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On National Day of Theatre: Remembering the Martyrs of the Beni Suef Fire

On National Day of Theatre: Remembering the Martyrs of the Beni Suef Fire

Today marks the On National Day of Theatre. Sadly, on this day, 15 years ago, on the 5th of September, 2005, one of the worst tragedies happened that took the lives of 50 creatives at the Bani Suef Fire.

The first took the vies of 50 authors, directors, critics, and actors, fell victim to a tragedy.

This fire shook the cultural milieu in general and the theatrical milieu in particular.

On the day of the tragedy, the play “Who am I?/Man Ana?” was screening. However, the play’s director decided to present his show in the Fine Art Hall instead of presenting it on the stage.

He transformed the shape of the theater into a cave and sprayed it with operable materials, which, sadly, was the reason why the flames took over the theater quickly.

On National Day of Theatre: Remembering the Martyrs of the Beni Suef Fire
On National Day of Theatre: Remembering the Martyrs of the Beni Suef Fire

Because of a candle that fell on the decore, fires ignited all over the hall, devouring the audience’s bodies. As a result, 50 people were killed, and 23 were injured.

Following the incident, Farouk Hosni, who was the Minister of Culture, then submitted his resignation from the position. However, former President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak refused the resignation, while more than 200 artists and writers signed a statement withdrawing his resignation.

In 2006, the Bandar Beni Suef Misdemeanour Court ruling was issued against the accused, Mustafa Alawi, head of the Cultural Palaces Authority, and 7 of the employees. They were sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor and a guarantee of 10,000 pounds each.

The Minister of Culture was also obligated to pay compensation to the families of the victims.

In March 2007, the Beni Suef Misdemeanor Appeal Court acquitted 4 of the accused, including Mustafa Alawi, and reduced the sentences issued by the Court of First Instance against 4 others.

In 2010, the North Giza Civil Court ordered Farouk Hosni to pay a civil compensation of 100,000 pounds to the family of a girl who was killed in the accident.

After the revolution, Minister of Culture Emad Abu Ghazi announced that the 5th of September would be the National Day of Theatre in commemoration of the martyrs of Beni Suef.

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Written by Raghda El-Sayed

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of El-Shai.com and the crazy cat lady your mother warned you not to become!

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