, this issue is a direct blow to the state policies, although we hold the
state responsible for the violence after all as they had to protect all citizens and enforce the law
which states that no girl can be married at 14, but at least we're not talking about murder. After
we reserved the hotel the hotel cancelled and told us to get a clearance from state security and
we said that we would not contact the state security. So, we held a conference at the press
association. Thankfully, the press association's doors are still open for conferences of this kind.
Or even for torture cases, their doors are always open for us; I pray to God things will stay this
way. So, we couldn't hold the conference in the hotel and we usually don't like to hold our
"events" in hotels, it's provocative, but many people came from the governorates take part in
the research because it was applied to 16 governorates, both urban and rural. So, the
organizations that took part in the research and applied it with us must attend the "event", so
to make things easier for them we decided that the venue would be in the same place where
they would be staying. So, the state security didn't like that as it was a conference related to
women, it was titled "early marriage in Egypt". They asked for a copy of the film, a film about
early marriage, the hotel aid that, that the state security wanted a copy of the film, and that if
we didn't send them a copy they would send them one. So, we cancelled the reservation. Even
the guests who were coming from other governorates, we refused that they would stay in that
same hotel. We made reservations for them at another hotel and held the conference in the
press association. So, there are always ridiculous situations like this, either be our friends or we
will harass you, harass us! Harass us and we would tell everyone what you do, and that's it.
N.P: That happened last month?
M. A: Yes, last month. November 2013.
N. P: Is there... can you file a lawsuit against the hotel or...
M.A: No, we have no documents. All of that exchange was oral. All of that was oral, the best
thing we could do was that I gave the sales representative in the hotel a lecture about the dying
conferences tourism in Egypt due to the interference by the state, and that it was their loss
really as they say there is no tourism and no income from tourism, and that they were firing
15


their employees because of that. Some countries took over conferences tourism because there
is no interference of that kind. You could compensate for the recreational or cultural tourists,
but not conferences tourism, there should not be so much interference in every little detail, in a
workshop or a conference or a training course or whatnot. I told them it was their loss and that
they were idiots, "stupid", and after all it would be their loss. There can't be tourism and a
significant source of domestic income with interference by the state asking questions like who
are the foreigners and what are their names. It can't be, and they are not harming us, they are
harming themselves and harming the tourism in the country. I had invited Arab guests, and
they would go and say that the state security refused so we had to stay elsewhere, who would
come here again? If an Arab country working with us... we had two members from the Arab
network working with us, both women, they wanted to hold the conference here or the annual
meeting, most Arab countries are part of the network. How would they come to Egypt when
Egypt is doing this? So, that's the most we could do, to tell them they were losing, also with
regards to the hotel's income, there must be an internal policy for the hotel to decide what's
allowed and what's not. But they didn't sign any document; they wouldn't give us a document
saying that the state security said no. Even when state security forces attack they have no
names and the law states that the punishment should be personalized. You have to know the
name of the person, even if it's a case of beating or torture. We don't' know their names,
because there's always (inaudible: 25:55). They don't give you their names. Many people get
away with torture because people are "blindfolded" and the names of the officers are
unknown. So, if you proved that you were tortured through evidence you would get a civil
financial compensation, but the officer responsible for it wouldn't go to jail. In rare cases, rare
cases, perhaps two cases, Bilal's case who died of torture, it happened during Mursi's rule, Bilal
was an Islamist. And another torture case where the names were revealed and they reached
the state security, during Mursi's rule, the rest of the case against people were taboos, even
after the revolution. That's why the revolutionaries attacked the state security because it was
the biggest tool of oppression, as well as the intelligence agents, and because they wanted the
truth, many people "disappeared" and their whereabouts are unknown. It was revealed that
there was a graveyard in the state security building, when the building in Nasr city was raided.
So, how would you prove that?... we do what we can but there's a "lobby against us"... until we
have democracy, with God's will. And when we have freedom of expression and whatnot, when
these are not just articles in the constitution, it has to be "applied", implemented.
N.P: is the state security always this strong? Or is there...
M.A: Sometimes? Is there excessive oppression? I'll tell you, during Mubarak's rule even the
people who broke into the premises of the state security, and the statements made by people
in the governorates and everywhere, one of them is me personally, the state security is present
everywhere in Egypt and they have snitches. Even in primary schools, they have snitches. If a
quarrel happened between two teachers, one Muslim and the other "Christian", the state
security would interfere. They have files for almost all these citizens, the teachers, the
employees, the people who are involved in politics, in public work, those who don't work, the
relatives of those involved in politics. So, Egyptians have a saying which expresses their fear:
"walls have ears". "You know, the wall has ears". So, there are always spies for state security.
16


You see? And the bigger files are for those who are involved in public work, but even their
second or third relatives could have files too. Let's not talk about me, my nephew... my name
isn't supposed to be mentions, I've always been an "activist", okay? I have a history with state
security and "it's okay", when my nephew applied for the military academy, for the army, but
they turned him down, they said: your aunt is so and so, she's married to so and so... he's not
even my son, his father has nothing to do with politics, the only one on the family who doesn't
talk about politics at all. So, neither his father nor his mother, have anything to do with public
work, not social nor professional work, only their jobs. And yet, he was denied admission to the
faculty he wanted to attend. He wanted to be a military officer. So, in state security and military
intelligence and whatnot the files include everyone, you see? And there are discriminative and
oppressive procedures taken against people who didn't choose to be...
TAPE 4
Magda Adli: so, that was during Mubarak's rule. Of course, there was a violent reaction in
January against police stations, as the most torture took place in police stations and in the state
security headquarters and those were the biggest targets of the revolution because there was a
huge public outrage against their condemned practices. And there were a huge attack on these
places especially with regards to the files kept by the state security, as there were indeed files
for certain nurseries or certain organizations or certain schools and so on. Even on TV when
they host someone from state security they describe him for example as the person in charge
of universities, or the person in charge of religious universities, or the person in charge of leftist
groups, or the person in charge of Egyptian files, and so on. So, it's like an octopus whose
tentacles spread in all directions. And even while combatting terrorism in the 1990s, from the
late 1980s till 1997 there were terrorist attacks like the ones we see now, the most famous of
which was the Hatshepsut massacre in Deir Al Ba hri in Luxor. Anyone with a beard was
considered a terrorist, and they were arrested for renewed periods, i.e. the person would by
court and then their arrest order would be renewed, they would never see the sun, that's why
people describe them as being "beyond the son", they wouldn't see the sun. They would forge
orders, for example if the court sentenced a person to be detained until the 15th they issue a
new order on the 14th, so the person is sent back to jail, until the number amounted to 15
thousand detainees, both political and criminal. It was a mess... do you want to wait until the
call to prayer is finished? Because the sound is loud...
Nicola Pratt: Okay.
M.A: So, the state security had a file for almost every school. Every hospital had a file, very
public department had a file. Every "individual activist" or someone who had a relative who was
an "activist" had a file. That was interrupted during the revolution because the public outrage
was directed to police stations and the state security as we said. To them as well as the ministry
of interior; because they were nurtured in the course of 30 years under Mubarak's rule, that
they were an invincible god or superpower who can crush the whole nation. But then the touch
of violence was passed to Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, AKA the military police, who
17


undertook the task of challenging the protestors and people in sit-ins and arresting girls from
the square and subjecting them to virginity tests and all that. After that the ministry of interior
started getting back sheepishly in late May - early June 2011, which means they barely
operated, some police stations opened, others were still burned, even the traffic police who
organized traffic, they would be standing there like wallpaper, people were making fun of them,
and they didn't respond rudely as they did before. The traffic police used to impose taxes on
people, forcing the people on the street to pay them money, especially the drivers of
microbuses and whatnot, in exchange of not giving them a ticket, that used to happen on daily
basis, that was the biggest violation by the traffic police, except when an officer attacked a
citizen for refusing to pay, or got into a quarrel and humiliating the citizen, so things would
escalate into a brawl and things like that. During that time, the ministry of interior as well as
SCAF or the military police were present on the street, they didn't leave the ministry of interior
on their own, until the events of Muhammad Mahmoud, the first one, there were two
massacres at Muhammad Mahmoud, in 2011 and 2012. The ministry of interior gained more
influence. After that came back the state security apparatus, the name was changed from state
security to national security, that's how they responded to the revolution, they changed the
name. And the slogan of the police was changed, "the slogan", instead of "the police and the
people are at the service of the country" it became "the police is at the service of the people",
that's how it was a long time ago, but it changed in Mubarak's days, they might as well have
said "at Mubarak's service", but since the country is Mubarak it became "the police is at the
service of the country". So, by the end of 2011 the slogan was changed again to "at the service
of the people", as if saying: "we will torture you instead of letting you e tortured by someone
else; we're at your service". The state security started trying to find their way back slowly, and
their influence started to increase after the officials including the director of state security were
acquitted in court, he was arrested with Habib Al-Adli during the events of the revolution. And
they were all acquitted. The head of the apparatus Hassan Abdul Rahman was acquitted, and
they filed lawsuits to get back in their positions and some of them won of course, since they
were acquitted of the criminal charges of killing protestors, so that give them a morale boost
and lifted up their spirits, thankfully, and things were back the way they used to be. That's a
matter of old habits dying hard. So, they were old back to their old habits. The important test
was what happened in the hotel and what happened when the Egyptians Center was raided,
most of those involved were from the state security... so, all is good. Of course, the rest of
prominent officials in Mubarak's regime were acquitted too, the only ones left are... Ala'a and
Gamal are going to be acquitted, they are not facing criminal but corruption charges, so they
would be acquitted just like they were acquitted in the "Pilots' land" trial. Ahmad Shafiq too of
course, his case was "the pilots' land" which was (inaudible 07:51) and he was acquitted, so he
can run for the presidential elections, and there are support campaigns for him on social media
now. They are called "Mubarak's men" who didn't disappear out of the scene completely after
the revolution, many of them were appointed in ministries, since Sharaf's government and until
this day. So, the state security is regaining its status, and this is in fact the game that was played
by SCAF since the beginning, that the revolution would get rid of the head of the regime but it
will keep its components. They weren't protecting the people for the sake of God, they were
there during the battle of the camels, there was footage proving they were there and they let
the attackers get in with their camels and horses to beat the protesters in Tahrir square, on the
18


2nd and the 3rd of February. So, that's was it, and there was no political power - as the political,
partisan and professional life had been shattered- that was qualified to form a real civil
presidential council. So, Tantawi and SCAF did the math that they would keep the regime and
its foundations, the economic, the political, and everything. And we still have that conflict,
because we're still in a transitional period with various disturbances and strikes. One of the
main things was that they were against political Islamism as the only organized power with
Obama's blessings of course, because he's as smart as SCAF, that is to say just as stupid... they
play all the time on the issue of political Islamist movements which is a stupid game, and
Obama didn't learn his lesson, he didn't learn that the Americans went through a bitter
experience in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, and that the American youth were thrown into a
cause they had nothing to do with. Young men can die defending their country, but why would
they die in a foreign land for a cause that is not theirs? It's insane, not only to Egypt but also to
Americans. Why? But he doesn't learn, he is like Bush, I thought he would adopt the same
policy but would play it more cleverly, since the day he became president, I wasn't one of the
people who were happy that Obama assumed office, I have interviews with the German
Television on the day he won, I told them that America isn't the Middle East, the president
controls the situation; there is a policy for the state, but some play it stupidly while others play
it cleverly. Bush Junior played it stupidly, because he really has limited intelligence, and he is
reckless, and maybe Obama would play the same "game" because Israel is his first priority, the
region for him and guarding the American interests depend on the existence of Israel in the
Middle East. But I didn't imagine that he would be at this level of stupidity. So, he backed
political Islamism and he still does. Even the limited times he retreated were the result of his
doubting whether he backed the winning horse or not. Not the interests of the region or the
interests of the Egyptian people, maybe here in the questions in the paper there is something
about the American role, the American role has never worked for the interests of the peoples.
Never. They have never taken into consideration the human rights agenda or the women rights
agenda, never. And whenever the political agenda clashes with the rights agenda, the political
agenda prevails. And all the tours Condoleezza Rice used to make in Mubarak's days regarding
the issue of democracy, with promises that they needed the Egyptian airspace to strike Iraq, all
which diminished with pressures for democracy. They wanted Mubarak to stay to keep the
stability of the region, they didn't understand that Mubarak was the reason of the domestic
unrests that could happen, their vision is so limited. So, they created a show about democracy
and women rights and whatnot, and human rights, but when they needed the oil of Iraq the
Democracy agenda was developed and they supported Mubarak again and Ms. Rice made less
tours in the region. All during Mubarak's term, in fact, and things are still the same and he is
doing the math, how to change the region in order to guard his personal interests and Israel's
interests, which he calls "peace" but there is really no peace in that sense, there's nothing
called peace and the Arab country which is a part of us, Egyptians in particular, Palestine, there
is an apartheid wall and settlements and refugees denied the right of return and there is Gaza
which is under siege all the time with no gas or food or medical materials, so there's no such
thing as peace, what kind of peace is it that denies the rights of the indigenous people of the
region? This is their land, even if people gave in to reality and a second generation came. Then
let's live in one united secular country. How could they kill half the people, what kind of peace
is that? I'm against this policy and I consider this mere pretense, whether it was regarding
19


women rights or anything else, it's pretense, and I don't accept "double measures", as I told my
colleagues before, he who hits his wife cannot defend the people, either you really believe in
every person' right on this earth, not only Americans and Israelis, everyone on earth, to have
their dignity and not to be killed in an unjust war, be it a civil war or an international war, like
what happened in Iraq and what is happening in Syria, anywhere, or just stop talking, it's better
that you keep silent, because this kind of people doesn't have credibility. Women around the
world, in Egypt and elsewhere, can fight together for their rights. In Europe and America,
American women without Obama, American feminists, European feminists, Asian feminists,
African feminists, we can do that, we don't need your pretentious interventions... this is meant
to go on the record, I don't have any problem with the American administration hearing this,
even if I visited the States again and visited Amnesty next year, whether they will let me into
the country or not. "I don't mind"... shall I remind you?
N.P: Can we talk about the revolution in the end of this interview?
M. A: Let's talk about the revolution in the end of this interview. We've been talking for more
than two hours?
N. P: Yes
M. A: "2 hours", okay.
N. P: We can stop now if you have something else to do
M. A: No, I just had a "client" and I let Amani handle it, I took a leave so she took care of the
client.
N. P: Go ahead
M. A: And, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006 I traveled with Suzan and we stayed for
10 days in Lebanon with a fellow center in the Torture Victims Network (Aman) which is a part
of IRCD, or the "MENA region". We held training for the volunteers in the center, and we held a
qualification program for teachers in the South before schools opened. And we visited the
families and visited almost all the villages in Southern Lebanon, we held qualifying courses for
psychologists and social workers to deal with war trauma, for both children and adults... during
the civil war Suzan happened to be in Lebanon.
N. P: I hope I'll get to talk to her.
M. A: But she stopped coming, she has a problem... "her knee joint needs replacement". She's
on a leave now. Do you want to talk about the revolution? What do you want to know about
the revolution? We spoke a little bit about the revolution and how SCAF played it.
N. P: Do you want to say something else about your role in the revolution or your feelings?
M.A: No, I don't really have anything important to add, especially that... we talked about the
preliminary role but as for the direct role, there were very few times when I acted as a
revolutionary myself, I didn't practice that right except for very limited periods of time, my
professional role compelled me to be a doctor, so I was all the time either in Al-Nadeem center
or in the field hospital, there were hospitals in Tahrir square. So, my professional role kept me
from being in the square most of the time to chant and feel those special moments which I've
been dreaming of for years. It was a frustrating role, or rather painful not frustrating, due to all
the injuries and serious injuries we had to see all the time on the roads and sidewalks, and
that's too because the ambulances especially in the 18-day period would take the wounded
people and arrest them instead of taking them to hospital; so we had to treat most of them on
the street except serious injuries which we transferred in our own cars. So, January 28th and
20


February 2nd were days that are very hard to forget; because wounded people were standing
in lines, and people were sleeping on the streets surrounding the hospitals, and as a doctor you
had to work in that atmosphere, there was no guarantee for "sterilization" or whatnot, the only
thing that lifted up our spirits was the people, even those suffering severe fractures, we would
give them temporary fixation for their legs and they would want to walk with that temporary
fixation which could have been done with a stick or a piece of cardboard from the street. We
didn't have enough gypsum available to fix the leg until we could get to a hospital. And they
wanted to go back to the square, even young children. I was treating a child with a broken arm,
he yelled at me: "Hurry up, I want to go back, you're taking so much time". He wanted me to fix
his leg quickly, he didn't care about the pain of the fracture which is "very severe" for a 14 year-
old boy, so that he could go back to the square. So, as soon as their injuries settled down a bit,
in no more than 15 or 30 minutes they would be back in the square, and I couldn't practice that
role myself a lot... I wanted to do that but I didn't have much time to do it, I managed to do it
during the other days when there was less violence, so I could go to the square for some time,
but on the days which witnessed major calamities and a lot of victims, I had to give priority to
my humanitarian duty over the revolutionary one. One of the days I cannot forget in this
revolution were the events of Maspero. I will never ever forgive SCAF for that, I saw the severe
pain of victims in every incident which happened every month, but the events of Maspero left a
deeper car, especially for those who were crushed to death by armored vehicles. I attended
autopsies, the coroner's office here isn't independent, and in many cases such as Khaled
Saeed's case where there were inaccurate examinations, so we attended the autopsies. I
attended the autopsies of Maspero and it's too hard to forget or forgive, for the people who
were leveled with the ground by the army's armored vehicles, to tell the truth. And whatever is
said now about the people's relation with SCAF and having political Islamism as a common
enemy, there is SCAF and military police, there is Hamdi Badeen who did this to Egyptian
Christians. He crushed them with armored vehicles. There are things that cannot be forgotten
and transitional justice must be done one day and all the crimes that were committed since the
beginning of Mubarak's regime until the day transitional justice is served, with a real
revolutionary government. Nobody would be suppressed... in order for a public reconciliation
to happen too, and to turn a new page for real, people must settle the matters of blood. This
bloodshed was caused by Tantawi and Anan, This bloodshed was caused by Hamdi Badeen, This
bloodshed was caused by Mursi, This bloodshed was caused by Biblawi's government, all this
blood is the same. The right of everyone who died, and the right of everyone who lost their
eyes or legs or was crippled, or suffered "any disability" or was tortured, even the
"discrimination" against Copts or women, all these are crimes all the same, including the
"gender gap" between men and women which we're still living, these are crimes, all of this
must be brought to justice one day, transitional justice isn't only for those who lost their lives.
So, an "discrimination" that took place based on gender or color or social class, that half the
nation is under the line of poverty, and they might not be able to afford food for themselves or
their children, there is no income, no roof to protect them from sun or rain, these are crimes
against these people, these must be brought to justice, even these, so that we can say that our
revolution is really successful. I'm not saying that we failed yet, but when we have this kind of
justice, to obtain the rights of the poor and the wounded and those who were assaulted by any
state apparatus, to obtain the rights of the women who suffered injustice in this country, not in
21


political participation, actually this is the last thing on the agenda, those who are beaten or
raped or harassed or those who die from trafficking, those who are forced to sell their girls to
Arabs, all these are crimes which will we brought to justice one day. If this book "will be
published in English" it's important to send a message to the West and the American
administration and the American people too, that nobody should be in a rush to see stability in
Egypt, this won't happen overnight. Before the revolution there was this level of oppression in
Egypt, which we talked about. There was the level of political brainwashing which we talked
about, there weren't any fully prepared powers, there weren't real parties, these people who
revolted need time to get back on their feet an organize themselves in parties, and to be able to
form a revolutionary government which will avenge the rights of all the people living in this
country, this really takes time. We will not win by a knock out strike, the Middle East is a
politically brainwashed nation and the West and America were an accomplice in this
brainwashing. So, they need to know very well that there is a country being built again. And to
be built again it needs time. The French revolution needed a long time to achieve its goals,
chaos reigned for a long time, and murders and executions continued for a long time, and
scaffolds. It's true that we have a tough, bumpy road ahead of us, but we will reach our
destination, there are many sacrifices that still have to be made. We still have a steep price to
pay, until we get rid of a political regime as a whole, not only X and Y of its men. A political
regime as a whole with its economic and political principles and its foreign relations and
everything. So, don't rush us, don't worry about your interests, and don't make "compromises"
at our expense. If anyone can support us with a kind word then they are welcome, we are not
asking for anything more than that. If you have nothing good to say then it's better to keep
silent. That's it. I exhausted you, I talk a lot.
N.P: Last question...
M. A: We're talking about 60 years of my life.
N. P: Last question, now under these hard circumstances, why is it important for you to continue
working in the public field?
M.A: I have no choice. First, I was born like this, I never lived for myself, so the public concern is
a part of my being. When I meet someone who can't afford to eat, I can't eat when I go home. I
feel guilty to eat while others are not eating. God created me like this, ask God... the patriotic
and humanitarian sense is something endowed by God. That's how God created me; I can't live
any other way. If I wanted to do something lucrative and be a "very famous" doctor with a villa,
a car and a building, I would've done that when I was young. Not when I'm 60, and if my main
concern was "to gain money" but that is not my concern, (inaudible: 30:38) I don't own an
apartment or a car and I have no cash in the bank. And I don't care at all. I couldn't care less if I
bought new clothes or not. I don't care, what I care about
TAPE 5
Magda Adli: is whether I have a clear conscience or not, whether there are people who need
me or not. People are still in need. Yes, people are still tortured. Yes, people are still dying from
torture and by bullets. Yes, there is still excessive use of violence in protests. Yes, people still
22


can't afford their daily bread. Yes, women are still being beaten and raped. We almost made no
progress in all the "issues" which I am personally concerned about. This public concern is my
personal concern. I have no choice. So, I wish one day I would be concerned with cats' rights
because human rights will have been 100% fulfilled and everyone is fine all over the world, in
Egypt and in Palestine, and in Europe and in Africa, no famines. Then I would die with a clear
conscience. But as long as there is injustice in the world then someone needs to undertake the
tasks... but unfortunately I will die before the world becomes this beautiful place.
Nicola Pratt: Don't say that
M.A: The world has become ugly... the West is nasty, why don't they compensate Africa and
Somalia where people are dying for the colonial plunders that took place, why not? Isn't that a
debt they have to pay back? Weren't all these countries occupied by European countries? Why
don't they pay off their debts? Instead of leaving these people to starve to death and
humiliating them with aids, this is a debt you have to pay off, you stole the minerals and the
people and the economic resources of the third world countries in Africa and Asia, pay what
you owe, apologize for the crimes you committed when you were colonizing them... instead of
interfering with them more and seeking your nasty interest more. This is disgusting... that's it.
23


Full Text
Interview with Magda Adli
2013

TAPE 1

Magda Adli: I was born in Cairo, in Egypt, the Arab Republic of Egypt, in a middle class neighborhood, for working parents who were both employees, and I'm the second of 5 children, four girls and one boy, I received my entire education in Cairo, I finished high school then went to the medicine faculty in Al-Azhar, unfortunately because my GDA didn't qualify me to attend the medicine faculty in Cairo university, and then I did my higher studies in Ain Shams university, I specialized in anesthesiology and emergency medicine. After that... that's all.
Nicola Pratt: Excuse me, what you did you say you were born?
M.A: I was born in 1953, during Abdul Nasser's rule. So, we grew up with Abdul Nasser's songs, as we grew up and learned how to talk there were the songs about the unity between Egypt and Syria in 1958. So, I lived through unity between Egypt and Syria, the 1967 war, the war of attrition, the 1973 war, etc.
N.P: When you went to university, did you join any groups or any political activities or…
M.A: I've been a political activist since I was 15, years before I went to university. We were a liberal family and there was no discrimination whatsoever, on the contrary, the girls were favored over the boy although he was an only boy, as opposed to the Egyptian traditions. So, by the time I was 15 the Nakba (the 1967 defeat) had happened and the war of attrition began, so I joined the Youth Organization as an exception due to my young age. The Youth Organization was the part designated to young people in the political confederation known as the Socialist Union, as during Abdul Nasser's rule there weren't any political parties, only one confederation called the Socialist Union which brings together all the forces of the people. During that time we worked on supporting the internal front as well as traveling to support the soldiers on the confrontation lines with Israel, and we would provide communication between them and their families and we would reassure them and bring them small gifts and things like that. In addition to that we would support internal refugees from Sinai and the canal cities, who fled to the Capital. So, that was the beginning, during that time I was a Nasserist, "by definition", as at the time there was nobody but Abdul Nasser talking about making the country rise and there were social reforms indeed, I wasn't really aware of the democracy complex, so I was a die-hard Nasserist and most of my family were too. In university after Abdul Nasser died and Al-Sadat assumed power I started to read more and I started to be more aware of the (inaudible: 3:46) the democracy complex, especially when Anwar Al-Sadat started to ride the wave of Capitalism, I wasn't a Socialist yet. So, I started to review the problem that people weren't defending their rights as they did before, the social and economic rights which they have obtained, so I touched upon the democracy complex and how the people were not involved anymore in obtaining their rights. I became closer to Socialists and after that I became a pure Socialist. So, in university we were a group who shared the same political tendencies and we'd formed a family inside the university, and since it was Al-Azhar University so they put pressure on us all the time. But there was a nice female professor who adopted the family; they didn't want to acknowledge the family officially. So, we did something called "the press hallway" where we posted our wall magazines in which we discussed the issues of the country and the issues of students and things like that. That was during my first year in university, before the 1973 war. I joined a training camp, military training as well as training on medical tasks, they only took med students, we hadn't learned anything yet. So, that was how I supported the front during the war of attrition and what followed until 1973… in university, after that came the war, I was still a student, I graduated late, studying medicine takes 7 years and there's an extra year because I had a general secondary certificate, not a certificate from Al-Azhar, so I studied for 8 years, and I lost a year because I was running from the police, so it took me 9 years to finish university. Not only was I on the run, I spent a year in jail so I lost a year, so it took me a long time to finish university, 10 years or so. In 1973 the activism continued inside the university in addition to the activism by the major organization, medical activities to support the internal front… but unfortunately one of the things I can't forget was Al-Sadat's speech announcing ceasefire, after the gap Deversoir, on that day I was in Qasr Al-Ainy, it's the biggest university hospital in Egypt. I can't forget the sight of the injured screaming soldiers; they wanted to go back to battle with their wounds still fresh and after going through surgeries. It was a shock for me personally, and what made me more shocked was that we agreed to a ceasefire although we were able to go through unlimited war, we could've liberated all our lands and also liberate Gaza, that has always been a scar in my heart because Egypt was responsible for Gaza after 1967, I mean before 1967, sorry, and we lost it when we were defeated in 1967 and I felt that things should have come back to how they were before 1967. So, the ceasefire during those months and the level of success we achieved in the war and expecting to reach a settlement on the ground and that things wouldn't be better, that was tough for me, in addition to the reaction by the wounded soldiers and officers, they were seriously injured, some of them suffered Napalm burns… because Israel was using napalm at that time. So, we continued in university to pressure for negotiation terms, since the beginning, since the ceasefire was announced. And what followed that of Camp David Treaty which put us all at a high risk. Al-Azhar University is a very conservative university since it's a Religious institution, so the state security apparatus had always been in the university in a very clear way, until the 1977 uprising came along, the popular uprising in 1977, on that same day we had a conference at university on democratic freedoms. We cancelled the conference as we heard the news in the morning and we joined the popular protests. The next day the ceasefire happened and I heard they were arresting all the activists, whether they were students or workers and whatnot, I expected that my name was on the list so I left the house on the next day, it was January 19th, the uprising was on the 17th or the 18th of January, the next day after the uprising when the army took the streets. So, I didn't go to university during that period, the universities were closed anyhow because they were afraid of the students' reaction because there were martyrs. They weren't like the martyrs of January, they were 41 martyrs. So, I was arrested and as soon as the university opened again we held an activity, and after that the activities moved from Ain Shams University to all the universities in Cairo, to commemorate the martyrs of January, it's always January. It's an auspicious month for us. That was in March, so I was arrested at university and I was charged with the attempts to overthrow the regime and joining a secret organization and all the rest of the list of accusations by the state security which is still used until now. I spent 14 or 15 months in jail, I went to jail on March 14th until April 30th of the next year. So, that was a year lost from university because while in jail the only course I took was the general health course because it had no "practical" side, all the other courses like obstetrics and whatnot I need to be there to do "practical work". And, I was sentenced to 3 years in jail, along with other people too, around 20 people were sentenced, half of them 3 years and the other half 10 years. So, I was one of those who were sentenced to 3 years but I didn't do the rest of the time… I was under surveillance by the state security all the time even when I was doing my exams… that every new case for the state security against politicians or socialists and whatnot, I was wanted for interrogation, so that would impose on me that I would not turn myself in easily, because I considered that to be an illegal apparatus, that apparatus dedicated to surveillance over the minds of the people was an illegal apparatus. So, they didn't have the chance to arrest me, they had arrested me once, one month after my release, I spent a month in jail and then I was released. They would arrest me on the street, they wouldn't come knocking on my door or take me from university so easily. So, I was playing cat and mouse with the state security all the time, so they couldn't catch me although I was charged with 3 cases after that, until I graduated. After that I worked in the countryside for the first year, I was appointed there, that was my first experience with the Egyptian countryside, and I was shocked, I was socked because I hadn't realized the level of poverty and ignorance and the absence of political awareness and health awareness, and the "basic hygienic issues" in the countryside, and I knew very little about the countryside before, the beautiful countryside with fields of crops and the tranquility. So, the first governorate I worked in was Bani Sweif in Upper Egypt, after Giza. It's not considered very bad yet I was shocked by the level of poverty and I was shocked by the embodiment of the idea of economic openness contrived by Al-Sadat. Al-Sadat had promised the people in 1973 that since that was the last war they would live in abundance. Of course, he could not achieve abundance. In 1974 he formulated the laws of economic openness… during that period men started to leave the country, so many of the men of the village I worked in were in Iraq, and some Gulf countries but the main bulk was in Iraq. So women did everything, they farmed, they bred poultry, they made cheese, made butter and if someone had a cow or some cattle women would raise them. The level of poverty was so drastic that, in the past people in the countryside used to make their own bread at home, but they didn't even have wheat so they were fighting over subsidized bread from the government. It became hard to… poultry for example, only a few people could raise poultry, most of the people would buy it, which proves how much capitalism is an ugly abominable thing, and it really crushes people's lives, these convictions coming from intellectual tendencies and books that are no longer in practice, loose ideas, and they were embodied on real ground, which caused a huge "gap" between the level of the few rich people in the Capital… and there were residential towers built, and what was called "hostelry hospitals", and investment hospitals, and they were ridiculously expensive, and the level of poverty and ignorance and disease in the countryside. So, I was more convinced that the society cannot go on living like that, not with this huge gap between classes at this level, and that the new wave of vicious capitalism which depends on "core and periphery" this stupid theory, it's done to the advantage of 5% of the world, the people of earth, while the rest can barely afford their basic needs. So, that made me determined to follow through with the same approach. If you want to do any "interference" here, if you want to interfere…
N.P: No, keep talking please.
M.A: During that period since before 1977 I had been part of a leftist organization, there were no political parties back then. Al-Sadat in 1976 did something funny, there were no parties and he said: I promised you there would be democracy as I promised you there would be abundance. So, how would we have parties? Okay, the parliament which was made up from one party since the days of Abdul Nasser would be divided into 3 parts, part left wing, part right wing, part moderate. The members would be divided into these three blocks, without a clear law for political parties back then, after that a law was issues stating the parties should accept all the charters of revolution since 1952, so where is the "difference" between the 3 groups? So they were (inaudible: 17:52), and then the political parties law came out and they turned into parties.in 1986 perhaps I tried to work through the Unionist Party… it was the collective leftist party but at the same time I didn't quite agree with their approach, he brought together Nasserists and leftists, the leftists too were divided into many groups, they didn't have the same mindsets, but they were split into groups. This experience lasted for… maybe 5 years, after that I saw it was useless because the Party was more inclined to have "compromises" with the state, even in parliamentary elections, it was all about agreements from under the table, and the party was infiltrated and the leaders knew it was infiltrated and when they ran for parliamentary elections, I ran for parliamentary elections twice in the 1980s, by that time I had graduated and finished my assignment period in the countryside and opened a clinic in an area outside Cairo, an area called Shoubra Al-Khaima, it's a labor area, and I asked to work in the same area after finishing my assignment, because labor areas are poor areas that need services and whatnot… So, I opened a clinic there and worked there at the beginning of my career, I opened a "GP" clinic, "mainly" for internal medicine, pediatrics and gynecology. And I ran for the elections… the first time I ran on the Unionist Party's list, we had the system of lists back then, and it wasn't easy, I was running with my own agenda and they wanted me to run with their agenda so there were problems all the time during that election process. At the end I found that this was not my ambition, that was not the political party of my dreams, actually I knew from the beginning that it wasn't the party of my dreams, but it didn't live up to the level at which I could work with a group of leftist movements without problems, even in the partisan election, they wanted to minimize the presence of the leftist and have quotas, so there wasn't "transparency" even in the elections. I ended up leaving the party… and I did "freelance" work. The leftist groups had started to weaken and many people joined (inaudible 0:21:05.7) he renounced the socialist theory, and we had learned it from him and he was a role model for us. So, we started to fall apart without a decision for the membership of the leftist groups, and they became less in numbers, in addition to the problems themselves that were there, we would be doing (inaudible 0:21:45.2) work all the time, we weren't allowed to work in groups as we were not registered as a party, and the political parties law didn't allow us to become a party anyway according to its article, it was "restricted". So, for some time we had that problem and people were trying to gather and do something, until it all ended up in nothing, in the 1990s… I can stop now if you like.
N.P: What?
M.A: I'll stop now if you need more information
N.P: In your opinion, the movements in the 1970s and 1980s have failed?
M.A: I don't measure things by success or failure, right or wrong, it's not black and white, nothing in the world goes to waste without having possible results in the future. If they failed I wouldn't have continued actually, if I felt that way. I feel that any seeds you sow will bear fruit, even if after a while. The tree takes time to become green. Because in truth, the movement was very inspirational in the 1970s, the students, the middle class and the workers, all through the 1970s starting from 1972, there was a real movement that joined the popular movement. When that movement joined the parliamentary election in 1976 it had a massive presence on the street, it was unbelievable. I think that this was the foundation stone of the 1977 uprising. But that wasn't gone, the people didn't… I mean, in the 1977 elections the revolutionary and socialist slogans were dominating the scene, Al-Sadat hadn't listed the help of Islamists yet to eliminate the Socialist movement. In the 1977 the same slogans were being adopted by the public, the same slogans we chanted in 1976 during the parliamentary elections, I didn't run for the elections at the time but I was working with a leftist candidate against a government candidate, the same slogans that were resonating throughout Egypt. All the people who took the streets in all the cities were chanting the same slogans, that was a scene from what happened in January but it was only for a day and a half, because the very next day there was a curfew until 4:00 o'clock. So, that's a "feedback" (inaudible 0:25:01.7) and the leftist movement received many blows, we can say that the organizations became less at the movement's level but at the level of paving the way on the ground, nothing goes to waste. Even the slogans of the 1970s were repeated in 2011 in the January 25th revolution, the same slogans, the same songs of Shaikh Imam and Ahmad Fouad Negm, those were the songs chanted in Tahrir square. So, the revolutionary mass, revolutionary sentiment, the songs and the slogans, despite the passage of time and despite the restrictions on the revolutionary movement, they were still alive. Not only that, many of the young men and women who were in the revolution were the children of the 1970s generation. When I look around me I see my daughter and the daughters of my friends and comrades, we didn't brain-wash them, I didn't "push" my daughter for example, I showed her all the schools of thought and she was free to choose. But the same generation was active in the revolution and they are still active now, and in the groups that were formed against the military and against the Muslim Brotherhood's rule… you find them all have an automatic "reference" to this house where they were brought up. So, nothing goes to waste, even the work of organizations, I wanted to talk about that shortly, that when it was impossible to have a political movement and my friends were establishing Al Nadeem center, I felt it was something important, because the people who were subjected to torture were too afraid to do anything, and at the time we had 20 thousand detainees for decades, they have been in jail for so long, they haven't seen the sun or the outside world for years. So, if you break the fear barrier and support the victims this might help people to fight for their rights and feel that there will be others who will defend them. I think that was important and it played a role in at least paving the way for the public resistance. Mind you that even before this revolution, since 2000… since 2000 the second Palestinian uprising took place after the Israel broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque, with horses and soldiers wearing their boots, they violated the sanctity of a sacred religious shrine which meant they were challenging the feelings of people regardless of what religion you belong to, but that was very provocative for the Palestinian people who are in our hearts all the time. The whole people showed solidarity, I can't forget that, we formed committees and this was the first big thing to be formed during Mubarak's rule. We formed a committee called the Popular Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People. It started in Cairo and in a very short period of time it was present in all the Egyptian governorates. It has a political wing and we collected signatures to denounce the aggression and to reiterate the right of return for the refugees and to stop the building of settlements and whatnot, one of the petitions was directed to the United Nations and one was directed to the President of the Republic, there were two petitions, and we collected around 3 or 4 million signatures in 2 months. The other part was the humanitarian support, we sent convoys of medicine and basic nutritional supplies… the poorest people in the countryside would donate everything they had, so much that there was a woman who had only a duck and she donated it. She gave it to us alive; the duck was alive and quacking. She insisted that we take the duck to Palestine. We said it wouldn't work, she said then sell it and use the money to buy medicine. That was the public sentiment for the Egyptians back then. This committee kept working for years, we would sent flour, sugar, rice, medicine, medical supplies, ambulances, so there was an unbelievable public support indeed. So, from 2000 to 2011, for eleven years there was a movement, that movement didn't happen "all of a sudden", especially that it is connected to a cause that isn't exclusively Egyptian and it doesn't have to do with the sustenance of the people, contrary to that, people were donating from their own sustenance, and yet it found so much solidarity. In 2003 during the invasion of Iraq the same thing happened, there were calls for protests

TAPE 2

Magda Adli: if there was any, and the calling for protests wasn't very open back then, we didn't have social media websites back then, there were cell phones maybe, or maybe there weren't. Nonetheless, the call was successful and the state security couldn't intercept it before it happened, and Tahrir square was full, full to the brink, on the day of the invasion, it was clear that it was going to happen and we said that in case America invaded Iraq we would be on the streets on the same day. And we were. We were not just the elites, I don't like that word, "I don't like to be elite"… and the sit-in in Tahrir continued until dark, and people held protests the next day, and for security forces to be able to disperse protests the security forces themselves set a car on fire, they started a fire to frame the protestors for it, the state security does that sometimes. Of course, the central security forces came out and the fire squad and whatnot and the violence started, that was the second day after the invasion. That didn't come from nothing. The next thing was in 2004, immediately, the movement didn't stop after the invasion of Iraq, or rather since 2000. The solidarity with the Palestinian people continued, even the committee continued in support of the Palestinian and the Iraqi people, and then it became the Palestinian, the Iraqi and the Lebanese people. And… so, groups started to forms like Kifaya movement, which started with people on the "frontline" but included slightly more people than those who were in the frontlines and it created a movement and established branches in the professional associations, so we started a group in the medical association, it was called "doctors against bequeathal" as Kifaya movement was against extension and bequeathal of power, extending Mubarak's term or bequeathing power. That was the direct activity against Mubarak's rule on the political level, and that was simultaneous with the economic labor movement, so there were non-stop movements all the time, since 2005 there have been 2000 movements each year until the revolution, and sit-ins, people would sleep on the street in front of the parliament, men and women, for months, and there was Al-Mahalla strike in 2006 and 2008, which was met by a very violent response from the security forces where people were killed and many lost their eyes and other things. So, that was the economic labor movement and it was joined by employee movements, like the employees of real state taxes, in protests and sit-ins, they had an economic nature, basically, seeking the economic and social rights of workers, employees and professionals too, because the associations too, like the medical association formed movements like "Doctors without rights" who defeated the Muslim Brotherhood in the elections that took place 2 weeks ago, for the first time since the 1980s. So, there were various non-stop movements, and that wasn't far away from the idea of rejecting Mubarak's policy, before that there was nothing, not even on the economic level, fear reigned supreme. Fear of torture and violence and arrests. Something had started to crystalize, it was that "obvious" to people. That's why I'm telling you that nothing goes to waste, I don't think that any effort you exert for the sake of the country would be gone with the wind, since the early 1970s, or maybe before the 1970s as there was a movement but it didn't last for long, I wasn't part of that movement, it was in 1968, it demanded trials for those who were responsible for the 1967 defeat. And Jamal Abdul Nasser responded to it by changing commanders in the army and whatnot. So, nothing goes to waste. Otherwise one would commit suicide immediately, thinking that their life is of no value… There you go, you're reminding me of painful things, or not painful, but it's okay.
Nicola Pratt: May I ask, during that period, the 1960s… I mean, the 1980s, did you face any difficulties when you participated in public activities? Were you distinguished in that field?
M.A: It's hard to describe yourself as distinguished, unless you are (inaudible: 6:40) I'm not (inaudible: 6:40). I did the best I could. That's it. All the time, the state security forces would be searching my house, so almost since 1977 I didn't have the family life I used to have before. I went out of jail only to go back to jail shortly after, and then the state security would want to arrest me on every occasion so I had to leave the house, after that I left home for good, and that was hard for my family and it was hard for me too, but I knew I was paying the price for the choice I made, I felt sad for my parents, because they didn't have a choice, they would rather make the choice for me, but I was trying to convince them all the time that I had the right to choose and that they needed to respect that and not to be so worried. So, I did everything I could, I don't feel that I saved any effort, since the day I joined public work, I was a child, I did as much as I could, even if it was at the expense of my study, my health, my family. Of course, thank God my family was social and had us connected with the world since we were young, it wasn't something exclusive to myself, I won't say I had major fights in the beginning of my life with my family, on the contrary. They started to worry in 1977, I did all I could do, I didn't leave university, I didn't leave my work in the hospital, whether on the political or unionist work level, for the medical association, trying to make a strong professional association that is not controlled by the government or the Islamist movement who had deals with Anwar Al-Sadat to eliminate the leftist movement in Egypt, and they supported Al-Sadat in beating us at universities and professional association and what not, while Sadat helped them in taking over all the professional associations in Egypt, so the truth is, my choices were clear, I was against political Islamism, and also against the state's policy which crushes the poor, and where corruption increased every day, and there was no real margin for democracy. And I used to work wherever I would be, saving no effort, and I was harassed by state security all the time. I also joined a venter against torture, supporting torture victims, and that was the reason they broke my arm in 2008, they broke my arm but they didn't break my spirit. Thank God, I'm still unbreakable, no matter what they do. So, I don't have any feeling of failure, even towards my family, although there were times when they were exhausted, nor towards my daughter, I was all the time trying to… sometimes you have to do something at the expense of another but I compensate for it later. Even in the hospital, the whole time we were working in the operation room we were having discussions, about doctors' problems, the political situation, the peace treaty… all the time I was trying to influence change even over those close to me like colleagues and friends or relatives. I didn't separate my political work from my professional work, I didn't have that division. So, I think that I wasn't special, there were people who tried all the time, I'm not better than anyone else. Some people were tired and they had every right to be tired, some people decided to stop and that's a human right. So, even those who stopped, I'm not better than them, it's their choice… Did you sleep?
N.P: No… what you're saying is important, I'm learning a lot. I didn't know this before. Can we go back to the 1990s?
M.A: Let's go back to the 1990s, what happened in the 1990s?
N.P: You joined Al-Nadeem?
M.A: Yes, there was Al-Nadeem. There was Al-Nadeem… Just before that we were still trying to gather the leftists; we were still trying to unify the leftist groups in one entity, before Al-Nadeem. But the results weren't that great. The person who started the first period of Al-Nadeem wasn't me; they were Suzan, Aida and Abdullah. And then Suzan met with me and we talked so I felt it was something important. But I asked for some time to think, I don't like to rush my choices because you must be convinced about the price you would pay. Actually, I didn't want to think because of the price, I had no problem with anything that might happen, even if I was going to be killed, that wasn't my problem. The problem was a price of a different kind in my opinion, that if I was consumed by that work, although it's important, but would it be at the expense of establishing a new political party, would it have an impact if all the leftists group gave up on building a political movement that is present on the street, would that be at the expense of the movement or not? That was what I thought of back then. So, I took a decision, I thought for two weeks and I told them I was in, I agreed. And we started to work in Al-Nadeem. When we started, there was something like the political parties law which I've talked about, it was the civil organizations law. It was since 1964, since the days of Abdul Nasser, the totalitarian regime. That's what we called it because there was no political pluralism, so the organizations law almost limited us to charity work. And it gave control for the Ministry of Social Affairs. If there are any Arabic words that are not "clear" I can translate them.
N.P: No, no problem. There's also someone who…
M.A: someone who will do the transcription?
N.P: Yes.
M.A: So… what was I saying? The beginning of Al-Nadeem center, right? Yes, so I started working with my friends who conceived that idea first, they thought of it due to the nature of their work, they were psychiatrists, the three of them, while my specialty was a bit different, so they were dealing in the hospitals they worked in with victims of torture who had psychological issues, and the way the psychiatrist dealt with them was like dealing with any other patient, they didn't understand that there was any problem, that there was a problem with the ruling system in the country, and that there was a very private experience after which it was only logical that people would experience psychological symptoms afterwards, there wasn't enough of that and the doctors didn't fully grasp the idea of "post-traumatic stress" which resulted from "trauma" or (inaudible:16:23) or "major crises or whatever". So, they thought there must be another way of dealing with those victims which depended on a different kind of support, and on a different understanding of the "context" of torture. So, they made the initiative as they lived that experience. For me, I was convinced with their idea, in addition to that I had a personal ambition to break the fear barrier, and to support the victim, not only behind closed doors but also on the level of society by holding anti-torture campaigns, and that might break the vicious circle which causes the people to be terrified of the ruling regime's aggression. I stayed with Al-Nadeem since 1993 until this day. I worked on a program to rehabilitate torture victims; I studied some psychiatry again, because I had forgotten what I learned in university (inaudible: 17:41) and my colleagues helped me a lot and I was working with them as a "psychiatrist" or you might say an assistant, not a psychiatrist, and we started to do other things in "campaigns" and "publications". I'm not sure if it was in 2008 or when exactly, I can't remember. Suzan was the "director" so she insisted I be the "director", so I became the "director" of Al-Nadeem center sometime around 2008, I can't really remember. In 2000 we started a separate program to support women who survived violence, other than torture cases. Because there was a large load on the clinic especially with the influx of huge numbers of Sudanese people as Al-Basheer's regime in Sudan was committing crimes against humanity in Southern Sudan and Darfur and Al-Nouba, entire villages were wiped out. So, many Sudanese people fled to Egypt. Many people were subjected to torture, not only those who were fleeing from war or conflicts. Anyone who was suspected of having tied with a strong tribe, not only political affiliations, would be tortured. Any woman wearing trousers would be tortured; any woman who didn't adhere to the Islamic dress code would be tortured. Torture also included the rape of men and women. As a "low key" (inaudible:19:40), that came at the expense of having to set priorities, there was pressure and we had a small team, it wasn't easy to find at that time doctors who would do that service knowing very well that it wouldn't generate an income for them like that they'd gain if they did "private" work, on the other hand, they would be confronting the authorities, they had to be "fighters". So, it wasn't easy to find someone like that, so we had a small team. So, the priority was given to torture victims, there were large numbers of them, both Egyptians and refugees, at that time there were refugees form Burundi and Somalia too. So, we decided to create a separate program for women who suffer from domestic or sexual violence, so that they wouldn't be neglected. And we had increasing numbers of them, at first there weren't many cases because there was a "taboo" that a woman can't complain and can't ask for support or divulge family secrets, until around 1994, the first explosion of a women-related issue was in 1994 and then in 1995 there was the Beijing convention. So, we decided to create a separate program for the support of women. So, I was specialize in women torture victims, except when there was a major crisis, and we established the program for women and I was put in charge of it in 2002, we worked together on it, the four co-founders. And the program set out with female volunteers whom we trained, and part of the training was on how to know whether the case needs a psychiatrist or just a "counselor". So, the program offered direct services and direct "empowerment", and they would be filtered too, so that not all the numbers would be a burden to the psychiatrists. So, the cases which were found to need more than just "psychological support" or "psychological counsel" were referred to our colleagues in the clinic which was on the "second floor". And we're still working since that date on two programs, supporting torture victims and supporting women who survived violence… during the revolution obviously the nature of our work changed, we had to become field doctors too, all of us not only me, my colleagues in Al-Nadeem and I were providing aid to the wounded all the time, so it wasn't only me, that was "state violence" which was a part of our work, not only that we were with the revolution, professionally speaking, our work was partly related to torture and partly related to the violence used by the authorities during protests, state violence. So, until now we keep dealing with wounded people due to the violations of the general authorities, during protests for example.
N.P: May I ask, with regards to women issues, was that the first time you get involved in this, through Al-Nadeem? Or you've been involved with women issues and women rights before that?
M.A: No, actually I've always been interested in women issues, even before I knew there were human rights treaties, anywhere. As I told you, I was born into a household where there was no gender discrimination. But when I grew up, when I was still in middle or secondary school, I found my classmates complaining; telling me how there would be violence against them at home for example. And that their male brothers were treated differently than them. I found that one of my relatives, I can call her my aunt, she was complaining about her husband a lot, so I would take stands all the time, because my family at home gave me the same rights as my brother, so I wouldn't let anyone interfere with me, and when I saw friends or relatives facing violence that would make me very angry, so much that I once caused a family problem. My uncle, my mother's brother, he was at our place and I came home late and he asked me why I came home late. I love him a lot, but I told him: who gave you the right to ask? My parents are alive and they don't ask me this question. I was young, in high school. My parents didn't comment or tell me I was being rude, as they felt I was right, it was nobody's business. He was upset and he didn't visit us for years after that. So, from the beginning I thought that… just like that, "spontaneously", or by accident, due to my upbringing, that this should not be the case, and that nobody should beat anybody. I was beaten only once in school, with a stick. I was in the fifth grade, I was 11 years old. And for something that had nothing to do with lessons or classes. The teacher wanted money to make decorations for the classroom, I said I wouldn't pay, it's our classroom and we should decorate however we want, not like you want, you're just one teacher; we have 5 or 6 courses. So, she insisted on hitting me, she ordered me to stick my hand out so she would hit me with a stick and I said no. She had no right to hit me. My mother was a teacher at the same school, I didn't tell her. So, she hit me with the stick on my leg. So, automatically and due to my upbringing I said: Sorry, but I won't attend your class. There was no such thing as deciding not to attend a certain class. Not this class or ay other class at all. I went to the school principal's office, it was a public school, not a private school, and I told her that the said teacher had hit me for those reasons. The only right I demanded was not attending her class till the end of the year. She said she could apologize to me but I said "never", she said she could send for my mother, I said the issue didn't concern my mother, it concerned me. And for the rest of the year whenever I saw that teacher I would not say good morning, I didn't attend her class, and to solve the issue they would open the library for me and I would sit there and read, just me, all alone. So, we didn't have the concept of anyone beating anyone else, my mother has never beaten anyone. The most severe form of punishment was giving us the look, that look was very powerful, it hurt so much. But there was no "verbal abuse" or "beating", nothing of the sort. So, I would feel weird when I heard those things and I would say that nobody has the right to do such a thing. Simply like that. The issue intensified as we grew up, and when we went to university groups were formed and there were discussions about it, even outside university, even in leftist groups I would see a woman abused by her colleague or friend or husband for example. So, I would go discuss the issue in a group and the colleague would be expelled, he would be expelled. The person who doesn't consider human beings to be equal then his conviction that people have the right not to be subjected to violence is fake. Some people considered that dismissible, that we should not evaluate our colleagues based on their psychological side, but I used to say the psychological structure of the person is very important because if you don't have a sound psychological structure then you can't deal with others in a fair and sound way. And they wouldn't follow through. And that's what happened in that case, that person didn't stay with us. Or, the huge complex on the issue of religion, especially after the big defeat of the Soviet Union, with themselves. My uncle went to Saudi Arabia for 10 years to make some money, so he was turned into a terrorist. So, I saw early on that things can't go on like that, you can't refuse state violence if you are practicing it, or if I'm an accomplice in it, even if it was perpetrated by those closest to me, or by my friends, or by my colleagues, and I am concerned with the structure of the Party, but this doesn't work. So, this is how things were. After that in secondary school and later on when I went to university I started to read the books of Nawal Al-Sadawi

TAPE 3

Magda Adli: And I read for some of the leaders in the history of the feminist movement, more, I hadn't been involved with Al-Nadeem yet. And… it wasn't until 1994 when we did the first research at AL-Nadeem, it was the first research of its kind in Egypt, Al-Nadeem conducted it in cooperation with New Woman, which is a foundation that's still there today. As a prelude to Beijing Conference, a big conference was held in Cairo in 1994, and at the same time we conducted the first research on violence against women, all forms of violence, beating, "sexual violence", everything, like FGM (Female genital mutilation), it was a little "survey", a small sample, around 500 women and 100 men. So, the results were shocking, because there hadn't been any data before that. It was shocking because we found in the results of the research for example that almost 42% of women, as far as I remember, has been beaten during their lives, at least. One third of the sample were beaten while "pregnant". One third of the sample had university or higher education degrees. "Masters or"… So, the issue wasn't limited any more to the cases you chance upon, it's a big issue. The FGM was 98%, we took the simplified sample from 12 year-olds for example, the result was shocking. We presented some inputs in the conference in Cairo and after that we worked hard, CNN had also done a documentation of the case of FGM of a young girl and a men's barber, who performs FGM himself, in Egypt (inaudible: 02:38) that was shocking too. So, we piggy-backed on those results and conducted the research. There was an unprecedented attack on all of us, all of the feminist groups who weren't many at that time. We were 3 or 4. They likened us to "prostitutes" and that our goal was to break families, and that we were anti-Islam because we talked about men beating their women and there's an idea called guardianship in Islam, the way they understand Islam, so the newspapers started attacking us, not only the state, Al-Azhar and many backward people adopting the religious discourse in their own way. The research was presented in Beijing and that "stimulated" the state to conduct a "survey". So a "national survey" was conducted and the sample was around 25 thousands, and it came back with the same results of the small sample. Mind you that we still didn't have independent newspapers back then. There were only government newspapers and partisan newspapers. Few of them were supporting us with regards to the torture cases or women issues. "Mainly" the partisan newspapers, the government used to attack human rights organizations all the time, whether they dealt with human rights in general or torture or women and whatnot. Those days there were no cell phones, no satellite channels, all TV stations were state-owned, radio stations were state-owned, so even when I had an interview on the radio they wouldn't let me talk about sexual harassment, or to talk about the cases I saw in the center of "sexual assaults" by family members, which is called incest, or by a relative of the family. We talked about beating; the first taboo to be addressed was beating wives. It was hard to talk about anything else, even talking about FGM was hard. But also when we started the research I became more interested to read about women issues in Egypt which I could be familiar with and the numbers would put it in the right perspective. But I also started to see the larger scope, on the regional and international level, etc. Besides, when you're in a human rights organization that opens doors for you for experimentation and many workshops on a lot of issues that could support your personal growth in human rights, but as I told you I was a "feminist" by definition, as the you gain more information as you grow up, you deal with more people and you travel outside and inside Egypt, on the regional level, so it's not just about "attitude" it's also about how much "information" you have about a certain issue. I won the Amnesty International award for working in the field of women, the 2014 award, and I was among the people they choose for the UN's counseling office for women issues on the level of the "region", so that's related to my work on women's issues.
Nicola Pratt: Congratulations
M.A: Thanks. But I'll tell you something that doesn't necessarily have to go on record… what else do you want to know? We spoke about women issues.
N.P: May I ask about the relation between Al-Nadeem and the state, how was the relation?
M.A: I think they hate us more than anyone else. For example, when Mubarak was in America once and he was asked about human rights, he said that the organizations were fine wouldn't be dissolved, back then he was planning to issue a new law to put more restrictions on us. Or I'll tell you the specific reason later on. So, he said we only had 3 centers that were causing trouble, and we were the first of them. Okay? They raided the center in 2004 and tried to shut it down, but they failed. We filed a lawsuit. They came under the cover of an inspection by the Ministry of Health, because we had a psychiatry clinic, but it was obvious that it was an inspection by the state security apparatus, we have a long experience with them. They came in at a time before the clinic was opened, and they searched all the drawers, even the personal desk drawers, they searched the files, there was a sofa, they lifted up its cushions, they took photographs of the files and whatnot. They asked questions like: you're a clinic, what business do you have to do with torture? What business do you have to do with prisoners' rights? And things like that. We hadn't rented this apartment yet so the files were there. What business do you have with harassment? Things like that. They said: you're a human rights organization, not a clinic, you will be shut down. And then they picked at clinic rules, asking about a fire extinguisher. We had a fire extinguisher but they said there wasn't. So, we filed a lawsuit, because we had "clients" present there, some of them "refugees” and still in the stage of emotional pain, and that gave them "flashbacks" indeed. So, we objected to that. That was harmful to our clients. In the end, nothing happened in the lawsuit. They filed a lawsuit and we filed a lawsuit and both were closed. Things like that happen a lot, even if there are foreigners in the center there would be state security officers standing downstairs. If there is a press conference the street would be surrounded. Once we had a press conference, as we celebrate the 26th of June every year, the international day for solidarity with torture victims. And an officer came in, he knocked on the door wanting to come in, so I opened the door to him and said: you are paid a lot of money to watch and report, so go stand downstairs in the sun for the money you get paid, you won't get any information for free, you may stand in the sun all you want, but you're not going inside this center. So, I didn't let him in. I told him he could come in by force if he dared. A similar case happened right after the revolution, or during the 18 days of the revolution. They raided Hisham Mubarak's center and then they came to us on the same day, but we didn't let them in, because there were patients sleeping inside and the medical clinic was open. We did have injured people indeed, as we would bring the people who were injured on Ramsis street to our center for treatment. So we didn't let them in, in between the two incidents in 2008, we were in a city near Alexandria called Kafr Al-Dawwar. There was a family, I might have told you this story before, a father and his three sons were attacked and they stripped one of them off his clothes on the street and dragged him, and he went to the police station stark naked. "completely bare", and they were subjected to torture, cigarette butts were put out on their skin, the father and the sons were beaten and one of them had his arm broken, in addition to marks left on them by being dragged on the street, the lacerations and things like that. So, I was with them and there was a court session on the next day. First I went to the family house and saw the damage that was done to it, I documented the statements of witnesses and then I went and visited them. I saw the injuries… I had took photos of the clothes on the street and things like that, and when we went back to Cairo at night I made large versions of the photos. There was a session to renew their detention on the next day, so I went to the court with Dr. Muna, our colleague in the center, a psychiatrist. People asked us to go to the village again, so we went the next day to the court and I took the clothes with me, which had blood and dirt for the street, and which were torn, because they were accused of assaulting the police, so I used the torn bloody clothes as an evidence as to who assaulted whom. Was it the people or the police? Who's the criminal here? So, I took the photos and attended the session. So, we were attacked. Muna had a car; I don't have a car, so we went by Muna's car. When we came out we found that they had torn the car tires apart, all four of them, they were torn by knife, and they broke the mirrors, they thought we would need to stay in Kafr Al-Dawwar overnight so that they could eliminate us. A thug would kill us or something. I was hit on the head as I was coming out of the session so I fell down and broke my "left shoulder", as I fell on the pavement. And I had severe bruises all over the left side of my body; I still have a 25% "disability" in my shoulder. Several parts of it were fractured. The intelligence agent ran away and framed the police officer for it, the one who was there. So, this happens all the time. Just last Thursday, there was a raid on Al-Masry center, I don't know if you were in Cairo at the time… last Thursday.
N.P: Last Thursday?
M.A: Yes. Al-Masry center, this is always used as a warning, because in fact the human rights organizations have the loudest voice and they have credibility on the regional and international levels as well as the local level to a great extent until smear campaign against them start in TV shows and playing on the idea of foreign funding and that these people right reports and handed to the Americans for money and the European Union, depending on what country they want to attack, and so on. So there has been a systemized attack since dispersing the sit-in in Rab'a on certain organizations which denounced the killing of so many people while dispersing the sit-in, i.e. the use of excessive violence, and violating the law of dispersing protests and sit-ins. So, there has been an attack which started a while ago through newspapers and TV stations even satellite channels, unfortunately, after June 30th there's a situation that anyone who doesn't acknowledge Sisi as a president is considered an enemy. As a matter of fact we've always been against the military rule and against the Islamist rule, both of them. But when there are human rights violations regardless of who the perpetrators are, we take the side of the victims against the criminals, it's that simple really, yet it's being distorted. From both sides. There has been severe political polarization after the Authorization OF Sisi on July 3rd. So, there's an attack from all sides and these are the prelude to the coming "punch". They started with the center itself, maybe because Ahmad Adel is wanted, so it was a message to everyone, and maybe because Khaled Ali was planning to run for elections again, and they wanted to put him out of the presidential race. But these are usually the first tidings. So, we are waiting, it's very probable, we and the other human rights organizations, of which there aren't so many in Egypt who could be targeted, some organizations are measuring their steps, while others are very straight, the straight ones are usually disliked by the regimes because most of the violations are perpetrated by the regime, as it represents the state and it owns the tools and devices of oppressions more than anyone else, so you can't be nice to them, and all the time, the state security has always called us trying to form ties with us, but we would never allow that, they would ask to come for a cup of tea, but "never", if we are arrested then "it is obligatory", but we would never do it of our own accord. So, there would be restrictions on us in conferences, to hold a conference on women issues, after we make reservations at a hotel the hotel would return the money and say they didn't get the security clearance. After the revolution things weren't so strict and we had lots of space. After the ministry of interior regained its power the state would bother us, as they changed the names but their policies remained the same, this happened, and it wasn't something related to torture, it was the 23rd of November and we were celebrating the International day against violence against women, we had an event, there was a conference and we were launching a research on "early marriage", and we've made a documentary on that phenomenon and how wide-spread it is in rural areas and how much women trafficking and violence against women in its different forms are going on there. So, this issue is a direct blow to the state policies, although we hold the state responsible for the violence after all as they had to protect all citizens and enforce the law which states that no girl can be married at 14, but at least we're not talking about murder. After we reserved the hotel the hotel cancelled and told us to get a clearance from state security and we said that we would not contact the state security. So, we held a conference at the press association. Thankfully, the press association's doors are still open for conferences of this kind. Or even for torture cases, their doors are always open for us; I pray to God things will stay this way. So, we couldn't hold the conference in the hotel and we usually don't like to hold our "events" in hotels, it's provocative, but many people came from the governorates take part in the research because it was applied to 16 governorates, both urban and rural. So, the organizations that took part in the research and applied it with us must attend the "event", so to make things easier for them we decided that the venue would be in the same place where they would be staying. So, the state security didn't like that as it was a conference related to women, it was titled "early marriage in Egypt". They asked for a copy of the film, a film about early marriage, the hotel aid that, that the state security wanted a copy of the film, and that if we didn't send them a copy they would send them one. So, we cancelled the reservation. Even the guests who were coming from other governorates, we refused that they would stay in that same hotel. We made reservations for them at another hotel and held the conference in the press association. So, there are always ridiculous situations like this, either be our friends or we will harass you, harass us! Harass us and we would tell everyone what you do, and that's it.
N.P: That happened last month?
M.A: Yes, last month. November 2013.
N.P: Is there… can you file a lawsuit against the hotel or…
M.A: No, we have no documents. All of that exchange was oral. All of that was oral, the best thing we could do was that I gave the sales representative in the hotel a lecture about the dying conferences tourism in Egypt due to the interference by the state, and that it was their loss really as they say there is no tourism and no income from tourism, and that they were firing their employees because of that. Some countries took over conferences tourism because there is no interference of that kind. You could compensate for the recreational or cultural tourists, but not conferences tourism, there should not be so much interference in every little detail, in a workshop or a conference or a training course or whatnot. I told them it was their loss and that they were idiots, "stupid", and after all it would be their loss. There can't be tourism and a significant source of domestic income with interference by the state asking questions like who are the foreigners and what are their names. It can't be, and they are not harming us, they are harming themselves and harming the tourism in the country. I had invited Arab guests, and they would go and say that the state security refused so we had to stay elsewhere, who would come here again? If an Arab country working with us… we had two members from the Arab network working with us, both women, they wanted to hold the conference here or the annual meeting, most Arab countries are part of the network. How would they come to Egypt when Egypt is doing this? So, that's the most we could do, to tell them they were losing, also with regards to the hotel's income, there must be an internal policy for the hotel to decide what's allowed and what's not. But they didn't sign any document; they wouldn't give us a document saying that the state security said no. Even when state security forces attack they have no names and the law states that the punishment should be personalized. You have to know the name of the person, even if it's a case of beating or torture. We don’t' know their names, because there's always (inaudible: 25:55). They don't give you their names. Many people get away with torture because people are "blindfolded" and the names of the officers are unknown. So, if you proved that you were tortured through evidence you would get a civil financial compensation, but the officer responsible for it wouldn't go to jail. In rare cases, rare cases, perhaps two cases, Bilal's case who died of torture, it happened during Mursi's rule, Bilal was an Islamist. And another torture case where the names were revealed and they reached the state security, during Mursi's rule, the rest of the case against people were taboos, even after the revolution. That's why the revolutionaries attacked the state security because it was the biggest tool of oppression, as well as the intelligence agents, and because they wanted the truth, many people "disappeared" and their whereabouts are unknown. It was revealed that there was a graveyard in the state security building, when the building in Nasr city was raided. So, how would you prove that?... we do what we can but there's a "lobby against us"… until we have democracy, with God's will. And when we have freedom of expression and whatnot, when these are not just articles in the constitution, it has to be "applied", implemented.
N.P: is the state security always this strong? Or is there…
M.A: Sometimes? Is there excessive oppression? I'll tell you, during Mubarak's rule even the people who broke into the premises of the state security, and the statements made by people in the governorates and everywhere, one of them is me personally, the state security is present everywhere in Egypt and they have snitches. Even in primary schools, they have snitches. If a quarrel happened between two teachers, one Muslim and the other "Christian", the state security would interfere. They have files for almost all these citizens, the teachers, the employees, the people who are involved in politics, in public work, those who don't work, the relatives of those involved in politics. So, Egyptians have a saying which expresses their fear: "walls have ears". "You know, the wall has ears". So, there are always spies for state security. You see? And the bigger files are for those who are involved in public work, but even their second or third relatives could have files too. Let's not talk about me, my nephew… my name isn't supposed to be mentions, I've always been an "activist", okay? I have a history with state security and "it's okay", when my nephew applied for the military academy, for the army, but they turned him down, they said: your aunt is so and so, she's married to so and so… he's not even my son, his father has nothing to do with politics, the only one on the family who doesn't talk about politics at all. So, neither his father nor his mother, have anything to do with public work, not social nor professional work, only their jobs. And yet, he was denied admission to the faculty he wanted to attend. He wanted to be a military officer. So, in state security and military intelligence and whatnot the files include everyone, you see? And there are discriminative and oppressive procedures taken against people who didn't choose to be…

TAPE 4

Magda Adli: so, that was during Mubarak's rule. Of course, there was a violent reaction in January against police stations, as the most torture took place in police stations and in the state security headquarters and those were the biggest targets of the revolution because there was a huge public outrage against their condemned practices. And there were a huge attack on these places especially with regards to the files kept by the state security, as there were indeed files for certain nurseries or certain organizations or certain schools and so on. Even on TV when they host someone from state security they describe him for example as the person in charge of universities, or the person in charge of religious universities, or the person in charge of leftist groups, or the person in charge of Egyptian files, and so on. So, it's like an octopus whose tentacles spread in all directions. And even while combatting terrorism in the 1990s, from the late 1980s till 1997 there were terrorist attacks like the ones we see now, the most famous of which was the Hatshepsut massacre in Deir AlBahri in Luxor. Anyone with a beard was considered a terrorist, and they were arrested for renewed periods, i.e. the person would by court and then their arrest order would be renewed, they would never see the sun, that's why people describe them as being "beyond the son", they wouldn't see the sun. They would forge orders, for example if the court sentenced a person to be detained until the 15th they issue a new order on the 14th, so the person is sent back to jail, until the number amounted to 15 thousand detainees, both political and criminal. It was a mess… do you want to wait until the call to prayer is finished? Because the sound is loud…
Nicola Pratt: Okay.
M.A: So, the state security had a file for almost every school. Every hospital had a file, very public department had a file. Every "individual activist" or someone who had a relative who was an "activist" had a file. That was interrupted during the revolution because the public outrage was directed to police stations and the state security as we said. To them as well as the ministry of interior; because they were nurtured in the course of 30 years under Mubarak's rule, that they were an invincible god or superpower who can crush the whole nation. But then the touch of violence was passed to Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, AKA the military police, who undertook the task of challenging the protestors and people in sit-ins and arresting girls from the square and subjecting them to virginity tests and all that. After that the ministry of interior started getting back sheepishly in late May - early June 2011, which means they barely operated, some police stations opened, others were still burned, even the traffic police who organized traffic, they would be standing there like wallpaper, people were making fun of them, and they didn't respond rudely as they did before. The traffic police used to impose taxes on people, forcing the people on the street to pay them money, especially the drivers of microbuses and whatnot, in exchange of not giving them a ticket, that used to happen on daily basis, that was the biggest violation by the traffic police, except when an officer attacked a citizen for refusing to pay, or got into a quarrel and humiliating the citizen, so things would escalate into a brawl and things like that. During that time, the ministry of interior as well as SCAF or the military police were present on the street, they didn't leave the ministry of interior on their own, until the events of Muhammad Mahmoud, the first one, there were two massacres at Muhammad Mahmoud, in 2011 and 2012. The ministry of interior gained more influence. After that came back the state security apparatus, the name was changed from state security to national security, that's how they responded to the revolution, they changed the name. And the slogan of the police was changed, "the slogan", instead of "the police and the people are at the service of the country" it became "the police is at the service of the people", that's how it was a long time ago, but it changed in Mubarak's days, they might as well have said "at Mubarak's service", but since the country is Mubarak it became "the police is at the service of the country". So, by the end of 2011 the slogan was changed again to "at the service of the people", as if saying: "we will torture you instead of letting you e tortured by someone else; we're at your service". The state security started trying to find their way back slowly, and their influence started to increase after the officials including the director of state security were acquitted in court, he was arrested with Habib Al-Adli during the events of the revolution. And they were all acquitted. The head of the apparatus Hassan Abdul Rahman was acquitted, and they filed lawsuits to get back in their positions and some of them won of course, since they were acquitted of the criminal charges of killing protestors, so that give them a morale boost and lifted up their spirits, thankfully, and things were back the way they used to be. That's a matter of old habits dying hard. So, they were old back to their old habits. The important test was what happened in the hotel and what happened when the Egyptians Center was raided, most of those involved were from the state security… so, all is good. Of course, the rest of prominent officials in Mubarak's regime were acquitted too, the only ones left are… Ala'a and Gamal are going to be acquitted, they are not facing criminal but corruption charges, so they would be acquitted just like they were acquitted in the "Pilots' land" trial. Ahmad Shafiq too of course, his case was "the pilots' land" which was (inaudible 07:51) and he was acquitted, so he can run for the presidential elections, and there are support campaigns for him on social media now. They are called "Mubarak's men" who didn't disappear out of the scene completely after the revolution, many of them were appointed in ministries, since Sharaf's government and until this day. So, the state security is regaining its status, and this is in fact the game that was played by SCAF since the beginning, that the revolution would get rid of the head of the regime but it will keep its components. They weren't protecting the people for the sake of God, they were there during the battle of the camels, there was footage proving they were there and they let the attackers get in with their camels and horses to beat the protesters in Tahrir square, on the 2nd and the 3rd of February. So, that's was it, and there was no political power - as the political, partisan and professional life had been shattered- that was qualified to form a real civil presidential council. So, Tantawi and SCAF did the math that they would keep the regime and its foundations, the economic, the political, and everything. And we still have that conflict, because we're still in a transitional period with various disturbances and strikes. One of the main things was that they were against political Islamism as the only organized power with Obama's blessings of course, because he's as smart as SCAF, that is to say just as stupid… they play all the time on the issue of political Islamist movements which is a stupid game, and Obama didn't learn his lesson, he didn't learn that the Americans went through a bitter experience in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, and that the American youth were thrown into a cause they had nothing to do with. Young men can die defending their country, but why would they die in a foreign land for a cause that is not theirs? It's insane, not only to Egypt but also to Americans. Why? But he doesn't learn, he is like Bush, I thought he would adopt the same policy but would play it more cleverly, since the day he became president, I wasn't one of the people who were happy that Obama assumed office, I have interviews with the German Television on the day he won, I told them that America isn't the Middle East, the president controls the situation; there is a policy for the state, but some play it stupidly while others play it cleverly. Bush Junior played it stupidly, because he really has limited intelligence, and he is reckless, and maybe Obama would play the same "game" because Israel is his first priority, the region for him and guarding the American interests depend on the existence of Israel in the Middle East. But I didn't imagine that he would be at this level of stupidity. So, he backed political Islamism and he still does. Even the limited times he retreated were the result of his doubting whether he backed the winning horse or not. Not the interests of the region or the interests of the Egyptian people, maybe here in the questions in the paper there is something about the American role, the American role has never worked for the interests of the peoples. Never. They have never taken into consideration the human rights agenda or the women rights agenda, never. And whenever the political agenda clashes with the rights agenda, the political agenda prevails. And all the tours Condoleezza Rice used to make in Mubarak's days regarding the issue of democracy, with promises that they needed the Egyptian airspace to strike Iraq, all which diminished with pressures for democracy. They wanted Mubarak to stay to keep the stability of the region, they didn't understand that Mubarak was the reason of the domestic unrests that could happen, their vision is so limited. So, they created a show about democracy and women rights and whatnot, and human rights, but when they needed the oil of Iraq the Democracy agenda was developed and they supported Mubarak again and Ms. Rice made less tours in the region. All during Mubarak's term, in fact, and things are still the same and he is doing the math, how to change the region in order to guard his personal interests and Israel's interests, which he calls "peace" but there is really no peace in that sense, there's nothing called peace and the Arab country which is a part of us, Egyptians in particular, Palestine, there is an apartheid wall and settlements and refugees denied the right of return and there is Gaza which is under siege all the time with no gas or food or medical materials, so there's no such thing as peace, what kind of peace is it that denies the rights of the indigenous people of the region? This is their land, even if people gave in to reality and a second generation came. Then let's live in one united secular country. How could they kill half the people, what kind of peace is that? I'm against this policy and I consider this mere pretense, whether it was regarding women rights or anything else, it's pretense, and I don't accept "double measures", as I told my colleagues before, he who hits his wife cannot defend the people, either you really believe in every person' right on this earth, not only Americans and Israelis, everyone on earth, to have their dignity and not to be killed in an unjust war, be it a civil war or an international war, like what happened in Iraq and what is happening in Syria, anywhere, or just stop talking, it's better that you keep silent, because this kind of people doesn't have credibility. Women around the world, in Egypt and elsewhere, can fight together for their rights. In Europe and America, American women without Obama, American feminists, European feminists, Asian feminists, African feminists, we can do that, we don't need your pretentious interventions… this is meant to go on the record, I don't have any problem with the American administration hearing this, even if I visited the States again and visited Amnesty next year, whether they will let me into the country or not. "I don't mind"… shall I remind you?
N.P: Can we talk about the revolution in the end of this interview?
M.A: Let's talk about the revolution in the end of this interview. We’ve been talking for more than two hours?
N.P: Yes
M.A: "2 hours", okay.
N.P: We can stop now if you have something else to do
M.A: No, I just had a "client" and I let Amani handle it, I took a leave so she took care of the client.
N.P: Go ahead
M.A: And, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006 I traveled with Suzan and we stayed for 10 days in Lebanon with a fellow center in the Torture Victims Network (Aman) which is a part of IRCD, or the "MENA region". We held training for the volunteers in the center, and we held a qualification program for teachers in the South before schools opened. And we visited the families and visited almost all the villages in Southern Lebanon, we held qualifying courses for psychologists and social workers to deal with war trauma, for both children and adults… during the civil war Suzan happened to be in Lebanon.
N.P: I hope I'll get to talk to her.
M.A: But she stopped coming, she has a problem… "her knee joint needs replacement". She's on a leave now. Do you want to talk about the revolution? What do you want to know about the revolution? We spoke a little bit about the revolution and how SCAF played it.
N.P: Do you want to say something else about your role in the revolution or your feelings?
M.A: No, I don't really have anything important to add, especially that... we talked about the preliminary role but as for the direct role, there were very few times when I acted as a revolutionary myself, I didn't practice that right except for very limited periods of time, my professional role compelled me to be a doctor, so I was all the time either in Al-Nadeem center or in the field hospital, there were hospitals in Tahrir square. So, my professional role kept me from being in the square most of the time to chant and feel those special moments which I've been dreaming of for years. It was a frustrating role, or rather painful not frustrating, due to all the injuries and serious injuries we had to see all the time on the roads and sidewalks, and that's too because the ambulances especially in the 18-day period would take the wounded people and arrest them instead of taking them to hospital; so we had to treat most of them on the street except serious injuries which we transferred in our own cars. So, January 28th and February 2nd were days that are very hard to forget; because wounded people were standing in lines, and people were sleeping on the streets surrounding the hospitals, and as a doctor you had to work in that atmosphere, there was no guarantee for "sterilization" or whatnot, the only thing that lifted up our spirits was the people, even those suffering severe fractures, we would give them temporary fixation for their legs and they would want to walk with that temporary fixation which could have been done with a stick or a piece of cardboard from the street. We didn't have enough gypsum available to fix the leg until we could get to a hospital. And they wanted to go back to the square, even young children. I was treating a child with a broken arm, he yelled at me: "Hurry up, I want to go back, you're taking so much time". He wanted me to fix his leg quickly, he didn't care about the pain of the fracture which is "very severe" for a 14 year-old boy, so that he could go back to the square. So, as soon as their injuries settled down a bit, in no more than 15 or 30 minutes they would be back in the square, and I couldn't practice that role myself a lot… I wanted to do that but I didn't have much time to do it, I managed to do it during the other days when there was less violence, so I could go to the square for some time, but on the days which witnessed major calamities and a lot of victims, I had to give priority to my humanitarian duty over the revolutionary one. One of the days I cannot forget in this revolution were the events of Maspero. I will never ever forgive SCAF for that, I saw the severe pain of victims in every incident which happened every month, but the events of Maspero left a deeper car, especially for those who were crushed to death by armored vehicles. I attended autopsies, the coroner's office here isn't independent, and in many cases such as Khaled Saeed's case where there were inaccurate examinations, so we attended the autopsies. I attended the autopsies of Maspero and it's too hard to forget or forgive, for the people who were leveled with the ground by the army's armored vehicles, to tell the truth. And whatever is said now about the people's relation with SCAF and having political Islamism as a common enemy, there is SCAF and military police, there is Hamdi Badeen who did this to Egyptian Christians. He crushed them with armored vehicles. There are things that cannot be forgotten and transitional justice must be done one day and all the crimes that were committed since the beginning of Mubarak's regime until the day transitional justice is served, with a real revolutionary government. Nobody would be suppressed… in order for a public reconciliation to happen too, and to turn a new page for real, people must settle the matters of blood. This bloodshed was caused by Tantawi and Anan, This bloodshed was caused by Hamdi Badeen, This bloodshed was caused by Mursi, This bloodshed was caused by Biblawi's government, all this blood is the same. The right of everyone who died, and the right of everyone who lost their eyes or legs or was crippled, or suffered "any disability" or was tortured, even the "discrimination" against Copts or women, all these are crimes all the same, including the "gender gap” between men and women which we're still living, these are crimes, all of this must be brought to justice one day, transitional justice isn't only for those who lost their lives. So, an "discrimination" that took place based on gender or color or social class, that half the nation is under the line of poverty, and they might not be able to afford food for themselves or their children, there is no income, no roof to protect them from sun or rain, these are crimes against these people, these must be brought to justice, even these, so that we can say that our revolution is really successful. I'm not saying that we failed yet, but when we have this kind of justice, to obtain the rights of the poor and the wounded and those who were assaulted by any state apparatus, to obtain the rights of the women who suffered injustice in this country, not in political participation, actually this is the last thing on the agenda, those who are beaten or raped or harassed or those who die from trafficking, those who are forced to sell their girls to Arabs, all these are crimes which will we brought to justice one day. If this book "will be published in English" it's important to send a message to the West and the American administration and the American people too, that nobody should be in a rush to see stability in Egypt, this won't happen overnight. Before the revolution there was this level of oppression in Egypt, which we talked about. There was the level of political brainwashing which we talked about, there weren't any fully prepared powers, there weren't real parties, these people who revolted need time to get back on their feet an organize themselves in parties, and to be able to form a revolutionary government which will avenge the rights of all the people living in this country, this really takes time. We will not win by a knock out strike, the Middle East is a politically brainwashed nation and the West and America were an accomplice in this brainwashing. So, they need to know very well that there is a country being built again. And to be built again it needs time. The French revolution needed a long time to achieve its goals, chaos reigned for a long time, and murders and executions continued for a long time, and scaffolds. It's true that we have a tough, bumpy road ahead of us, but we will reach our destination, there are many sacrifices that still have to be made. We still have a steep price to pay, until we get rid of a political regime as a whole, not only X and Y of its men. A political regime as a whole with its economic and political principles and its foreign relations and everything. So, don't rush us, don't worry about your interests, and don't make "compromises" at our expense. If anyone can support us with a kind word then they are welcome, we are not asking for anything more than that. If you have nothing good to say then it's better to keep silent. That's it. I exhausted you, I talk a lot.
N.P: Last question…
M.A: We're talking about 60 years of my life.
N.P: Last question, now under these hard circumstances, why is it important for you to continue working in the public field?
M.A: I have no choice. First, I was born like this, I never lived for myself, so the public concern is a part of my being. When I meet someone who can't afford to eat, I can't eat when I go home. I feel guilty to eat while others are not eating. God created me like this, ask God… the patriotic and humanitarian sense is something endowed by God. That's how God created me; I can't live any other way. If I wanted to do something lucrative and be a "very famous" doctor with a villa, a car and a building, I would've done that when I was young. Not when I'm 60, and if my main concern was "to gain money" but that is not my concern. (inaudible: 30:38) I don't own an apartment or a car and I have no cash in the bank. And I don't care at all. I couldn't care less if I bought new clothes or not. I don't care, what I care about

TAPE 5

Magda Adli: is whether I have a clear conscience or not, whether there are people who need me or not. People are still in need. Yes, people are still tortured. Yes, people are still dying from torture and by bullets. Yes, there is still excessive use of violence in protests. Yes, people still can't afford their daily bread. Yes, women are still being beaten and raped. We almost made no progress in all the "issues" which I am personally concerned about. This public concern is my personal concern. I have no choice. So, I wish one day I would be concerned with cats' rights because human rights will have been 100% fulfilled and everyone is fine all over the world, in Egypt and in Palestine, and in Europe and in Africa, no famines. Then I would die with a clear conscience. But as long as there is injustice in the world then someone needs to undertake the tasks… but unfortunately I will die before the world becomes this beautiful place.
Nicola Pratt: Don't say that
M.A: The world has become ugly… the West is nasty, why don't they compensate Africa and Somalia where people are dying for the colonial plunders that took place, why not? Isn't that a debt they have to pay back? Weren't all these countries occupied by European countries? Why don't they pay off their debts? Instead of leaving these people to starve to death and humiliating them with aids, this is a debt you have to pay off, you stole the minerals and the people and the economic resources of the third world countries in Africa and Asia, pay what you owe, apologize for the crimes you committed when you were colonizing them… instead of interfering with them more and seeking your nasty interest more. This is disgusting… that's it.
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