Posts tagged egypt

In a dictatorship, independent journalism by default becomes a form of activism, and the spread of information is essentially an act of agitation.
I am nervous as I write this. I am in my cold prison cell after my first official exercise session – four glorious hours in the grass yard behind our block and I don’t want that right to be snatched away.

I’ve 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.

Arab school textbooks rewritten after regime changes - FT.com

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.

fotojournalismus:

Pro-military crowds and supporters of the former president, Mohammed Morsi, pelt each other with rocks, fireworks and firebombs in street battles near Ramsis Square, Cairo, Egypt on Oct. 6, 2013.
[Credit : Emad Abdul Rahman/AP]

fotojournalismus:

Pro-military crowds and supporters of the former president, Mohammed Morsi, pelt each other with rocks, fireworks and firebombs in street battles near Ramsis Square, Cairo, Egypt on Oct. 6, 2013.

[Credit : Emad Abdul Rahman/AP]

Egypt
Yesterday: 34 ‘Islamists’ killed while in custody.
Today: 24 police killed in an ambush on their bus in Sinai.
Image: A Mohammed Morsi supporter injured when police broke up a sit-in lays on the ground near Cairo University, August 14, Hussein Tallal/AP via Boston.com.

Egypt

Yesterday: 34 ‘Islamists’ killed while in custody.

Today: 24 police killed in an ambush on their bus in Sinai.

Image: A Mohammed Morsi supporter injured when police broke up a sit-in lays on the ground near Cairo University, August 14, Hussein Tallal/AP via Boston.com.

Door Number One, Door Number Two?
Via Stowe Boyd.

Door Number One, Door Number Two?

Via Stowe Boyd.

A bullet may kill a man, but a lying camera kills a nation.
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.
Twitter Diplomacy
Last week Egypt issued an arrest warrant for the comedian Bassem Youssef for insulting Islam and the country’s President, Mohamed Morsi.
Jon Stewart, to whom Youssef is often compared, spent 10 minutes on his show Monday defending Youssef, talking about free speech and satire, and generally roasting Morsi.
Yesterday, someone at the US Embassy in Cairo sent out a link to The Daily Show clip.
Morsi’s office is not amused. Details at the New York Times.
Image: Screenshot, Storify by Rami Reda Khanfar capturing the exchange.

Twitter Diplomacy

Last week Egypt issued an arrest warrant for the comedian Bassem Youssef for insulting Islam and the country’s President, Mohamed Morsi.

Jon Stewart, to whom Youssef is often compared, spent 10 minutes on his show Monday defending Youssef, talking about free speech and satire, and generally roasting Morsi.

Yesterday, someone at the US Embassy in Cairo sent out a link to The Daily Show clip.

Morsi’s office is not amused. Details at the New York Times.

Image: Screenshot, Storify by Rami Reda Khanfar capturing the exchange.

Harlem Shake, North Africa Protest Edition

Internet culture and the memes it generates can be a wonderful thing. The swiftness with which something happening in one part of the world takes hold in another and many points in between constantly amazes.

Take The Harlem Shake, begun in Australia, emulated about everywhere from the Miami Heat in their locker room to a bunch of folk on a plane.

Better though, from Tunisia and Egypt where protesters have appropriated the dance and are using it to demonstrate against conservative Islamists.

Via The New York Times:

Hundreds of protesters danced outside the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, and students and ultraconservative Islamists known as Salafists clashed in Sidi Bouzid, the Tunisian town where the wave of uprisings in the Arab world began with a very different gesture of defiance.

The clashes in Tunisia came one day after conservative Salafists had tried and failed to stop the recording of a “Harlem Shake” video at a language school in the capital, Tunis.

The rally by about 400 activist dancers in Cairo on Thursday night, outside the offices of President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, was streamed live to the Web by activists and caught on video by the news site Egyptian El Badil.

The protest in Egypt followed the arrest last week in Cairo of four pharmaceutical students. They were charged with violating the country’s decency laws by dancing in their underwear to emulate the Australian “Harlem Shake” video that sparked the craze and has been viewed more than 18 million times in the past four weeks.

The version I’ve embedded here is from a small gathering in Tunisia with some dancers wearing thobes and fake beards to imitate their country’s conservatives. It starts with a few seconds of Gangnam Style before moving into the Harlem Shake which I find an impressively deft comment on how quickly our global culture moves from meme to meme and appropriates them as our own.

For other examples from larger demonstrations, visit The New York Times — Michael

Twelve Egyptian newspapers Tuesday refused to publish and five TV stations have suspended their broadcasts in protest of the new Islamist-drawn constitution, as tens of thousands prepare for an anti-Mursi rally outside the presidential palace. The self-imposed media blackout comes one day after several Egyptian newspapers, including Al Watan and Al-Masry Al-Youm, carried a front page image showing the silhouette of a reporter in shackles behind bars under the headline: ‘A constitution that cancels rights and shackles freedoms. No to dictatorship.’

Egypt’s media on strike ahead of anti-Mursi rally | Al Akhbar English (via theamericanbear)

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.

Citizen Journalism Outfitters in Cairo Succeed in Crowdfunding Campaign

An Egyptian “media collective” called Mosireen, which trains journalists and activists in the Cairo area, successfully finished its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

From an interview with the collective’s leader, Salma Said, posted at The Lede:

The activists initially came together to build an archive of clips documenting the street protests of early 2011, Ms. Said said, but then, struck by the lack of independent reporting on the post-Mubarak government, they began to make their own reports, often incorporating video recorded on phones. Given that the airwaves were still dominated by state channels that were loath to broadcast any critical reports on the country’s new rulers, the Mosireen activists staged a series of public screenings of video that challenged official accounts of clashes, like the claim that the security forces only used force against “thugs,” not peaceful protesters.

With it, they’ll continue to screen films, train journalists, and do archival work. See their videos, taken by those they’ve trained in workshops, on YoutTube or in Cairo.

#monazarat
After my identity was disclosed, it meant a lot of responsibilities. I kind of feel responsible for whatever I say on the page. I always ask myself, before every post, is that in the best interest of this country or not? I do not want to abuse a tool like this, because at the end of the day, it could lead to people dying, or it could lead to bringing the government, you know, bringing the country in the wrong direction. So it’s a lot of responsibility. I personally became more conservative than before; I calculate my steps before taking them. I truly love my country, and I think the people of Egypt deserve a much better life.
A year after the Egyptian uprising began, Wael Ghomin explains what his 1.8 million Facebook followers mean to him. 

Egyptian Revolution: “The Flood”

Part one of a three part documentary created by Heba Kandil, a former Reuters journalist, and produced by TrustMedia, the media development wing of the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The series captures the events through the eyes of one family.

Egyptian Revolution Part 2: The Clash
Egyptian Revolution Part 3: The Fall.

Run Time: 5:22.

Arabic versions of the documentary can be found here (part 1), here (part 2) and here (part 3).