The Euphemist

Reflections on Jewish Studies and many other subjects big and little, by a perpetual student who sometimes searches a little too long for just the right word ...

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Christian, truth seeker, husband, son, brother & uncle, Lutheran pastor, musician (cello, etc.), Jewish Studies grad student, intellectual historian, aquarium enthusiast & pet owner, philologist, astronomer, Norwegian-American, Ford pickup driver, buffoon.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Free Alaa


As you may have heard by now, Egyptian Blogger Alaa Abdel Fatah has been arrested alongside 10 others while demonstrating in support of the independence of the Judiciary in Egypt and the release of previous demonstrators who were detained 2 weeks earlier. The Police entrapped them, cordoning off their peaceful protest and then proceeded to handpick the demonstrators that they wanted to detain, beat them, and then arrested them.

Alaa and those arrested with him are now arrested for 15 days "pending investigation", which could be renewed indefinitely if the state so wishes. He and the men were sent to the infamous Torah Prison and the girls to the Qanatir prison for the duration. This makes them hardly safe, because stuff that goes on in Egyptian prisons on the hands of the jailors: beatings, sexual assaults, torture of all kinds.

Currently there are about 48 detained, 6 of them are bloggers, and 3 of them are women. The best known is Alaa, which makes him the posterboy of this campaign - but getting them out is equally as important. Egypt has fewer than 830 bloggers all in all, 60 of whom are political and less than 30 are politically active. Now 6 of those are in jail - 20% of all politically active Egyptian bloggers - and amongst them one of Egypt's most highly profiled one


Alaa was arrested while protesting to support Egypt’s Judges fight for independence. 2 weeks earlier he had organized a “National Unity” protest to show solidarity with Egypt’s Christians who suffered a sectarian attack on 3 churches on Good Friday. Before that he was one of the few voices that urged calm and peaceful dialogue while the cartoon crisis was hitting its peak. He is a desperately needed voice of moderation and democracy in Egypt, and one of the few flickers of hope in a country whose future seems mire between the crushing rule of the regime and the fanaticism of the Islamist opposition.




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