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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Better to burn out than to fade a way - New Egyptian trend of suicide by fire

Al-Ahram Weekly, the government-leaning Egyptian news source, is now back up after the Mubarak regime halted his country's internet during this week's protests in Cairo.

One of the stranger reports is of a recent trend by Egyptians to commit suicide by self-immolation. Over 20 Egyptians have killed themselves that way in the last 2 weeks.

The increasing number of Egyptians trying to commit suicide by setting themselves ablaze became a matter of heated discussion in the People's Assembly on Sunday.  
Parliamentary speaker Fathi Sorour said he had asked the People Assembly's Religious and Social Affairs Committee to hold a series of hearings to discuss the phenomenon. The request was made after Gamal Asaad Abdel-Malak, an appointed Coptic MP, argued that "Egyptians who had tried to commit suicide by setting themselves ablaze seem to be driven by the same problems and complaints that drove young Tunisians to revolt against their government."  
"Tunisians who committed suicide by setting themselves ablaze were motivated by political and social reasons including rejection of the regime, unemployment and high prices," said Abdel-Malak. "In Egypt we were surprised to find that some tried to do the same. The reasons behind this must be investigated so as not to trigger a state of chaos." 
Sorour disagreed with Asaad's assessment but nonetheless ordered an inquiry. "The two citizens who tried to set themselves ablaze in front of the building of the People's Assembly last week were driven by personal reasons," said the speaker. "It is wrong to cite just two examples of self-immolation and say this is a common phenomenon."
The entire article is (now) available at al-Ahram

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