Today, this poem of mine, “Don’t Call It a Coup, Just Sing Tralala,” is up on New Verse News, a wonderful site that publishes poetry which responds to news or current events.
A link from an article in the Telegraph reporting on the systematic use of rape by Egyptian security forces under president Al-Sisi appears over the poem.
I’ve been reading about the horrific abuses perpetrated by the Egyptian police and other “security forces” in Arabic-language news programs for some time, so it’s about time that the human rights organization’s report detailed and documented some of these atrocities, in which women and also men of all ages are routinely subjected to rape and sexual humiliation, often in front of others, including their husbands or other relatives, as a means of suppressing protest. (More articles, if interested.)
The gay community is also targeted for this sexual abuse and humiliation. Men, women, and children are also frequently tortured in other ways as well.
The courts are no longer involved in a “system of justice,” but rather take a list of completely invented and often absurd charges, a common one being terrorism and attacks on security forces, and give these charges to the judge who routinely either prolongs their stay in jail, prevents access to a lawyer, arrests the lawyer and subjects him to the same abuse, or simply gives a “guilty” verdict on the charges with no evidence, legitimate hearing or other due process. Death sentences are issued regularly on these baseless charges and then carried out within a day or two of the judgment. A young student, for example, was executed for a crime alleged to have occurred in the street at a time in which he was incarcerated.
Sisi and his government ordered these abuses to occur, evidenced by the fact that he continually praises the security forces who are never held accountable for anything, and that such widespread and almost inevitable routine abuse cannot occur on that scale without government complicity.
Although I normally post poetry and articles about poetry, this unbearable situation is beyond politics. The U.S. does not call the military takeover a coup, not even after the subsequent installation of Sisi with dictatorial powers that might make even Mubarak squirm just a little. By not calling it a coup, the US is able to continue funding Egypt’s military and security forces. Hence the title of the poem, “Don’t Call It a Coup, Just Sing Tralala.” And look the other way. So much for democracy, support for democracy movements or human rights, so much for women’s rights or gay rights or the right of students to have an education without being summarily pulled out of classes or examinations to be shot in the head, raped, or humiliated.
The repetend, “Pull down your pants!” Is taken from a report (in Arabic, on a “talk show” type program) in which several young (teenaged) men discussed their arrest and the abuse they endured, which left them psychologically traumatized as one could easily see. They reported that upon entering the police station, the first words they were greeted with were “Pull down your pants!” After which they were sexually humiliated and abused in front of others. These were young men going about heir own business. Those words were reported to be the usual “greeting” all arrested people heard at the police station.
If it happened once, it’s horrific. If it happens systematically, the entire government is guilty of crimes against their own people. In fact, my opinion is that the Sisi government, being a police state and military government, needs a war, and has started a war——against the Egyptian people, especially young people, women and gays, and people of the Islamic faith. Does he think he will please the West or the Christian world by this? As long as we look the other way and sing Tralala…