Torture and police, what now?

AlJazeera English Inside Story aired a 25 minutes interview with psychiatrist Dr. Ahmed Okasha, Hisham Safie Eldin a former police officer and Wael Omar a film maker about torture and the relationship between people and the police.

The program showed some footage of police officers and policemen protesting in the past few days. But didn't interview anyone from El Nadim centre for rehabilitation of victims of torture, which is the only centre in Egypt that worked in psychological and medical rehabilitation of victims of torture and police violence, documented incidents of torture through tens of publications and provides legal aid n(I worked there for 3 years).

Not even anyone from any human rights organisation who may have worked with victims of torture was interviewed.

This made the program overlook many aspects of why torture is systematic in the country and didn't mention any of the reports of torture in the hands of the military police that are being reported in the past few weeks.

Dr. Okasha attributed the problems to lack of trust between people and the police due to the previous practices of the police in the past. And that some officers enjoyed the torture as a form of sadism. He also went on saying that torture is enjoyable to torturers because of opiates released in the brain and so on.

تفجيرات الأسكندرية

مش عارف أرتب اللي عايز أقوله أو التفكير بوضوح بعد تفجير اليوم.

صور ما بعد الأنفجار تذكرني ببغداد.

ساعات من الرعب والهلع في مطلع عام جديد. صدمة.

هل العمل في التوعية في الموضيع الغير مثيرة للجدل مثل التعذيب هو تضييع وقت؟ بمعنى الناس كلها في أغلب الوقت متفقة على أن التعذيب يجب أن ينتهى وأنه بمجرد تغيير سيحدث قريبا أو بعيدا قد تحل المشكلة بشكل كبير؟ هل من الأهم العمل على التوعية بأهمية المواطنه والمساواه بين أصحاب الأديان المختلفة وتقبل الآخر؟ أم كل القضايا مهمه؟

من جهة أخرى حيوانات الحكومة التي لا تمل من خلق قصص مؤامرة وإتهام الموساد أو أمريكا أو أي حد عنده مصلحه.

وأنت ركز قبل إتهام جهة ممكن تكون ليها مصلحة. فكر كده هل هناك دليل على هذا؟ هل إستخدام العنف دائما خلفة مصلحة؟ هل هناك فعلا من يهتم بتفرقة المصريين عن بعض؟ هل هم محبين لبعض جدا؟ هل أعطوا بعض كل الحقوق؟ هل لا يتكلمون عن بعض بالسلب من وراء بعض؟ هل هم مختلطين جدا في كل النشاطات الاجتماعية؟

أقترح البعض حضور المسلمين قداس العيد مع المسحيين، ولكن هل هذا لائق في مثل هذه الأوقات؟ وهل هذا ما يريدون؟ أم هو تطفل عليهم في وقت خاص. فلم نفعل ذلك في أي وقت من قبل هل نتذكر الآخر فقط عندما تحدث الكوارث؟

هل نلوم الحكومة؟ فهي مقصرة بدرجة إجرامية في حق الأقليات (والأغلبية) أم هل نلومها لفشلها في تأمين الناس؟ الحكومة كانت المسئول الأول والمباشر عن أحداث العمرانية. لكن هذه المرة هل لوم الحكومة هو رد فعل مشروع؟ أم انتهازي؟ فالأرهاب صعب منعه بدون العمل على جذوره.

هل يعني لوم الحكومة لفشلها في تأمين الناس أنك تطالب بقوات أمن أكثر واجرائات أمنية وقوانين صارمة ومضيقة أكثر؟

أم ﻷنها تستثمر وقتها في القبض على النشطاء وتعذيبهم والمنع والتضييق على التظاهرات السلمية؟

صح العادلي مسؤول ومبارك وكل ده. فين تصريحات و أسف عمرو خالد لما حدث؟ فين مصطفى حسني، محمود حسان، الحويني، وكل الشيوخ الي بيروح يسمعلهم الآف من الشباب ويصلوا خلفهم وفاكرين أنهم علماء بجد ومهمين في حياتهم وبيرشدوهم؟

Zaha Hadid's Cairo Expo City will destroy Egypt's largest and most important Mental Health Hospital

UPDATE Wed. Dec 29, 2010:The Supreme Council for Antiquities announced today that building housing the Abbaseyya Psychiatric Hospital will be listed as an Islamic heritage site.

UPDATE Mon. Apr 18, 2010:
The designs changed on Zaha's website to include the hospital. Thanks to Luiz for the tip.

Original post:

Award winning Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid will help the Egyptian government destroy Egypt's largest mental health hospital, the Abassia hospital situated in the middle of Cairo, to build something called Cairo Expo City.


Cairo Expo City

Opened in 1883, after a fire consumed a number of royal palaces except for one that was painted yellow and named the Yellow Palace (el-Saray el-Safra) it became Egypt's first modern hospital for the mentally ill.

Now it's in an area of 28 hectares and has around 3000 beds, offers almost all major psychiatric sub-specialities and an outpatient and emergency psychiatry services. The hospital serves around 60,000 patients each year.

Old street sign written on it 'the hospital of the deranged street'

History of PTSD in Google Books database

Train accident in 1875 Sweden

In the 19th century, with the development of railway transportation, train accidents became a frequent source of death and serious injury.

Some of the victims claimed injury following an accident without a visible pathology. Jon Eric Erichsen, a British surgeon, in 1867 published a book called On Railway and Other Injuries of the Nervous System in it he argued that an unseen physical injury to the spine and brain caused the condition `railway spine.'

Railway spine was a concept that rooted the illness to the body and not the mind thus making it more legitimate and avoided stigma of mental illness.

Later, work by Jean-Martin Charcot, Piere Janet and Freud established the idea that overwhelming events can cause mental disorders.

Before WWI the terms “soldiers’heart,” “war neuroses” and “general nervous shock” were used to refer to the psychological casualties of combat. During WWI the term “shell shock” became widely accepted as it avoided the term hysteria. During World War II the U.S. military used the term “operational fatigue” or more often “combat fatigue.”

Rehabilitation of Police Officers?

Since change from the top seems unlikely. Civil society should establish programs to reach out and provide alternative career options for current police officers who are willing to leave their jobs.

For example, they may help them transform into lawyers. NGOs may fund masters programs in different Law schools, provide them with extra tuition help, enroll them in human rights courses and help them establish small combined legal offices through grants.

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