Ahmed Bassiouni was born in Ismailia, on October 25, 1974. He was an artist and assistant teacher at the Faculty of Art, in the Department of Painting at Helwan University, where he graduated in 2000. In addition, he was studying for a Masters degree. Art wasn’t only his academic career, but also his passion. He created workshops and exhibitions at his own expense. Apart from his work, he was also a husband, and a father of two young children, Adam and Salma, as well as a kind elder son to his parents.
On January 28, 2011, known as the Day Rage, he was about to go out and participate in the demonstrations when his wife Nadia asked him not to go to Tahrir Square since he had been there on the first day, but Ahmed refused to listen and sit at home. When his son Adam urged him to stay at home too, he told his son that he is going out to help bring a better future for him, his sister, and for the whole country. Ahmed took his camera and left his home. He passed by his parent’s house where they asked him to stay, but he said to his mother, “Do not be afraid. I will return safely, God willing, but let’s pray that God helps us so that the efforts of these young people will not be lost. Pray that our country will be better—even the best country in the world.”
He arrived at Tahrir Square—according to the testimony of several witnesses who were at the square at the same time—and started moving around the square and the surrounding areas to document the events with his camera. He used his camera’s zoom to monitor the snipers as they were shooting live ammunition at the demonstrators. He moved fast, warning other demonstrators in the middle of the hit-and-run, during the same time police forces started throwing tear gas and shooting rubber bullets at demonstrators.
It was not long before Ahmed was hit with a fatal shot from a sniper and fell to the ground. Seconds later, a central security vehicle ran over him and fled, as documented by a demonstrator who took part in the revolution.
Ahmad’s family was in the hospital at the time to accompany his sister Amani who was delivering her baby the very same day. When they returned home the morning of the next day, they learned what happened to Ahmed. They ran to the hospital, but the body was not Ahmad’s. His mother remembers this moment, “When we saw the unknown body and knew that he was not my son, I held on to the hope that he might be alive in a prison, a detainee ,or an injured in other hospital.” (Quote reported from Egyptian at the time of revolution.)
The search for Ahmed continued. The family checked hospitals, prisons—everywhere, until four days later on February 2nd they found Ahmed’s body at the Egyptians hospital in Giza. His body was then transferred to the morgue for autopsy. The autopsy report said the death was due to fractures in the ribs, injury to the left ventricle, and heart failure.
“He was a modest teacher, fully capable of communicating information to us. He used to tell us, ‘I am learning from you(?), while I am teaching you,” one of Ahmed students’ said in an interview in 2011.
Despite the pain she has went through, all Ahmed’s wife wished for after his death was for the state to establish a museum for her husband to commemorate his art and to bring the people who were responsible to justice. Years passed since the revolution, but neither has been achieved.