Alaa Abd el-Fattah’s detention by the military junta in Egypt, has been extended for a further 15 days. Less we should imagine that activists in the US or UK are immune from such actions -they are not. Police geared up in jack boots with rubber bullets, pepper spray and truncheons attack protestors in Oakland and San Francisco on a daily basis. Similar assults have taken place across cities in the US and UK – protestors everywhere are vulnerable to becoming Alaa. His aunt, writer Ahdaf Soueif tells us more about who Alaa is and spells out clearly the implications for the arrest of Alaa for Egyptians and for the 99% everywhere.
As arguments raged around who should write the new constitution, Alaa started a project to get “the people” to describe their dream Egypt. In June he wrote in the well-respected Egyptian daily, Shorouk: “What is the value of a constitution formulated without the real participation of the people? The proposals coming from our coalition of elites are catastrophic. They propose … that the constitution should appoint the army [as] protector of the civil nature of the state; that is to allow an institution with wide repressive powers and a history of interfering in government to be free of any supervision by any elected body.”
In a May blog he’d questioned the legitimacy of conscription if conscripts were used as a workforce for commercial ventures rather than to defend the country. But he was to enter a major confrontation with the military when, on 9 October, a peaceful (mainly Coptic) protest was attacked by the army and, worried, Alaa went looking for his friend, the activist Mina Daniel. He found him in the Coptic hospital, among the dead.
Alaa and his friends then did something remarkable; from the morgue they took on the entire system. In the face of the hospital issuing death certificates from “natural causes” they persuaded the stricken families to demand autopsies. Activist lawyers pressured the public prosecutor to order them. They fetched the coroner and his staff and persuaded them to carry out the autopsies in the presence of physicians whom they trusted. And then they sat them individually with the families to explain the reports to them. ..Continue reading
Alaa’s mother, Laila Soueif, is in the 7th day of a hunger strike calling for the release of her son.
Alaa has written another post from Tora Prison [Translation via Sarrahs World}
have spent Eid holidays away from the family for the last three years,living abroad. The first day of Eid would pass like any other normal day; we go to work in the morning and arrive home late. If it wasn’t for the odd phone call from the family, we wouldn’t even realize it was Eid.
But for me this Eid was different, this was the first Eid we would spend with the family after our return.
But the military decided that it is not our right to celebrate. I spent Eid in the cell and my family spent it in a queue that lasted the whole day, just to end up just so a few of them could be admitted to see me in a visit lasting minutes in the presence of police agents twice their number.
Between making sure my mother — who has started a hunger strike for my release — is okay. And the intensity of not being able to exchange letters with Manal, those minutes were gone, and the first day of Eid passed.
The staff and officers of the prison have to celebrate Eid and that means the prison only works at half of its capacity. So then, close these cells four days straight. No visits, no breaks, no newspapers, no food from outside visitors to get in. What? You want criminals to celebrate Eid?
If it wasn’t for your tweets that were sent in the form of Eid telegraphs, I wouldn’t have felt that there was Eid happening in the outside world. Thank you to everyone who went to the trouble to send them, and thank you to the people who came up with the idea … Continue reading
Why Free Alaa is important?
and from me – Cause we worked together for a brief moment in Bangalore 2009 and he is inspiring, a true revolutionary because he is a wonderful guy with a sense of humour and humility.