intimidation

This tag is associated with 7 posts

Scores Arrested as the Police Clear Zuccotti Park – NYTimes.com

This mild report by the NYTimes of what happened at a anniversary march by Occupy Wall Street last night sounds like it could be describing exactly what happened in Tahrir Square at the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution… Yes, it is the evidence of a police state on the rise, yes, everyone should be appalled whether you agree with the politics and tactics of Occupy or not! Our freedom can not be trampled on like this when we hold it in front of our troops like a banner as we invade and bomb other countries and sacrifice our young soldiers!

Scores Arrested as the Police Clear Zuccotti Park – NYTimes.com.

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Even tear gas cannot blind us.

In the absence of helicopters, gunfire, and breaking glass my mind is starting to flashback to the first days, when the internet was blocked and I could not share what I was seeing happen around me. So before I force myself to sleep, in the strangely quiet Cairo night, I leave you with one more thought… 
All the people were with this movement before the government’s propaganda machine caught up. I know this because even with eyes blinded by tear gas I could see the bottled water being dropped from apartment windows to the protesters fighting for their right to demonstrate for a free Egypt on the streets below.

A return to normal?… I don’t think so.

Movement on the streets is becoming easy again and shops are mostly reopened, the attitude of most towards us foreigners who remain is curiosity and welcome. Yet there have been mounting reports of suspicion, detention, and abuse of foreigners, including non-journalists. The situation inside Tahrir is safe unless you are actively aiding the protesters (food, blankets) and are spotted by the plethora of intelligence operatives there. However, I am still uneasy about approaching Tahrir from my neighborhood as there are informants for various groups among the neighbors and this has resulted in problems for other foreigners and Egyptians alike. Armed plain clothes police with uniformed police have been visiting foreigners in their homes (Euro-American) to ask why they are still here and even examine their computers.

I went to the square today after staying away for two days for my own protection and that of those around me. Again I reiterate, it is not about the safety of being there in the demonstrations but of being associated with them when one is on the outside. Returning to the demonstration was like putting salve on a wound. The square resembles a mini-city. They have organized everything, in the organic way that Egyptians do best. The festive atmosphere has been added to by Mad Hatter hats in red, white and black, popcorn vendors, elaborate displays of protest signs, and shrines to those who have been so unfortunately lost.

We seem now to be in limbo, waiting to see in which direction the state apparatus moves regarding security measures. One worry is that they are using this time while ninety percent are out of the country to crackdown on those who “suspiciously” remain here, to keep us afraid and inside our homes or get us to leave. The curfew which has become effectively moot for Egyptians is still being randomly enforced for foreigners and used as a reason for detention. With intelligence and informants for various parties infiltrating every building and present on every street it is hard to know from what angle the next threat may come. While many seem to think that we are steadily sliding back towards normalcy here in Cairo, I feel that life is anything but normal and will continue to reveal many surprises as the situation develops. Keeping my head about me, monitoring and trying to be prepared for whatever turn things may take.

Rachel Maddow – The whole world is watching Egypt

This is a must watch. She is a little intense but it is the most direct analysis and clear assessment of the government’s actions over the past days that I have heard in the Western media.

Mubarak Thugs Target Cairo Scholars Listserv

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Contact: Samer Ali
Date: February 5, 2011
Telephone: 512-731-9700
Mubarak Thugs Target Cairo Scholars Listserv

If you are an American student or scholar working in Egypt, you likely heard about Cairo Scholars by word of mouth or google search before your arrival . It’s often dubbed the “Craigslist of Cairo” and upon landing you might have consulted this listserv to find an apartment, roommate, daycare, or Arabic lessons in your adoptive city.
On Wednesday, February 2, pro-Mubarak thugs came out to the streets of Cairo, but also took to the internet to intimidate foreign students and scholars on Cairo Scholars accusing them of being “f’n traitors” and “agents of the Americans” who “want to set the whole country on fire.” One pro-Mubarak loyalist threatened: “u have been reported.”
Since Wednesday, Cairo Scholars members have reported dozens of incidents of foreigners being arrested or detained for questioning by pro-Mubarak police and state security. This harassment is state-sponsored and constitutes a direct assault on cultural diplomacy and academic exchange with the people of Egypt. This pattern of intimidation includes that of journalists, whose prime offense is connecting Egypt to the outside world.
  
Unlike Craigslist though, Cairo Scholars’ express purpose is to support specifically students and scholars abroad doing the work of cultural exchange and person-to-person diplomacy. For that reasons, the list has a closed membership in order to promote a sense of community and relative trust among students and scholars abroad, who need to depend on each other for daily needs.

These threats come at a time of crisis, when information flow is essential for students and scholars abroad to make informed decisions about where to get food and provisions, how to cope and whether to stay in Egypt or uproot themselves.

For more information about Cairo Scholars and the state of its members, please contact Prof. Samer Ali, Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin, email: <saali@mail.utexas.edu>.

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