Left with scars and trauma, Rabaa, Ramses injured say they will never forget

An Anadolu Agency correspondent toured several hospitals to interview those wounded in the two bouts of violence, but only one hospital allowed her in. Many interviewees gave only their first names in fear of being targeted by the security services.

Left with scars and trauma, Rabaa, Ramses injured say they will never forget

World Bulletin/News Desk

Scattered throughout various Cairo hospitals, protesters who survived last week's violence in Rabaa al-Adawiya and Ramses squares with serious injuries believe they might recuperate from the physical injuries they sustained but will never recover from the trauma of what they have seen.

An Anadolu Agency correspondent toured several hospitals to interview those wounded in the two bouts of violence, but only one hospital allowed her in. Many interviewees gave only their first names in fear of being targeted by the security services.

"People were falling around me like leaves in fall," Mohamed, a university student, remembers bitterly as he lays in Azhar Hospital in Cairo.

"Most injuries I saw were gunshot wounds to the head or neck… and when I tried to rescue a wounded man, I was shot," he recalls.

Mohamed was one of thousands of protesters at Rabaa al-Adawiya who had camped out for weeks to demand the reinstatement of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and reject the latter's July 3 ouster by the military – a move pro-Morsi groups say was a military coup.

Egypt's new military-backed authorities, however, describe pro-Morsi sit-ins as a "threat to national security" and have mandated the interior minister to take "all necessary measures" to disperse them – which the ministry did on August 14.

"Bullets whizzed over our heads. I was shot in the stomach and the bullet went through my back, leaving me paralyzed in one leg. Also, a part of my liver was cut," Mohamed recounts tearfully.

The bloody August 14 crackdown by security forces on the two pro-Morsi camps left hundreds dead and thousands injured. At least 288 of those killed had been in the larger of the two protest sites in Rabaa, while 90 were killed during the dispersal of a smaller camp at Giza's Nahda Square near Cairo University.

However, the official death toll remains far below that given by the pro-Morsi National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, which has put the number of deaths from the Rabaa sit-in alone at some 2,600.

Another Mohamed, 35, was recovering from multiple burns and shotgun injuries. "I holed up under the main stage in Rabaa until noon, as I was told that all entries were under fire," he said.

"When I tried to approach one of the 'safe exits' – as they were described by security forces – I was shot in the leg and fell to the ground. Three people around me were killed on the spot," he laments. "Minutes later, we came under fire from an armored vehicle."

"A bullet took off three fingers of my left hand and another went through my chest and my neck before a barrage of chemical substance burned my hand and one side of my face," he adds.

"I laid on the ground bleeding for more than one hour before someone came to the rescue and carried me to the hospital," he recounts.

Horrific scenes of the "Rabaa massacre" – including the burning of the square's field hospital when it still housed dozens of bodies – drove thousands of protesters to take to Ramses Square, in central Cairo, two days later. Yet that led to another round of violence, leaving dozens more pro-Morsi protesters dead before the day was out.

"I decided to go to Ramses to protest on Friday," said one man from Upper Egypt, who asked not to be named. "My 16-year-old nephew was staying in Rabaa with his mother, to protect her. During the dispersal, he was shot in the head and his body was burnt in the field hospital," he says.

"We buried him on Thursday and I didn't offer condolences to my sister. I decided to come to Cairo because what happened to my nephew was so outrageous," he adds.

"I was shot in the legs and am currently awaiting surgery," he says.

Next to him was 25-year-old Omar, whose family was trying relentlessly to lower his temperature, which had risen to 40.

"It was the second time that I went to a protest, since I'm not really into demonstrations," he told AA. "But when I saw children and women being murdered in Rabaa, I decided to go to Ramses on Friday."

"I saw people from all segments of the Egyptian public, not only Muslim Brotherhood members. Even Christians were there, protesting against the excessive violence [used by security forces]," he recalls. "After Friday prayers, security forces opened fire at us and I was shot twice."

Amr went through a similar ordeal. "During the protests in Ramses, an armored vehicle opened fire at us. I was shot in the thigh before being carried to Al-Fath Mosque for medical attention," he says.

Meanwhile, Khaled, who was lucky enough to survive the Rabaa crackdown unharmed, was shot in the leg while carrying injured fellow protesters to the Ramses field hospital.

"We were peaceful. There were people from all walks of life, not just from the Brotherhood," Khaled says.

"People took to the streets because bodies were burnt in Rabaa – an outrageous crime. No one with a conscience can simply stand by as people are being killed, tortured and burnt," he asserts.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Ağustos 2013, 18:26
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