On October 4, a surveillance video went viral on social media. The CCTV footage showed a Jordanian member of parliament, Ziad Al-Shawabakh, along with his three brothers assaulting an Egyptian waiter, Khaled El-Sayed, in a restaurant in Aqaba, South Jordan. The video sparked outrage from social media users as well as authorities in Egypt and Jordan.
The video, which was dated Friday, October 2, showed the waiter being assaulted by the brothers in a brutal and demeaning manner. According to Egyptian Streets, the assault carried on away from the surveillance camera – the parliamentarian and his brothers continued to assault El-Sayed. The reason for the attack, according to The Cairo Post, was that the MP’s order was delayed.
According to his interview with local Jordanian radio station, West El-Balad, El-Sayed said, ‘When I went back to work after the Friday evening prayer they were waiting for me in the hallway of the restaurant and started intimidating me. They said that as a foreigner, I should show respect for Jordanian customers. Suddenly, the MP’s brother lashed out at me and then the beating started,’ He added, ‘There is justice in this country and I am not afraid. I have lived in Jordan for 11 years and I have never seen anything like this.’
Furthermore, El-Sayed stated that the MP never attacked him – physically at least, however, as the brothers hit him, the MP threatened El-Sayed with deportation.
Pictures of El-Sayed’s bruised face circulated online and on several mainstream media outlets, showing red marks on his face. El-Sayed spent the night at the hospital after the incident. According to Ahram Online, the MP’s brothers were arrested and are now under investigation concerning the incident.
The MP responded to the incident in an interview with El-Bedaiah, stating that he does not apologise for what happened, because a day prior to the incident, the waiter was disrespectful to his brother. The MP addressed the issue with the restaurant, and the restaurant manager responded by saying they were planning to deport El-Sayed the following Sunday.
Another part of the surveillance video was released, showing El-Sayed being attacked by the brothers outside of the restaurant, while waiters and chefs tried to interfere and failed.
During an investigative segment conducted on Dream TV, after the showing the video, the presenter contacted Khaled El Sayed’s brother, Hesham. He said on air, ‘What is the problem if an order was served late? Does this give [them] the right to insult a person that way?’ Hesham condemned what happened to his brother as ‘harming Egyptians’ dignity, not only Sayed’s.’ (Translated)
Moreover, TV personalities, such as Hesham Barakat, addressed the issue on live TV stating, ‘[This is] the peak of impoliteness, contempt and lack of respect and humanity when humans treat a man like that while he’s less important than they are… They were bullying him.’
Following the release of the video, the Jordanian government released an official statement apologising to El-Sayed, and stated that the government ‘respects all Arabs living on its land.’
Social media users took it to Twitter and Facebook to address the inhumane act, labelling it cruel.
Information gathered from The Cairo Post, Egyptian Streets, El Bedaiah, and Ahram Online.
Featured photo credits go to: Egyptian Streets.