Arabisto: Egyptian Virginia Tech Victim Ignored by Media

“Friends of Virginia Tech shooting victim Waleed Shaalan, from Egypt, are calling him a hero. Friends have told this news station in Virginia that Waleed distracted shooter Seung Hui-Cho, so that three of his friends could to escape the shooting. Why the mainstream media hasn’t caught wind of this, I don’t know,” writes blogger Nadia Gergis. Her post also includes profiles of the three Arab victims – two from Lebanon, in addition to Shaalan.


  • Despite the non-stop media coverage of the horrendous attack at Virginia Tech, here is a story I had not heard or read before. With so much publicity focussed on a psychotic killer, I would read about a person who was generous and courageous enough to give his life to save others. Thank you for bringing Waleed Shaalan’s inspiring story to the world’s attention.

  • Consider all the airtime and column space given to the villain of the Virginia tragedy, to his 23-page statements and his 43 sickening photographs. Now compare it with the references one needs to search for two heroes who gave their own lives to save others’.

    Do NBC and others find no significance and educational value to highlight the sacrifice made by these two gentlemen?

    I hope that media will suspend repeatedly playing the killer’s tapes and videos and dedicate some space to honor examples of bravery like Liviu Librescu, the 76-year-old maths professor who held shut the door of his classroom while his pupils scrambled to safety, and was then shot dead .

    Another fallen hero is Virginia Tech student Waleed Mohammed Shaalan, who was hit by three bullets, including one in the head, in an attempt to save a fellow student.

    Shaalan, 32, had been at Virginia Tech since August studying for a Ph.D. in civil engineering. He was ambitious, saying he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian who won the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1999, said his father, Mohammed Shaalan, 65.

    The day before Monday’s massacre, Shaalan called home and said he intended to visit Egypt next month and then return to Virginia with his wife and 15-month-old son who had been living in Egypt, his parents said Thursday. The family got another call two days later. The Egyptian Embassy in Washington told them Shaalan had been one of the 32 victims.

    See his 2004 wedding photo at

  • As usual, the media has jumped on this sad event and is indulging in a feeding frenzy, and I am willing to bet that they will soon get around to mentioning that some of the victims were Arab. Some families of victims may not appreciate intense media attention in these times of grief, but like it or not, the media will get around to them. I am thankful that it seems that race, politics, religion nor a dysfunctional family have anything to do with this- that it was simply the act of a mentally sick person who did not get the help he needed. It is all sad, and before this story is over, we are going to hear many sad stories

  • Mohd H

    you can read the heroic story of Waleed here

    let Waleed Shaalan’s courage always be remembered and
    may god be with his family and with all who have lost their loved ones in this shocking trajedy.

  • Waleed is a true hero and should be honored as one. I made a small tribute site to celebrate the rest of the heros who are now in a better place:

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