By: Hoda Omran
The Martyr Karim Bannouna’s mother writes him letters every day, and waits each night for his visit in her dreams. She can still hear his footsteps after each fajr prayer and waits for her son to open the door and check on her habitually as he always used to before going to his apartment upstais.
It is Mother’s day, and Karim is not with her anymore. “…I was desperately trying to find my lost son among the attendees of the celebration, he was not there”. Receiving the Ideal Mother award this year from the Egyptian Pharmacists Syndicate, Dr. Shwekare, Karim’s mother, speaks exclusively to MSN Arabia
1) What was your last contact with him?
2) How did he pass away? Subsequent to the tolerance of an internal bleeding for four days since 28th of Jan (Gom3et Al Ghadab) caused by a rubber bullet in his chest as his parents declare, Karim peacefully passed away among his family members on 1st of Feb, assured that glorious victory to his country had been realized and telling his father that going to Tahrir was the ‘Pilgrimage’ he dreamed to make. The last thing he did was reading Holy Qur’an verses that mention the reward of martyrs from Surat Al Baqarah, verse 153-155.
3) How did you raise up your kid?
29 year old Karim was the youngest among three brothers; Ahmed and Asser, and is the father of two kids; Omar 3 years, and Mariam 1 year. “He took considerable attention during his childhood as I stayed home from work taking care of him for four years, strengthening a considerable close friendship between us. He was the kind of kids who intuitionally differentiated the right from wrong and knew his obligations and responsibilities towards his life as well as his religion. He was proactive and was usually not a talkative person; his actions usually spoke louder than his words”
Though his mothers and both brothers were pharmacists, Karim studied at the faculty of Computer Science, worked at some companies then seven months ago he became an entrepreneur and established a small office with his friends. He had dreams relevant to designing software that eliminates hard copy paper studying and depends on soft material for students.
4) Did he show any political interests?
Karim, as thousands of other peaceful protestors, was not a political activist. “He was a proactive person and had a high level of awareness, but I don’t believe he can be called an activist and he never joined a political party. At home he did raise political and social issues and showed significant objection about the general injustice in Egypt”
5) Was there any specific incident that caused your son significant frustration? For Karim, and as a large mass of the youth who lead the 25th of Jan revolution, the murder of Khalid Saeed raised his anger. “Since Khaled Saeed’s death, followed by the latest forged parliament elections in favor of the NDP, I knew after he passed away that he was up to date with the facebook group that organized the revolution”
6) How did he get prepared before the revolution? “Just the night before 25th Jan, I knew from his wife that he was intending to participate in the revolution. Me and his father tried convincing him no to go, but he said ‘If I did not go, I will not be able to look at myself in the mirror again’. He came back that day wounded with rubber bullets in his feet, but proud of the revolution he was part of, which made him insist to participate in the revolution on 28th of Jan. He returned home so depressed from the massacre he witnessed and physically ill, and since then he was getting weaker every day and refused to talk or complain about any suffering he was going through ”
7) How can you get your son’s right back? Karim’s mother speaks to each Egyptian, particularly youth full of enthusiasm, “Get me back Karim’s right by walking the same footsteps martyrs paved. Do not give up to those trying to frustrate you and destruct the revolution. You are the champions, and far beyond our generation because you refused to take the passive position. You proved it. Undeniably I can’t wait for a fair trial of each person participating in the decision to kill the peaceful protestors; Hosny Mubarak, Gamal Mubarak, Habib El Adly, Safwat Al Sherif and any responsible individual especially those of the National DemocraticParty”
8) How do you want your son to be remembered?
“Well we would appreciate that his residence street in Mokattam changed to his name. We hear a lot of suggestions, most common a museum for the revolution’s martyrs in Tahrir, I hope his kids go see their father the hero tribute in at a place like that when they grow up.”
9) What do you want to say to other mothers?
She addresses other martyrs’ mothers with wise words that keep her moving on. “It’s a hard test that we all have to bear for a bigger reward in return, and I am waiting for the day Karim would take my hand and stay with him ever after. We all need patience, and it is very hard hold on. We lost our kids early, it’s a misery and a tragedy tearing each part of our bodies into pieces and I definitely feel what each mother is going through. Our only consolation is that our kids were granted thawab (reward) for a whole nation. Without their martyr, this remarkable value would have never been added to us”
10) Tell a message to Karim, from mother to son
Last thing to say, Karim’s mother has a message she believes her son can hear that time. Pulling herself together, and trying to hold back her tears she starts improvising: “I miss you Karim. Each day I go to sleep and wait for you in my dreams, but you still don’t visit me. Visit me frequently and tell me how you are doing. I keep writing you letters and talk to you as if you are standing right in front of my eyes. Be delighted my darling, what you wished for, fought for and believed in is all realized. Your soul made this country a better place for your kids to live, and Omar your son applauds whenever he sees your picture ‘Baba Kimo, tahya Masr (Dad Kimo, long live Egypt)’”