Columnist in hot water after suggesting killing street children in Egypt
street children in Egypt - YOUM7 (Archive)
By SAMAR SAMIR

CAIRO: To eradicate the phenomena of the street children, the Egyptian government should follow Brazil’s solution of killing them, Egyptian columnist and academic professor Nasar Abdullah suggested, which sparked anger among citizens, especially human rights activists.

Abdullah, who is also a philosophy professor at Sohag University, wrote an opinion article in Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper published on Friday, which read “Brazilian security services used an atrocious solution to tackle the problem of street children. They launched campaigns to hunt and cleanse via killing thousands of them, just as the street dogs were being killed.”

Around 2,000 street children in Brazil are being killed by police annually, Amnesty International revealed in a report on July 24, 2013, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Canderalia Massacre in Rio de Janeiro.

After a street gang opened fire on them, eight young men and a woman shot at 50 street children who were sleeping on the steps of Candelaria church, according to the report. The investigation later revealed that the gang members belonged to the military police.

Abdullah talked about the dangers of high crime rate in theft and rape due to the increased number of street children. He claimed that they increased the spread of HIV by 90 percent, adding that the Brazilian situation was similar to Egypt’s status quo.

“All Brazilian authorities knew that the police committed a perfect crime and the children were the real victims not criminals. It is atrocious to kill them for crimes they did not commit. Everyone realized it but almost all of them averted their eyes because they found it in their best interest to kill them,” Abdullah wrote in his article.

Abdulla’s article sparked controversy in the Egyptian society, especially on Facebook and Twitter. Many readers called to fire him from his academic position. Dalia Samy tweeted “Do the responsible officials agree to leave one such as Nassar_Abdullah in his position to teach future generations after he called to kill the street children?”

Former parliamentary member Mostafa Alnagar posted on his Facebook page that this article indicates “we are changing to become a blood society… This is a catastrophic article.”

The National Council of Human Rights member and the lawyer in Supreme Constitutional Court Naser Amin called the General Attorney Hsham Barakat to immediately investigate with Abdalla over charge of inciting violence and the person who was responsible for publishing this article.

“This person (Abdalla) is not trustworthy anymore to have an educational role and he should be suspended from work,” Amin added in remarks to The Cairo Post on Friday.

The newspaper had immediately removed the article from the website after the backlash; however the article is being circulated in printed issues on the streets. “Based on the unwelcome reactions to Nassar Abdalla’s article ‘Street Children…The Brazilian Solution,’ the newspaper administration decided to remove the article since it incites violence,” the newspaper statement announced.

“(He) should be arrested for hate speech and locked up pending investigation of being a dangerous psychopath,” human rights activist and PhD researcher and lecturer in University of London Nelly Ali wrote on her blog.

Abdullah retaliated in a phone call to Telt al-Talata TV program on ONTV channel, justifying that he was just commenting the success of the Brazilian government, but not relating with this kind of brutality in dealing with street children. He was discussing the seriousness of combating corruption and economic default.

Egypt tries to combat such a phenomena; It signed contracts with international organizations such as UNICEF to rehabilitate them. On March 9, President of the Arab Council for Childhood and Development Prince Talal Bin Abdel Aziz signed a cooperation protocol with former Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly to help implement an integrated plan to rehabilitate street children.

Former head of Information and Decision Support Center of the Cabinet announced on May 9, 2013 that according to UNICEF statistics, the number of street children reach two million, Al-Dostor Newspaper reported.

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