The process of investigating and uncovering the extent of State Security’s involvement with AUC, was long and frustrating.
When we interviewed Ashraf Kamal, the head of security on campus, he was extremely friendly initially. But when we began to ask questions he didn’t expect, regarding Hossam El-Hamalawy (also known as 3arabawy), he took a different tone and basically kicked us out, ending the interview abruptly but politely.
It is regrettable how students demand transparency, but now, regardless of whom we speak to, there are never straight answers to our questions.
This investigative story opened our eyes into something we initially thought was boring. But what we learnt is that digging deep to uncover the truth is one of the most rewarding things a true journalist can achieve.
That is exactly what the most enterprising, inspirational blogger and activist, 3arabawy, helped us realize. What we didn’t know was that our interview with him would alter, as well as create some of the most life-changing views we had when it came to politics, and of course, AUC’s administration.
Working on this story helped reveal how many university policies we were completely oblivious to, and made us realize the importance of questioning and investigating the practices of this institution. Our work also highlighted the importance of transparency as a democratic right.
When we met with 3arabawy, we realized through his experience how the State Security apparatus is inhuman and deserved to be not only restructured, but completely destroyed. We personally do not think anyone should have to live with his freedom hindered by this institution.
If 3arabawy was tortured, and if as he said AUC officials had a hand in it, then the university needs to investigate this serious allegation and proceed to establish a mechanism that ensures the institution is not used to intimidate anyone.