Prominent Egyptian pro-democracy voice Bassem Sabry dies at 31

Ayat Al-Tawy, Wednesday 30 Apr 2014

Egyptian writer and political activist Bassem Sabry won widespread acclaim across the political spectrum for his astute observations of Egyptian politics

Bassem Sabry
Egyptian prominent Blogger and writer Bassem Sabry (Photo Courtney of Bassem Sabry Facebook account)

Well-known pro-democracy blogger and writer Bassem Sabry died on Tuesday at the age of 31.

Widely acclaimed for his advocacy of the 2011 uprising, Sabry – who was also a media consultant and political strategist – died after he fell from the balcony of a Cairo apartment, his friends said.

Writing for an array of local and international media outlets, including al-Monitor, Ahram Online, Foreign Policy and The Atlantic, Sabry was highly respected for his thorough, insightful political analysis. He also wrote his own popular blog, An Arab Citizen.

He was a founding member of and strategist for the Constitution Party -- a liberal party founded by leading democracy campaigner and former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei -- and a member of the campaign team of leftist presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi.

"Bassem Sabry was one of the most beautiful young people I have known in this generation … He dazzled me with his intelligence, depth, broad culture and thirst for knowledge. I was captivated by his tenderness, joviality and enthusiasm. He was a proof that optimism about the future of our country and people was still possible," said Hani Shukrallah, former editor-in-chief of Ahram Online.

Emotions ran high after the announcement of Sabry's sudden death on social media websites and among tens of thousands of his online followers.

Paying tribute to him, Nobel Peace Prize winner ElBaradei wrote: "I ask all the revolution youth to pray for mercy and forgiveness for a companion and a noble man we lost while we desperately need him. Goodbye Bassem Sabry."

Sabry was acclaimed for being among the shrewdest political observers and one of the few voices who continued to fight for freedom in a deeply polarised country and a hostile media environment.

"Just when you think things can't get any darker we lose Bassem Sabry -- a beautiful human being who remained principled throughout the madness," wrote Heba Morayef, former Egypt director at Human Rights Watch.

Economist and blogger Mohamed Dahshan said in a blog post: "He was an extremely astute writer, a gifted analyst, an indefatigable storyteller, and even through the darkness, optimistic to a fault. He was also an excellent bilingual chronicler of the Egyptian revolution, regularly keeping the world informed.

"He demanded rights for all a decade ago… He stood for the oppressed, never condoned injustice, and never censored himself for an unpopular position."

Sabry's funeral will take place on Wednesday at the Mostafa Mahmoud mosque in the western Cairo district of Mohandiseen. Condolences will be received at the nearby Al-Hamdiyyah Al-Shazelya Mosque at sunset on Saturday.

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