The following account of Habiba’s death, an Egyptian (UAE) journalist and activist who was shot during the August 2013 Rabaa Massacre, is told by her sister Yara.
“[My parents] always made sure to…always keep us aware [of] what’s happening in the world. They kind of taught us, like I said, if you believe in something you have to fight for it, even if it means you die in the process.
After 2011 when the first revolution happened, everything changed for Habiba.
Before 2011 Habiba never identified herself as an Egyptian. I think it was the first time in my life that I see her talk about it, and she was so proud, and then she got so into it. She wanted to for the first time to the [protests] but she just started her job it was kind of difficult for her to leave… so she had to wait. She would always be looking for places. She wanted to go to Turkey when they were sending help to Syria, and then she wanted to go to Syria, and she always wanted to go to Palestine.
She had a livestream camera, it was a live feed to Al Jazeera. She actually saw the guy who shot her. She saw him. My mom spoke to her 15 minutes before she got shot. She was telling my mom that this guy is looking at me.
She had a camera, so the police wanted to take her. Eight guys were surrounding her, wouldn’t let them and take her body.
My dad was in the same area as she was. But it took him eight hours to actually get to her because of all the shooting that was happening. He [could] see her, but it took him eight hours to get to her. People were telling him, no don’t pass, you’ll get shot.
He was like I can see my daughter, so either I’ll go to her or I’ll go to her. So, either way I’ll be with her.
There were a lot of people that passed away that day. Not less than 5,000 just in that area. Rabaa took [the shooters] all day. There was that other place in Al-Nahda, it even had more because [the] area was open.
I think we all knew in a way. When she was leaving [I felt] that I won’t see her again. I guess all of us had that feeling, kind of. Even she knew.
The night before, she was visiting all our relatives there. And [our cousin] was pregnant at the time [with a girl]. Habiba told her that clashes are going to happen soon, a lot of people are going to die, and I’m going to be one of them. You’re going to name your [daughter] Habiba.
And that’s what actually happened.
She knew. And even our other relatives [knew] as well. They were telling my mom when Habiba came she wasn’t herself. They were saying that she was so quiet. Habiba was never quiet. So, they’re all telling my mom Habiba wasn’t herself that day, she was just a body. She wasn’t actually there.
It’s something she always wanted. When I actually found out, obviously I was devastated, but I was happy for her because, I don’t know, she died happy I guess.