Friday, February 11, 2011

Thanks to a Wikileaked cable dated December 30, 2008, we have further evidence that the US was supporting and encouraging young Egyptian dissidents who wanted to change their country. That isn't new. What's new is that the State Department simultaneously viewed the young activists as quixotic, and dismissed the claim that opposition groups were sketching a plan to oust the regime before the 2011 election. Read my latest piece about the April 6 Youth and their disbelieving US Embassy interlocutors.

And if you don't know who the man pictured above is, you may soon. His name is Ahmed Maher and he is one of the invisible heroes of this revolution.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

egypt update

Greetings from the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan. I just finished taping an interview with Frontline for a piece about the Egypt uprising that the producers are hurrying to put together for a segment later this month. I'm flying home in a few hours.

I'm also pleased to report that all of the people mentioned in the note below have been released from police custody, according to two sources so far. This is excellent news for them and their families, of course, and is also further evidence of the softened tone we're hearing from the clinging-on regime. (For the time being, at least.)

I also received this text from one of the April 6 Youth organizers yesterday (Tuesday, EST):

"We will organize a great demonstration on Friday in all of Egypt."

Galvanized by the release of Google's Wael Ghonim, and his moving television interview, the protesters have dubbed Friday's event the Friday of Martyrs. Ghonim tweeted the following earlier today:

We are hoping that the "Friday of Martyrs" will be the world largest funeral to bid farewell to 300 Egyptians #Jan25

As for all of this talk about the limited significance of social media, or the notion that it's the least interesting aspect of the uprising--I don't understand it. I'm hoping to elaborate on this in an op-ed or column in the coming days.

Friday, February 4, 2011

arrest updates

In addition to this Friday-morning update to my post for's Danger Room Here is the latest arrest info I have.

This list of names has been confirmed by two sources.

Mohamed Adel, of the April 6 Youth
Amr Ali, of the April 6 Youth
Mohamed Arafat, of the El Baradei Campaign
Shady Mohammed, of the April 6 Youth
Mohammed Malmy, of the April 6 Youth
Mostafa Zaky, of the April 6 Youth
Yahia el Hosiny, of the April 6 Youth

As of early evening Cairo time, I had conflicting reports that Mohammed Adel and Sameth Roshdy, both of the April 6 Youth, had been arrested. Well-known blogger Wael Abbas may have been picked up briefly, but his colleague at Freedom House says he is now free. Or I guess that should be "free".

Thursday, February 3, 2011

reporting about egypt

I wrote a story for Wired three years ago, which has suddenly put me in a position to report and--I hope--accurately relay some information about events on the ground in Cairo, especially as they relate to the tech-savvy dissident group called April 6 Youth. The photo on the left is from that fateful day in 2008, by the beach in Alexandria.

Some recent articles I've written or helped report:
facebook activists arrested
propaganda text messages flood vodafone accounts
the techie dissidents behind the uprising

On this blog, I will try to post both news items, as well as some less time-sensitive material, and maybe the occasional photo. For now, I'll leave you with this letter. It was a mass e-mail sent by one of the April 6 Youth leaders three years ago. I received emails like this now and then; they mostly gathered dust in a folder on my desktop. Needless to say, they read differently now.

subject: April 6 Youth Movement
We are a group of youth gathered by our love to Egypt .. We met on Facebook during our call for strike on April 6, we called for it by all means .. And many of us decided to continue in this way by forming a youth movement, independent from any direction or trend called April 6 Youth Movement.

The vast majority of us do not belong to any political trend .. And each had some previous experience.. The only thing that brought us all together is our love to Egypt and the keen desire and determination to save it from bad conditions, which reached in all areas as a result of the tyrannical rule of the National Party for more than 27 years.

We have decided to reserve our independence from any political faction in Egypt and go through our different experience ,by our new youthful thoughts and ideas ,and beneficiaries of any former experiences with all respect and appreciation.

We welcomed the cooperation with all political factions without exclusion or prior sensitivity to any trend, because we are convinced that this critical moment in the history of Egypt may can only solved by the coalition and cooperation among all national forces and groups wishing to reform and change the peaceful conditions of Egypt.

We all dream of the cooperation of all forces, currents and ideas to get Egypt out of this dangerous situation .. And we agreed on the vision,goals,and plans and the rules governing the dialogue between us.And we thank who welcomed the idea,and those who refused our ideas,we assure them our highest consideration.

We've been suffering since we started from security strikes and arrests that started on April 6 and the unjustified violence and kidnapping of one of the founders of the Movement and torturing him at the state security headquarters , passing through arrests in July 23 ,and security forces trapping us during a huge celebration on Nov.4.. We are still barred from doing any other public events and still facing continued threats and harassments and arrests.

.. And the latest arrests were right after Eid Al Adha prayers, which began immediately after the Eid prayers, when they arrested some young people,all what they've done is just trying to make young people like them aware of the importance of positiveness and removal of fear of political practice and expression of opinion. Three young people were arrested "Nour Hamdi " and "Ahmed Ashraf," and "Islam Said," then followed the arrest of "Shawky Ragab" and "Rami Menshawy" during their solidarity with the families of Mahalla prisoners.

This is in addition to the use of security services to some rumor mongers who are trying to create penetration and the continued problems and strife between us and trying hard to create problems between us and other groups.

Nobody supports us legally except our friends the lawyers some lawyers , and some human rights centers and we are suffering from a weird and suspicious ignore and blackout.

Despite the rejection of any funding from any internal or external sources, but we aspire to the legal support for the release of our prisoners and the media support for the deployment of our just causes and making our ideas reach everyone.

Despite all the suffering we are experiencing either by problems in our jobs or by facing the security forces, but every day we become more determined to continued in our way which we have chosen for ourselves fully convinced.

More determined to awaken people to demand their lost rights.

More determined to claim social justice and amercement for every corrupt.

Determined to claim more political rights and freedoms.

More determined to form a coalition of all national forces and ideas that are in the rescue of Egypt.

And will not be intimidated by the cunning of corrupt and the use of their illegal means to strike us.

Youth April 6
Youth Who Loves Egypt