Ziad Bakir, artist and graphic designer at the Cairo Opera House is missing

Ziad Mohamed Saleh Bakir, son of Sawsan Fouad and Mohamed Saleh Bakir, was born on 9 November 1973. Bakir is a graphic designer at the Cairo Opera House and a father of three children

Published on Monday 14 Feb 2011 in Ahram Online

On Friday, 28 January 2011, Ziad Mohamed Saleh Bakir left home around 3 pm to join the protesters. He never came back and his current location is unknown.

Bakir is a very successful, graphic designer working at the Cairo Opera House. Over the years he has created a series of posters announcing a variety of concerts and performances taking place at the Cairo Opera House, and his works are marked by simplicity and a striking artistic sensitivity. Last October, Bakir held his first solo exhibition at the Cairo Opera House presenting his designs created over the years.

He used to spend long hours at the graphic design offices, supervising his team as well as creating his own works. For those who knew him, it is hard to imagine that this calm and relaxed artist, who always worked late in his office at the Cairo Opera House, would get involved in any event that would lead to his disappearance.

Bakir was at home when protests started after Friday prayer on 28th January. He decided to join the demonstration rather late, around 3 pm, when a group of protesters were marching through Ahmad Orabi Street in Mohandeseen where Ziad lives. He left home alone.

Recent news revealed that Ziad had spent the evening hours with a friend in the midst of the protests around Omar Makram mosque in the Tahrir area, which by then, was surrounded by army vehicles (security forces had already been withdrawn). Around midnight, the friend left Bakir for a few minutes and when he returned, he could not find him.

“One of the possibilities is that Ziad was arrested by the army, as this was when the curfew was in place,” suggests Mirette Bakir, Ziad’s sister. “Many of the army units do not provide information about the detainees and we do not even know their names.”

During their search, Bakir’s family has also checked all the hospitals and mortuaries, as well as police stations. Visits to prisons did not bring any results either as again, lists of detainees are not complete or not revealed at all.

“It’s been almost three weeks and it is really hard to understand why Ziad became involved. He was not involved in any political movement, he did not lead any opposition and he only joined the demonstrations to show solidarity with the pro-democratic youth,” Mirette added.

The family has contacted a number of television channels (including ONTV), and high-ranking individuals (from Naguib Sawiris to Hossam Badrawi and all former government representatives) bringing their attention to Bakir’s disappearance.

None of these contacts helped in locating Ziad. There were some mistakes, as when the Mehwar channel placed Bakir’s picture among the martyrs of the revolution.

Hopefully Cairo Opera House management, which has a significant amount of power and connections, could also play a part in locating one of their most talented artists.

Egypt is celebrating the triumph of the revolution but many people are still missing, among them Ziad Mohamed Saleh Bakir.

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