Torture in Egypt – to journalisters øjenvidneberetning

Souad Mekhenet og Nicholas Kulish er to journalister fra New York Times, der blev taget til fange af Mubaraks frygtede hemmelige politi, Mukhabarat.

De led ikke selv nogen overlast under deres fangenskab, men de fik et uhyggeligt indtryk af, hvordan regimet i disse dage slår ned på almindelige mennesker, der vover at udtrykke deres utilfredshed i de store demonstrationer:

Our discomfort paled in comparison to the dull whacks and the screams of pain by Egyptian people that broke the stillness of the night. In one instance, between the cries of suffering, an officer said in Arabic, “You are talking to journalists? You are talking badly about your country?”

Captivity was terrible. We felt powerless — uncertain about where and how long we would be held. But the worst part had nothing to do with our treatment. It was seeing — and in particular hearing through the walls of this dreadful facility — the abuse of Egyptians at the hands of their own government.

For one day, we were trapped in the brutal maze where Egyptians are lost for months or even years. Our detainment threw into haunting relief the abuses of security services, the police, the secret police and the intelligence service, and explained why they were at the forefront of complaints made by the protesters.

The Mukhabarat has had a working relationship with American intelligence, including the C.I.A.’s so-called rendition program of prison transfers. During our questioning, a man nearby was being beaten — the sickening sound somewhere between a thud and a thwack. Between his screams someone yelled in Arabic, “You’re a traitor working with foreigners.”

Egyptian journalists had a freer hand than many in the region’s police states, but the secret police kept a close eye on both journalists and their sources. As the protests became more violent, a campaign of intimidation against journalists and the Egyptians speaking to them became apparent. We appeared to have stumbled into the middle of it.

Ms. Mekhennet asked her interrogator, “Where are we?” The interrogator answered, “You are nowhere.”

Link: 2 Detained Reporters Saw Secret Police’s Methods Firsthand

Som Nicholas D. Kristof, som også er i Cairo for New York Times, udtrykker det: I dag er vi alle ægyptere.

A divided Egypt

Karim Sabet lagde dette på Facebook i morges og sluttede med ordene: Share if you care. Hans beretning er værd at høre.

I have not been able to sleep from what I think may be a day I hope I will never get to see again. I need to make one thing very very clear to all of you guys watching what is happening from your TV screens. Having spent 8 hours in Tahrir square yesterday, I can say that the majority of the people throwing rocks from the anti-Mubarak demonstrators were not the people I want representing me. Yes i am asking for the president to go, yes I am asking for changes to be made, and yes I will continue to go back there every day for the same cause but I will NOT accept that religious groups hijack what we have been doing for their own agenda.

A large group of the ones organizing them yesterday were people in galabeyas and long beards shouting “Al Jihad fe Sabeel Allah (Jihad in the name of Allah), you have to continue fighting, we will win this war, if you die here today, you will be a martyr and go straight to heaven, don’t stop, fight, fight, fight”.

NO! This is NOT why we werein the streets on Friday being tear gassed and dodging rubber bullets and it is not why we have been going to Tahrir everyday to be heard. The reason why this revolt went through and became successful was because it was not religiously or politically charged. Don’t let the ones who have been watching this unfold in the shadows ride this wave and hijack what you have been fighting for. I saw on Monday Taalat El Sadat (a dodgy fame hungry politician) ask people in the square to get aggressive. He was met with one loud message by everyone, “Selmeya, Selmeya” (Peaceful, Peaceful) – which is how all of us want it.

This President (who needs to go because enough is enough) has lost all credibility with every single person on this planet. After coming out on Monday night promising swift reform, he sends thugs and under cover cops (I took a pic of one of the IDs, posted on my wall last night) to provoke the ones in Tahrir. For every action, you will always get a reaction ya zift and probably this is what he  is looking for – to divide his own people. If you send them to Tahrir, you will get a war (especially since the police have been in hiding since Friday night) however I do NOT want this country to fall in the darkness of the abyss. I am hoping that the Muslim Brotherhood stay out of this although I know that this is impossible at this point.

The above is just to get you guys thinking… and only time can tell us what will really happen. What is happening to my Egypt right now is heartbreaking.

For the time being, only one message is clear…. Mubarak, please leave – how much more blood are you looking for?

Ægypten: Kvinden, der startede det hele

Det begyndte blandt andet med dette YouTube-indlæg fra 18. januar, der spredte sig som en lynild på Facebook og andre steder og var med til at fjerne folks frygt.

Kvinden, der taler, er 26-årige Asmaa Mahfouz:

“Sitting home and just following us on news or on Facebook leads to our humiliation — it leads to my humiliation!

If you have honor and dignity as a man, come and protect me, and other girls in the protest. if you stay home, you deserve what’s being done to you, and you will be guilty before your nation and your people. Go down to the street, send SMSes, post it on the internet, make people aware.”

Via Boing Boing.

Den ægyptiske revolution – Q&A

Hossam el-Hamalawy, en ægyptisk blogger og journalist, der er meget aktiv i disse dages begivenheder,  havde i går lejlighed til at besvare spørgsmål fra Washington Posts læsere:

Boston, Mass.: How long before Mubarak steps down?

If he does, do you worry about a power vacuum?

Do you see ElBaradei as property interim leader until free and fair elections can be held?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: I see him stepping down pretty soon or else he will be taken into custody of the protestors and will be put on trial.

I do not worry about power vacuum because the people are already taking initiatives on the ground to fill any security or political vacuums as we saw in the case of the popular committee that are running security now in the Egyptian neighborhoods, following the evacuation of the police.

Regarding ElBaradei, I do not want to see him as an interim leader because he will diffuse the revolution, not take it forward.


Sheffield, U.K.: Which are the opposition parties capable of replacing Mubarak and will they respect the call for elections?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: I don’t see any of the current opposition groups capable of providing an alternative at the moment. And what I hope for is that we end up with direct democracy, not liberal democracy. Direct democracy is based on collective decision-making from below based on the committees that are springing up now in the neighborhoods and hopefully soon in the factories.

Liberal democracy is voting for rich fat cats once every five years.


Bluffton, Ohio: As a university student interested in social justice and social change, what can American students alike do to help during this situation?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: They can protest in the front of the Egyptian embassies and consulates and pressure their own government into cutting the aid they give to the Mubarak dictatorship.


Durham, N.C.: How much truth is there to rumors that police are behind the looting?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: These rumors are largely through many of those criminal thugs who work closely with the police who use them against political dissidents previously in elections and in protests.


Coon Rapids, MN: Do you think the new government will be a secular one?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: At the moment it is very hard to say what the outcome of the uprising will be since it’s not over yet. However, the Islamic forces are not running the show. Personally I’m hoping for a secular system.


New York, NY: I am a Coptic Christian and would like to know if Coptic youth are taking part in the protests? And if you have spoken to any of them what are their hopes for Coptic rights if the regime leaves? Please give us some information. Thank you.

Hossam el-Hamalawy: Despite the call by the Coptic church in Egypt not to take part in the protests because the church is closely affiliated to the Mubarak regime but many of the Coptic youth are taking part in the uprising and the Muslim protesters largely welcome that and in demonstrations there are always slogans chanted by the demonstrators calling for unity between Copts and Muslims against the regime and denouncing sectarianism.


London: What does “diffusing the revolution” mean for you? What is the aim of this revolution if not an interim leader and then a properly and freely elected new government?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: The revolution for me is about radical redistribution of wealth and a government that will represent the will of the Egyptian people when it comes to civil liberties in addition to a pro-resistance stand vis a vis the U.S. hegemony on the region and Israel. ElBaradei is not the man for that.


Toronto, Canada: We see the size of the street protests but what types of organizations are springing up to organize these? For instance neighbourhood committees, factory committees, political parties. Or is it still primarily “spontaneous” and localized organizations?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: In many cases the protests are spontaneous but slowly there are grassroots organizations that are mushrooming to manage the protests, including the neighborhood committees, the few independent trade unions we have and hopefully soon factory committees.


London: Do you see this as a popular, mass led, revolution? What chance do the Muslim Brotherhood have of hijacking it?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: It is a popular mass revolution indeed. However, history is full of previous cases where groups have hijacked the uprisings. Up until now the Brotherhood have not presented themselves as an alternative to Mubarak. But who knows about tomorrow?


Washington, DC: If Mubarak steps down, is there a fear that a radical regime will take his place instead of a democratic one? How likely is that to happen?

Hossam el-Hamalawy: If you are talking radical, like in radical redistribution of wealth and active support for the spread of regional dissent against both the local Arab dictators and the western backers, then we welcome the radicalism. But if it was radicalism in the direction of religious fanatacism we definitely do not want that and I see no signs on the ground that religious fanatics are taking over.

Læs det hele!

George W. Bush og Mubarak

George W. Bush og Mubarak

“Our friendship is strong. It’s a cornerstone of — one of the main cornerstones of our policy in this region, and it’s based on our shared commitment to peace, security and prosperity.  I appreciate the opportunity, Mr. President, to give you an update on my trip. And I appreciate the advice you’ve given me. You’ve seen a lot in your years as President; you’ve got a great deal of experience, and I appreciate you feeling comfortable in sharing that experience once again with me.  I really appreciate Egypt’s support in the war on terror.

Blot en kommentar til dette.