Wasi wanted to meet Bela for one reason and one reason only, and that was to find out what had happened to Asim at Tahrir Square earlier that month. Bela was on duty on Talaat Harb Street the evening when Asim was killed and promised Wasi to tell him the exact details of the unrest that took place in downtown Cairo during that time. The only thing that mattered to Wasi was to know and understand what Asim had been fighting for. However what he didn’t know was how vulnerable and naïve Asim had really been, thinking that he could change Egyptian society to be more liberal and accepting at a time when he himself didn’t fully understand who he really was. All he knew was that he was a young homosexual man that wanted people to accept him for who he really is, but that wasn’t the society in which he lived in and he wanted to change that, but at a cost that had left his family heartbroken and torn apart.
After more than an hour’s drive through the cramped suburbs of Cairo, the two had finally reached the city centre where gun shots could be heard echoing through the streets along with the cries of women and children. Another police station had been burned down the day before and most traffic routes were restricted with military and police forces operating at checkpoints every hundred metres. By midday, the two had finally arrived at Bela’s apartment not too far from Tahrir Square where hundreds of thousands of people were demonstrating against the government. The situation was complex and Wasi didn’t know what all this fighting would lead to. He just wanted everything to stop, and to bring back his brother, but that was never going to happen.
The moment they arrived in the apartment, Bela asked Wasi to drop his belongings in the sitting room and accompany him to Talaat Harb Street where as promised, he would provide him with the answers that he longed for. Without much hesitation Wasi agreed, dropped his bag in the sitting room of the apartment and left immediately with Bela. The moment they went out of the apartment block, a black van was waiting outside for them. Wasi was first to get in, and as soon as he stepped in, a strong blow from the side made him fall unconscious…
Wasi had woken up in a large and beautifully constructed marble hall that he had never been in or ever seen. After a few brief seconds he adjusted his eyes and realised that he was in a mosque. He heard or saw no one but himself. What he did notice was that he was wearing a large vest and that he was tied up to one of the main pillars. He couldn’t move and his legs felt paralysed. Immediately he began examining the environment around him in order to escape and noticed a small brown sheet of paper lying beside his left knee which had something written on it. As Wasi knelt down to see what it was, he began reading the words out loud. It said: ‘ As the last beams of sunlight fall upon this mosque, you shall meet your own fate. Yours, Bela.’ Grasped by what he had just read, Wasi immediately entered a state of panic, but before he could do anything about it, the bomb was set off. The main columns and pillars of the hall began to cripple and soon the entire building had collapsed; transforming from a work of art into a heap of rubble within minutes. What had happened was horrific and there was virtually no chance of Wasi surviving….
Shortly afterwards the medical, police and fire brigades units had arrived. After six hours they finally saw Wasi’s body hidden under the rubble and immediately put all their efforts into trying to get him out, even though they suspected him to be the ‘terrorist’ behind such a horrible event. After half an hour they were able to rescue him and he was immediately sent to the nearest hospital in the district. When he arrived, he was rushed to the surgical unit where his parents were already waiting for him. The police had informed them of what had happened when they were able to identify Wasi’s body under the rubble and they rushed to the hospital themselves by bus. The moment Wasi’s mother saw his injured body, she began to cry and screamed, while his father held her firmly. No one knew whether Wasi was going to survive or not. He had lost both of his legs and was in a serious coma. The blanket with which he was covered was already soaked with blood, and yet the doctors hoped to save his life. It was almost four o’clock in the morning at that stage, and his parents were waiting patiently in one of the empty hospital waiting rooms. They were unable to stop crying and a letter in the mother’s hand was already soaked from tears. It was from Bela, who explained everything and why he did what he did. He left the letter in their apartment shortly after the estimated time of explosion. The contents of it were so dark, that it was painful to read it more than once, but Wasi’s mother had the courage to read it a second time. His fine penmanship screamed violently into her eyes: ‘It is and has been my duty to protect the people of Egypt ever since I was recruited, and today, just like Asim’s death, was no exception. I did what I did to save our people from acts of treason against my belief of conservatism. By witnessing the bombing of one of our most scared buildings mankind will come to terms with the need of complete obedience in our country to avoid the countless, yet worthless deaths on our streets. Yours, Bela.’ As Wasi’s mother read it for a second time, she was no longer able to hold in her emotions and she cried, and screamed stronger than ever. Bela was her godson and she had never believed the rumours that had circulated around Bela, but they seemed to have been all true. His charismatic personality and cunning mind-set had persuaded a large group of individuals within the police department to spark national unrests in an effort to remove the president of Egypt. They dreamed of establishing a more conservative society free of individuals like Asim, whom Bela had always regarded as a threat because of his homosexuality. Wasi’s mother could not believe that it was Bela who was responsible for Asim’s death and that he then used Wasi to further his own interests. It was an act of cruelty and hatred that she never wanted to bear the feeling of ever again.
At seven am that morning, the doctors had finally come out of the operating theatre. They didn’t need to say anything about Wasi’s state to the parents; they only said that they could finally come in to see him. It was clear by their blank faces that there was no longer anything that they could do. As they walked in, the horrible silence could once again be felt, just like the previous morning. As they approached Wasi’s body they could see that he was still alive, but not for long. His bruised and bloodied face was trying as hard as it could to recreate a sort of smile when he saw his parents. Never in his entire life did he feel happier to see them and for the first time in several months his green emerald eyes had a spark of optimism in them. His mother knelt beside his bed and cried into his arm. After several minutes she got the courage to speak to him. She asked him, ‘Why did everything happen this way, just why?’. He turned to look into her amber eyes slowly and replied, ‘I don’t know. There were some things in life beyond my control, but I wanted to learn what my brother wanted to achieve by protesting and why he did so, even if it meant being vulnerable. I am proud of Asim and his perseverance to fight for what he believed in and so should you. People who can’t throw something important away, can never hope to change anything and to love you, father, society and the world around us meant being vulnerable. He fought for a better life, for a more equal and liberal society free of individuals like Bela, and I fought alongside him, even if I wasn’t aware that I would always be by his side.’ She grasped him by his arm even harder and began to cry more violently than ever before. She looked him in his eyes one more time but it was too late. Wasi had passed away…
By Vladyslav Medvensky