Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1168, (10 - 16 October 2013)
Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Issue 1168, (10 - 16 October 2013)

Ahram Weekly

No regrets

Khaled Dawoud, spokesperson of the liberal Dostour Party and victim of a knife attack last week, tells Mohamed Abdel-Baky about his ordeal

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Al-Ahram Weekly

“It was the worst day of my life. I thought it was the end,” said Khaled Dawoud on Tuesday. Speaking from his bed at Al-Qasr Al-Aini Hospital Dawoud, who is an assistant chief editor of Al- Ahram Weekly, tells how he struggled between life and death after being attacked by pro-Muslim Brotherhood assailants on Friday.

Having survived the attack, Dawoud says he has no regrets about adopting an anti-government stance in the wake of the violent dispersal of Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo and Giza.

Dawoud, who acted as the spokesperson of the National Salvation Front (NSF) for less than a year, resigned from the post after members of the NSF praised the role of security forces in ending the sit-ins.

Though Dawoud says the attack was opportunistic rather than planned he blames the Muslim Brotherhood for turning their young supporters towards violence. 

 

After Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked you do you still feel any sympathy towards them?

I believe that killing any Egyptian is a red line. I am totally with any Egyptian pressing for his or her demands regardless of political affiliation. I disagree with the Muslim Brotherhood and urge its members to stop any escalation and cancel plans for future protests. They have to stop mobilising young people against society if they are to avoid radicalising them. I think the Muslim Brotherhood has to stop its policy of spreading fear and intimidation. They have to understand the lessons of history. Groups which resorted to violence ended nowhere.

 

Do you think the Muslim Brotherhood will accept reconciliation?

I do not call for reconciliation with people who committed crimes. On the contrary, those elements should be prosecuted and face a fair trial. That said, the political process must include all political groups. It is illogical to exclude a group as big as the Muslim Brotherhood. There is no reason to resort to arbitrary violence against any political force. This will accomplish nothing. We want a political system that respects the rule of law.

I was vocal in my opposition to the use of force in ending the pro-Morsi sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Nahda Square in August because it threatened reconciliation and put Egyptians’ lives at risk. I am not about to change my mind because of the attack. Human blood is precious. This is why we had a revolution. We want Egyptians to live for the sake of the country, not to die for it.

 

What do you think of the Muslim Brotherhood’s official reaction to the incident?

A delegation representing Islamist parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, visited me in hospital. They apologised for what happened. They also stressed that they back peaceful protests and urge all their members to do the same. But I will not withdraw the complaint I filed against their supporters who attacked me. Anyone who commits a crime must be held accountable.

 

So you accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of the attack…

Yes, I put the blame on the Muslim Brotherhood for promoting escalation. I urge them to stop their protests for a week if they are really seeking a comprehensive reconciliation process.

 

How did you end up driving in the middle of a Muslim Brotherhood protest?

I was at the Downtown area and heading to my uncle in Maadi. Most of the streets were closed because of the Muslim Brotherhood protests. I decided to go via Al-Mounira district to escape the traffic. There a group, around 10 or more, I can’t be sure, of the Muslim Brotherhood supporters came towards me and said ‘this is the spokesperson of the National Salvation Front, he is an infidel and should be killed’. I tried to drive away but the street was closed. They followed me and broke the car windows before one stabbed my left side with a knife. Another group started to punch me in the face. Another guy told me ‘we will cut off your hands’ and started sawing my left hand back and forth. After a few minutes bystanders came to my rescue, but the Muslim Brotherhood members said ‘this guy’s hand is full of our blood, of the ones who were killed in Rabaa’.

After a while local residents were able to break up the mob and capture the man with the knife. He is now detained by prosecution order for 15 days.

 

How was it at the hospital?

It was a miserable day. There was no ambulance and I had to walk for 10 minutes to the Students Hospital in Sayeda Zeinab district. Every step I took I thought I was going to die. I was bleeding all over my body. The hospital doctors transferred me to Al-Qasr Al-Aini where I had two operations, the first to stop the bleeding and the second to restore the ligaments and nerves in my hand.

 

After the attack, do you regret calling for reconciliation?

No. I still believe that there should be investigations into the killing of Egyptians, including what happened at Rabaa Al-Adaweya and the killing of Egyptian soldiers in Sinai. There should be a process of transitional justice in Egypt to secure a political process based on justice, equality and the rule of law. I can sacrifice my life for these principles. One attack will not stop me.

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