At Cairo morgue, families of Port Said Stadium victims blame authorities

The bodies of 51 of the 71 people killed at Port Said stadium on Wednesday are now inside the Zeinhom Morgue in Cairo’s Sayeda Zeinab neighborhood. Outside the building, the lamentations of mothers whose sons went to cheer at a football match and never came back mix with angry cries against military rule as many hold the military junta accountable for the deaths.

The clashes started when fans of Port Said’s Masry team attacked fans of the opposing Ahly team following Masry's 3-1 victory.

Zeinhom Morgue was chaotic as the families entered restricted areas and most doctors stayed in their offices, refusing to perform autopsies out of fear of the crowd, according to an employee in the morgue.

The brother of two of the victims walked around the morgue banging his head against the walls and repeating, “They killed both my sisters. The whole gang has to be hanged.”

The wedding of Iman, 25, was planned for Friday. Her younger sister Aya, 22, was supposed to get married next month. Her brother Ahmed said both were killed by live fire. 

“I blame the National Democratic Party, it’s the one that is destroying the country,” said Ahmed, referring to the dismantled former ruling party, echoing a widely held belief that the stadium violence was orchestrated by the enemies of the revolution.

“Only god is with me now,” says Ahmed, who says he has given up on justice after watching the prosecution of those who killed protesters in the early days of the revolution drag on for over a year.

Zeinhom Morgue has become the site of frequent collective mourning, where families of victims gather after violent incidents that have been breaking out on a monthly basis for the last year.

Families of the martyrs who died in clashes with security forces in the last months while protesting for the completion of the revolution's demands often consoled themselves with the fact that their loved ones died for a higher cause. But today, the mourners were tormented by the futile deaths of their beloved, repeating in disbelief, “They were going to a football game.”

The mothers of victims were inconsolable as they stood together in a sea of black, each one calling out her dead son’s name, reciting his traits and crying over her plans for him that were cut short.

The mother of Ahmed Taher, a 16-year-old student who was killed in the events, clutched his legs covered in a black bag, crying, “He’s 16, he hasn’t lived yet, he was my everything.”

Members of the usually loud Ultras Ahlawy group were unrecognizable as they leaned on each other, unable to stand up straight, while some curled up in the corners of the morgue crying over their lost compatriots.

An overwhelming belief among the mourners that the clashes that killed their loved ones were orchestrated was reflected in the cries of anger against the military and the government that rang out in the morgue.

“We will show you what we will do; we will get back at you for killing our sons and burning our hearts,” cried Abdel Moneim Khalifa, who was in the morgue to receive the body of his nephew, 22–year-old Ahmed Ismail, after his father went to Port Said to look for him when he heard about the events in the stadium.

“I blame this on all the people who are after money and power — how could they let this happen? They should do something, anything,” said Khalifa as he stood in the middle of the bodies lined up in the morgue.

Related Articles

Back to top button