Egyptian human rights activist and LGBTQ+ advocate Sarah Hegazi was discovered dead on Sunday after reportedly committing suicide. Hegazi was living in Canada at the time after leaving her home country.
“To my siblings – I tried to find redemption and failed, forgive me,” Hegazi wrote in a final note that’s currently being shared on social media. “To my friends – the experience was harsh and I am too weak to resist it, forgive me. To the world – you were cruel to a great extent, but I forgive.”
View this post on Instagram
In 2017, Hegazi was arrested for raising the Pride flag during a concert for Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou Leila in Cairo. Hamed Sinno, the lead singer of the band, is gay. However, Hegazi faced accusations of joining an illegal group “spreading homosexuality,” according to Egypt Today.
According to NPR, the concert was apparently the first time the rainbow Pride flag was ever publicly raised in Cairo. While being gay isn’t explicitly illegal in Egypt, the law does punish acts that are deemed to not “suit the Egyptian culture,” per Egypt Today. Hegazi’s case was also allegedly the first time a case regarding homosexuality was prosecuted in state security court.
Hegazi called what she did “an act of support and solidarity… for everyone who is oppressed” in an interview with NPR.
“We were proud to hold the flag,” she said in the interview. “We wouldn’t have imagined the reaction of society and the Egyptian state. For them, I was a criminal – someone who was seeking to destroy the moral structure of society.”
Not too long before she passed away, Hegazi posted a photo on Instagram with the (translated) caption: “The sky is better than Earth. And I want the sky not Earth.”
Rest in Power Sarah Hegazi.