Posts tagged with ‘egypt’
Iâve been locked in my cell 24 hours a day for the past 10 days, allowed out only for visits to the prosecutor for questioning, so the chance for a walk in the weak winter sunshine is precious.
So too are the books on history, Arabic and fiction that my neighbors have passed to me, and the pad and pen I now write with.
I want to cling to these tiny joys and avoid anything that might move the prison authorities to punitively withdraw them. I want to protect them almost as much as I want my freedom back.
Peter Greste, A letter from Tora prison.
The News, via ABC (Australia):
Australian journalist Peter Greste will be detained in solitary confinement in Egypt for at least another 15 days.
Greste was arrested in Cairo in late December along with two [Al Jazeera] colleagues, bureau chief Mohamed Adel Fahmy and producer Baher Mohamed.
Egyptian authorities are accusing the crew of holding illegal meetings with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist group by the military-installed government.
However, the trio says it was merely reporting all sides of the story.
As Greste writes, “The three of us have been accused of collaborating with a terrorist organization [The Muslim Brotherhood], of hosting MB meetings in our hotel rooms, of using unlicensed equipments to deliberately broadcast false information to further their aims and defame and discredit the Egyptian state. The state has presented no evidence to support the allegations, and we have not been formally charged with any crime. But the prosecutor general has just extended our initial 15-day detention by another 15 days to give investigators more time to find something. He can do this indefinitely – one of my prison mates has been behind bars for 6 months without a single charge.”
Hassan El-Laithy, Egypt’s ambassador to Australia, says the detention isn’t personal. Instead, it’s aimed at Al Jazeera as a news organization.
“It has nothing to do with Peter Greste as a person, definitely,” El-Laithy told ABC. “But it is whether those working for a specific television station are abiding by the laws of that specific host country or not.”
Small solace, we imagine, for Greste and his colleagues.
While school curriculums in the Middle East and North Africa have long emphasized allegiance to a version of history promoting militaristic Arab nationalism, small steps are being taken to diversify perspectives represented in textbooks and classrooms since the regime changes of the last few years. Financial Times’ Borzou Daragahi reports that in Libya, for example, the parliament has recently allowed the option of studying the country’s minority languages, Amazigh, Tabu and Tuareg, in school. And in Egypt, the story of Khaled Saeed (the Egyptian computer programmer whose death sparked protests, a social media movement against torture, and the subsequent Egyptian revolution) is being taught to Egyptian second-graders. How long this will last is unknown, because of pushback from Egypt’s security forces. It’s an incredibly complicated reformation movement: read more about it here.
Somewhat Related: A 2011 Carnegie Endowment report discusses what education for empowered citizenship in the Arab World could and should look like, and what challenges such a model faces.
— Words on a leaflet handed out in Cairo. David Kenner, Foreign Policy. Egypt’s Media War Is Almost as Nasty as the One in the Streets.
Background (via CNN):
Newspapers and television stations known for criticizing President Mohamed Morsy are falling silent Tuesday and Wednesday to protest the country’s new draft constitution and an edict the head of state issued nearly two weeks ago to expand his powers.
As Egyptians count down to a public referendum on the draft constitution to be held in less than two weeks, some newspapers disappeared from news stands Tuesday. Others printed the same protest picture of the press symbolically behind bars with the headline, “No to Dictatorship.”
Article 48 of the draft constitution ties media freedom to the framework of society and national security, which many Egyptian journalists see as vague terminology.
More: See here for a Q&A on what’s driving Egypt’s unrest.
— A year after the Egyptian uprising began, Wael Ghomin explains what his 1.8 million Facebook followers mean to him.