Lama Abdel Barr & Masooma Kadhem
Members of the AUC community held a memorial service on Sunday Feb. 5 in the Bartlett Plaza to mourn the death of Omar Mohsen, an economics student meant to graduate this month, who passed away during the massacre that took place in Port Said Stadium on Wednesday Feb. 1.
Among the attendees were the family of the deceased, his friends as well as the university administration, faculty members, staff members and members of the student body and student government.
The memorial began with one minute of silence. President Lisa Anderson’s speech then inaugurated the service and was followed by several other speeches by key speakers.
“Omar died accomplished, respected, and as this large and diverse crowd shows, greatly loved,” Anderson stressed in her speech.
Anderson announced that Mohsen’s memory will be honored in the upcoming February 2012 graduation ceremony. She also mentioned the possibilities of establishing an annual award and scholarship for athletic achievement in his name, as well as naming a classroom in his memory and taking effective legal action to convey the university’s outrage at the “entirely needless deaths of so many of Egypt’s youth.”
“He is still present among us and we will honor him in keeping faith with his spirit. Let his aspirations be etched in the legacy of his university and the landscape of his country,” concluded Anderson.
Other notable speakers included the dean of the School of Business Dr. Sherif Kamel, the associate dean for undergraduate studies in the School of Business Dr. Karim El-Sagheer, the founder of the Workers’ Independent Syndicate Waleed Shebl, and a few of Mohsen’s close friends.
Dr. Kamel noted that Mohsen was passionate not only about football, but also about many different causes. Dr. El Sagheer, who was Mohsen’s professor in two math courses, remarked on how he was a “great asset” to his class.
Mohsen was commended by the different speakers for his athletic excellence, passionate character, and prominent role in the workers’ and student strike last semester.
Ahmed El Melligy, one of Mohsen’s good friends, quoted the last song that Mohsen sang at the sports stadium on this day of his death, ending with the chant, “freedom, freedom, freedom,” after which the crowd at the memorial broke into a collective chant against military rule.
Mohamed Swelim, another one of Mohsen’s close friends, asserted that “Omar did not die, Omar was killed.” Swelim then called upon student Ali Abdel-Hafez to lead a prayer for Omar, the martyrs, and Egypt.
A collective prayer for the deceased concluded the service. After the prayer, Mohamed Nabhan, Mohsen’s colleague, took the floor on behalf of his fellow graduating seniors to propose a number of commemorations. These entailed the screening of a documentary about Mohsen at the graduation, the inscription of Mohsen’s name on the diplomas, and the renaming of the Suzanne Mubarak Hall to Omar Mohsen Hall. Student Union President Ahmed Alaa affirmed these proposals, adding that Anderson agreed on a preliminary basis to dedicate an on-campus mosque in Mohsen’s memory.
Nabhan explained to The Independent that “there is nothing that could be done to honor him (Mohsen). May he rest in peace.”
The event was organized as a collaborative effort between the students, administration, Student Union, and the Workers’ Syndicate. Ranya Boraie, director of university events, deemed the memorial service “very successful,” and was pleased to see a “large number of attendees.”
Rana Abdel Wahad, an undeclared freshman, expressed her content with today’s atmosphere of solidarity: “I hope that this feeling (of solidarity) remains,” she added.