On Feb. 1, 2012, a tragic incident occurred which left the entire AUC community as well as all of Egypt and the international football and political communities in grief and disbelief. Omar Aly Saad Mohsen, an economics student set to graduate this month, fell victim to the violence that broke out during the Al Ahly vs. Al Masry football match in Port Said.
Although it is uncertain exactly what caused the violence to break out, many blame the ruling military junta for conspiring against Al-Ahly’s strong and highly political fan base known as “Ultras” who were present at the match, as well as the passive police forces who allowed mysterious men to enter the stadium carrying weapons and reportedly incited violence between the two sets of fans.
In an effort to “calm” the people, security turned off the stadium lights which only escalated the violence and resulted in more chaos and injuries as fans trampled one another and even went so far as to throw each other off the stadium benches. Among the estimated 79 or more deaths was Omar Mohsen, known by his friends as “Mogrem.”
To his friends, Mohsen was a true inspiration not only as a person, but as a student activist who stood up for the rights of others. His involvement in the Jan. 25 protests as well as the AUC workers’ strikes showed his dedication to his country and his university. Mohsen was known to lead his peers and was an inspiration to all who knew him.
Nada Badrawy, an economics senior and long-time friend of Mohsen, explained that he was “an amazing friend; he was always smiling and very happy. Always seen laughing even when he was mad. This is Omar.”
One of his friends explained that Mohsen’s entire life revolved around football. He played for the university team and was a huge fan of Egypt’s Al-Ahly team and a member of the Ultras. When he mentioned he wanted to attend the game, his friend warned him about going for safety reasons to which Mohsen replied that safety is indeed an issue; however he believed nothing compares to watching your favorite team playing in front of your eyes. This shows the extent of Mohsen’s devotion when it came to something he loved.
Mohammed Essam, a journalism junior, participated in the campus-wide strikes alongside Mohsen and explained that his presence at the football match was a last-minute decision. He was originally planning to go out with his friends; however he canceled and told them he wanted to support his favorite team by attending the match.
Unfortunately, the game ended in unimaginable turmoil from which most are still struggling to recover.
Badrawy shared the thoughts she had when news of Mohsen’s disappearance first emerged.
“We were hoping that he would come back. We knew that he was coming back. I was waiting for the phone call when I would call him and say ‘Omar what did you do to us, where were you,’ you know. And then I came back with the shock that that’s it he’s gone,” she recalls.
Both Essam and Badrawy agree that the violence that occurred in the stadium was not coincidental, but orchestrated by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF).
On the day following the unfortunate news of Mohsen’s passing, students held a prayer service during assembly hour, after which they began chanting against military rule and gathering together in a march across campus.
Even though he is no longer physically present among us, Mohsen will forever remain in students’ hearts. His work and efforts in improving the AUC community will never be forgotten and will hopefully be continued in the same strong and inspirational manner he showed.
Badrawy reflects on his passing: “(He is) a person who just went to watch a match, and then he never came back again. This is very depressing, this is unbelievable. Whatever reasons are given for what happened in last Wednesdays football match, they will never justify the loss of our dear student Omar, or any of the other victims.”