Shaimaa al-Sabbagh

On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the Egyptian uprising a young woman, Shaimaa al-Sabbagh was shot and killed while marking the anniversary with flowers at the place were it all began.

I ought to write activist rather than stating her gender, but she was caught on camera at the very moment she was being helped from the scene, one of her co-activists gripping her to carry her away. Man and woman opposing each other, each in his and her own pain and shock, vulnerable and yet so strong in their desperation at the realization. An icon from the instant it was caught on camera.

The very image has been brought to the streets, demonstrators taking on the pose of the two in Paris while their unity were made into a cut-out cardboard held above the heads of protestors in Cairo. And now it is a Khartoon too.

Khalid Wad Albaih has condensed them to the core of their unity, keeping the blood streaming on her cheek and down her hand, accentuating her delicate fingers stretched out in the shock, still in life and yet griveously barely so. She is dissolving into light, while he is grown all the darker trying with all his might to keep her in life. Their basis is constituted by the word Egypt.

It is stencil ready. May it find it its walls.

Khalid Wad Albaih, January 29, 2015.

The Khartoon shown is courtesy of Khalid Wad Albaih and must not be reproduced without his permission.

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