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Egypt: “Not all the People of Sinai are Terrorists”

Sinai is making the headlines today after the Egyptian Army waged a war on militants accused of being behind a deadly attack on the Egyptian-Israeli border, in which up to 16 Egyptian officers and soldiers were killed over the weekend.

According to Egyptian officials, 20 militants were killed in today's operation. Blogger Zeinobia has a round up about the situation on her blog.

From North Sinai, Ahmed Elghoul is using Twitter to tell us more about the region and its people; the discrimination they face and the lack of security in the area.


Discrimination

He tweets [ar]:

أغلبنا كان بيتهان في الأكمنة لمجرد إنه بيحمل بطاقة رقم قومي من شمال سيناء.. تهميش وتجاهل وتخوين، والإعلام مبينقلش عننا غير المشاكل
@A_ElghouL: Most of us used to be humiliated just for carrying an Identification Card which said we were from North Sinai. We are marginalised, ignored and treated as traitors. The media doesn't mention us unless it is is relation to problems

Elghoul reminds us of the discrimination the people of Sinai face, saying [ar]:

تعرفوا أن أبناء سيناء محظور قبولهم بالكليات العسكرية؟! .. تخوين
@A_ElghouL: You know that the sons of Sinai are barred from being accepted in military universities?! Distrust

Tunnels

On the tunnels to the Palestinian territories, Elghoul clarifies [ar]:

محدش يفتكر إن الأنفاق عاملة أزمة للدولة ، دي فاتحة بيوت مسئولين كتير في الدولة..ناس كتير مكانتش لاقية تاكل في خلال شهور بقوا أصحاب ملايين

@A_ElghouL: None of you should think that the tunnels are creating a problem for the state. They are a source of income for many officials. A lot of people, who previously couldn't find money for food to eat, made millions in the span of a few months

He notes [ar]:

الأنفاق دي من يوم ما فتحت والحال عندنا من أسوأ إلى أسوأ..يعني إيه أفارقة تتهرب وسلاح ييجي من ليبيا ويعدي على أكمنة مصر كلها لحد ما يوصل هنا؟

@A_ElghouL: Our situation has gone from bad to worse since the opening of those tunnels. What does it mean for Africans to be smuggled and arms to come from Libya and cross all of Egypt until they reach here?

Security

Regarding the security situation in Sinai, Elghoul says [ar]:

الوضع الأمني عندنا في سيناء يتلخص في كلمتين : اللي حضر العفريت هيعرف يصرفه .. بس لو عايز يصرفه

@A_ElghouL: The security situation in Sinai could be summarised in a few words: Those who summoned the genie, know how to get rid of it

He gives us an example [ar]:

تعرفوا إن محافظنا طلع يقول لوسائل الإعلام الأمن مستتب ومستقر في شمال سيناء ، تاني يوم عربيته إتسرقت ودفع فلوس عشان يرجعها

@A_ElghouL: Did you know when our governor told the Press that the security situation is stable in North Sinai, his car got stolen the next day and he had to pay money to retrieve it

Elghoul explains [ar]:

تجارة السلاح والمخدرات مشكله موجودة ومبننكرهاش، بس اللي سمح بكده إهمال الأمن لمناطق كتيرة ف سيناء..منها جبل الحلال اللي الضرب عليه دلوقتي
@A_ElghouL: Peddling arms and drugs is a problem that exists and which we cannot deny. But what allowed this is the lack of security measures in many areas in Sinai, including Al Halal Mount, which is being hit now

Misconceptions

Elghoul is surprised about the misconception people have regarding the population of Sinai. He tweets [ar]:

تعرفوا إن إحنا ف ٢٠١٢ ولسه في غبي فاكر إننا بنسافر بجمل وإننا ناس جهلاء ومش متعلمين ؟
@A_ElghouL: You do know that we are in 2012 and that there are still stupid people out there who think that we use camels for traveling and that we are ignorant people without an education?

He adds [ar]:

تعرفوا إن سيناء في نظر الناس بدو وخيم وجمال ، مع إن في ناس بتركب عربيات وبتلبس من جاك آند جونس وزارا..آه والله
@A_ElghouL: Did you know that people consider Sinai to be Bedouins, tents and camels, despite the fact that people drive cars and wear clothes from Jack and Jones and Zara ..

And he continues [ar]:

كل اللي الناس تعرفوا عننا..سلاح،مخدرات،أنفاق،تفجيرات..تعرف حاجه غير كده؟ ،لأ..فكرت تنزل بنفسك تشوف الحقيقة؟،برضو لأ..شوفت قد إيه ظلمتنا
@A_ElghouL: All that people know about us is arms, drugs, tunnels, explosions … Do they know anything else? No. Have you ever thought of visiting for yourself to see the truth? No as well. Do you see how you are doing us injustice?

Adding [ar]:

البدو في سيناء منهم دكاترة جامعات وكتاب وشعراء وشخصيات محترمة كتير ، في وحش منهم؟،آه كتير .. ده مبرر إني أظلم البدو كلهم؟!

A_ElghouL
: The Bedouins of Sinai include university professors, writers, poets and a lot of respectable people. Are there bad people among them? Yes. A lot. But is this an excuse to put all the Bedouins in one basket?

Doubt

ElGhoul, who says he is not a reporter but a citizen from Sinai “who has had it with rumours” and wanted to see the truth for himself, went to the Sinai Hospital to wait for the arrival of the bodies of the 20 militants the Army announced it had killed.

He tweets [ar]:

أقولكواعلى حاجةبيني وبينكوا:شوفتوا فيديو لجثث؟شفتوا معتقلين؟إتأكدتوا إن هما الفاعلين؟إيه رأيك في التضخيم الإعلامي

@A_ElghouL: Shall I tell you something between you and I? Have you seen any videos for bodies? Have you seen any detainees? Are you sure they are the perpetrators? What do you think of the media exaggeration?

ElGhoul also says he has been at the hospital since 8.30am, awaiting the arrival of the bodies and has seen nothing yet.

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