Understanding the so-called Egyptian Football Riot Events

Egypt is in a state of disarray and anarchy, with everyone pointing fingers at “invisible hands” that are attempting to destabilize the already fragile economy and push it past breaking point, saboteurs of the revolution. Everyone is being warned of the boogeyman hiding in the closet, the monster under the bed, or the demons in the night.

Since the start of the Revolution in Egypt, change has been at the forefront of demands. The rights to fair living, equal opportunity, respect and dignity as well as food are all basic human requirements which for the longest time were trampled beneath the Pharaoh-like boot of obedience.

Egyptians are no strangers to hired thugs, who for the longest time ran the purported “free elections” with iron wills and rods of steel.

What Egyptians are also no strangers to is hooliganism. Egypt has had its fair share of football violence, both locally and internationally. You will all remember the incident involving the Egyptian national team and their Algerian counterparts (World Cup 2010 qualifier). All will also remember how Jamal Mubarak, son of the now deposed Former President Mubarak and occupant of a cell at Torah prison, had vowed to send Egypt’s “Ultras” to defend the players as they went for one final match in Sudan.

That begets the question; who are the Ultras?

Ultras Ahlawy

Ultras is merely a descriptive term for “fanatics”, die-hard fans of football who support their teams with eagerness and fervor (their website is located here).

Like any organization in the 20th century, the Ultras no longer remained confined to the football pitch, instead they have diversified their interests, mainly into the field of politics.

During the revolution, and the many clashes with security forces near Tahrir Square, the Ultras served as Vanguards for the freedom fighters, a well organised, civilian army that fought back against the tyrannical onslaught of the Riot Police who fired mercilessly at the eyes of the protesters, blinding some, maiming others, and killing the rest in cold blood.

I was at Tahrir Square. I watched how the Ultras, identifiable only by their stout determination, fired bottle rockets at the Riot Police or picked up smoking canisters of tear gas and tossed them back from whence they came; protecting the revolution, egging it on. They put themselves at risk in hopes of aspiring to a better Egypt for all.

Carlos Latuff commemorates the fallen

As you can see, Jamal Mubarak once respected these individuals when their interests were aligned. Post revolution however, they are despised by the Old Regime and its remnants as all seek to merely crush and destroy them for having the audacity to stand up and say “enough”.

The Riot Police, clad in their black uniforms and waving their batons, are present during every football match, charged to guarantee the safety of the players and the spectators.

The Field Marshal claims these events can happen anywhere, whereas the Head of FIFA condemns the violence, and the likes of Bayern Munich & Barcelona had a minute of silence for the victims

That however, was the biggest mistake; asking the Riot Police to defend the very faction that heavily opposed to them. Any human being with a shred of hatred in their heart and unsubstantiated delusions of grandeur would never accept that.

So they allowed the opposing teams “supporters”, who had in their midst several thugs, to attack the Ultras team, mercilessly. Children and men were equally dealt killing blows, dropped from the bleachers, beaten with blunt objects. The gate near the Ultras (Al-Ahly’s supporters) were locked, ensuring they would not escape the cold hands of the Old Regime.

Using Al-Masry’s (Port Said’s team) fans was merely an excuse to re-educate the Ultras.

Some might ask, why now? Al-Ahly has had plenty of matches previously, why was this vengeance not extracted earlier?

Simply put: Irony. The Old Regime is no stranger to Irony. They chose that day specifically as it coincides with the events referred to as the “Camel event” of Feb 2011, where the peaceful protestors in Tahrir Square were stampeded by camel-riding thugs. Later, video footage emerged that showed the Presidential Guard, bedecked in their red-helmets, allowed the passage of these camel-riding murderers into Tahrir Square.

So far, in terms of demands, non of the initial demands of the Revolution have been met. Instead, they merely cordoned the corrupt heads in one area, the only impregnable area in Egypt, the most secure to date despite the absence of security everywhere else. The trials are being postponed and elongated unnecessarily, as if the Egyptian people are bound to forget in time who these murderers are, and they shall be allowed to walk away, scotch free.

I am not saying the army masterminded this catastrophe, they did not do their part to protect the innocents at the football stadium. They stood by and watched, some even had the audacity to take out their camera phones and record

Kid yourselves not; this was never a situation where football fanatics merely lost their temper and took it to far, it was premeditated. How else would one explain the absence of Key Port Said authority figures, who to date never missed a match in their lives, on this very day?

What happened at Port Said last week was no more than a simple, clear and precise statement to the Egyptian population. Your saviors, your Ultras, these unabashed football fanatics, are no match for the Old Regime that has seeped like a cancer into the very depth of Egyptian Society. If you cut off one head, two more shall grow to take its place like a hydra. The former president may have been deposed, however, so long as he remains untried, and as the rest of his regime remain at their 5* prison resort, equipped with cell phones, internet and what not, the Old Ways shall forever remain.

Our hearts go out to the families of the victims. May your loss not be in vain.

Free Egypt.

Mourning the senseless murder of the innocents

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