Archiv der Kategorie 'Women & LGBT'

The people didn‘t topple the regime…

Tahrir at night, Januar 25, 2012

In the end, it was all the big celebration all sides wanted: the islamist groups who put their big stages in the square, the revolutionaries who felt, after month of repression and frustration, like celebrating and forgetting all the worries for one day, all the egyptian who, in a life of daily fighting about surviving, enjoyed a day of joy and proud.

The big clashed many people were afraid of did not happen. The military dropped their plans of celebrating themselves in the squares, all around downtown and other cities, neither soldiers nor police was seen. They let the people celebrate this day. And the people celebrated it – millions in Tahrir-Square, in Alexandria, in all big cities of Egypt. The demands of the ones who wanted to turn this day into a huge protest against military rule were loud – but still they got lost in the mix of celebrations, demands, memories and voices that echoed this day. But: parts of the movement stayed on the square over night. Another sit-in has started, against the warnings of some activists who said that „every sit-in ended in a disaster the last months“. So far the military did not attack. For Friday another big march is planned. The people didn‘t topple the regime – this was one of the most widely used graffitis the last weeks. The regime is still in power and the fights are going on.


The war against the bloggers

December 4 the syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi was arrested by Syrian authorities at the border to Jordan when she wanted to leave the country to attend a conference in Amman. Razan lived in Cairo for some months, I met her there, according to what she told us she already left Syria because she was unter threat, why she finally decided to go back I don‘t know. Razan was one of the few bloggers who wrote under their real name, already before the protest in Syria started in march, she was blogging about feminist topics and homosexuality, later the revolution in Syria, the questions how to organize the protest, how to support the prisoners were here main topics. She worked quite closed with some western NGOs and attended several conferences (what she saw quite critical herself according to this articel (german). Her collegue and friend blogger Hussein Ghrer just got free december 1st after being detained for 37 days – the good news was the last post on her blog before she got arrested herself.

The campaign #freerazan started right after her arrest and spread fast – Razan was a prominent member of the trans-arabic young blogger szene, she was well connected to bloggers and human rights activists in several other countries. It didn‘t help her: After being in jail for 11 days she was charged on wednesday. The accusations were: 1.establishing organization that aims to change social & economical entity of the state; 2.weakening the national sentiment and 3.trying to ignite sectarian strife. if she would be charged this would mean 15 years in jail. According to her sister, the case is postponed to Saturday. For further info read the report of Reporters without borders with links to the campaign pages, one of the campaign pages and more tips how to support Razan.

The reactions from the blogger community ranged between shock and speechlessness. Not only because of the arrest of Razan – she is part of the war against the bloggers that is going on in several countries at the same time.
Alaa Abd El-Fattah, one of the most famous egyptian bloggers just got his detention renewed today. It’s seems the egyptian military is unwilling to let him free – and it seems that the charge of „insulting the army“ is more dangerous in Egypt at them moment than the charge of killing. While the public prosecutor let all the people free today who were arrested in the Maspiro events 9th of october, Alaa is still in Tora prison, because he is „facing different charges“.
Wednesday, the same day Alaa got another 15 days of detention, Maikel Nabil Sanad, already in jail since April, was judged by a military appeal court again to two years in prison, one year less than he got in April for writing a blog post analyzing the role of the egyptian army during the revolution. Sanad is in hunger-strike since august (short articel in taz, GPMagazin/Connection e.V.).
Today, Bahrein blogger and activist Zainab Alkhawaja got arrested when she staged a sit-in in a traffic circle (see the youtube video).

#freealaa #freezainab #freerazan #freemaikel

In a time where in countries like Egypt the offical press is again and in Syria still censored and under control of the government, free speech and critics in the internet seems to be the biggest threat for the ones who are ruling by brutality, aggression and lies…

NO gay girl blogger in Syria…

…but a straight men blogger in Scotland.

A few days ago media all over the world reported the „kidnapping“ of blogger Amina Arraf, author of the blog A gay girl in Damascus (see old post). Soon first sources started to question the identity of Amina. They were right: On Sunday, Ali Abunimah and Benjamin Doherty of the website Electronic Intifada found out that the real author of the blog was an american man: Tom McMaster,living in Edinburgh, Scotland. A few hours later, MdMaster posted on Aminas blog and apologized for lying to his readers.

More about the case soon…

So far, a good overview over the discussion about Aminas „fake-blog“ can be found on the english Wikipedia-Site and on Globalvoices online.

Blogger in Syria kidnapped

The Syrian blogger Amina Arraf, blogging as Amina Abdullah was kidnapped today, supposedly by Syrian authorities.

Amina and her blog A gay girl in Damascus had become famous during the last weeks of the uprising for her analysis and strong words about the situation in Syria, the hopes and fears of the people. Though she could have left the country (US-citizen) she decided to stay with her father to fight for a better future for Syria. Read her last blog entry she wrote yesterday, probably the reason for arresting her.

UPDATE: One day later a discussion about the identity of Amina started after an article in New York Times who couldn‘t find anybody who has actually met her personally. The picture below, that before was said to show, Amina, seems to belong to another women living in London.

Adding some points:
- The blog, at least this is my impression, is written from somebody who is in Syria, otherwise it could not contain so much „on-the-ground“ information (or somebody would do a great work collecting it!).
- Looking at the current situation in Syria and on what is written on the blog, it is pretty obvious that the blog neither contains all the information about the person writing it nor all the information in it CAN be true. Writing such a blog in these days without changing personal information, dates, places, whatever, would just be really stupid (and life-threatening). Also I would definitely not meet any foreign reporter or talk through the phone when I‘m currently hiding. The same with the photo: I must admit I really wondered when I saw it, but of course if they say it’s here… Now actually I think: I would definitely not put my real pictures on my facebook-page being a blogger in Syria these day.
- The discussion about fiction or non-fiction sounds pretty old-fashioned. All kind of writing, of telling stories is fiction in a way, there is no single reality you can just „print“, instead you are telling are story about it, about part of it, and in telling you change what you are telling about so that both, the story and what the story is about can not be separated, dinstinguished in the end. It’s more about art, about creating a character that is at the same time „artificial“ and based in a web of information, „facts“, thoughts, emotions. Every more or less personal blog works like this – which blog, which portraits would really claim to represent the „whole“ person or the person „as she is“? It is also the creation of a picture of somebody, something? One person can write different blogs, different books, articles, personal or not, none of them would represent „her“ entirely, many people can write one blog like they could write a theatre play or book. And in the same way Aminas Blog can be written by a man, a women, many people together – if Amina is fictional or not, does this really change the information, the thoughts it contains?
- from all that is written on the blog I don‘t guess that the author of the blog would spread false information – except for security. And this I would not only forgive but see as a necesary measure to be able to go on working.

Die syrische Bloggerin Amina Arraf, im Netz Amina Abdullah ist heute in Damaskus entführt worden, vermutlich von syrischen Sicherheitskräfte. Amina und ihr Blog A gay girl in Damascus wurde während der vergangenen Wochen des Aufstandes bekannt für Analysen und treffende Worte über die Situtation in Syrien, die Hoffnungen und Ängste der Menschen. Obwohl sie das Land hätte verlassen können (sie ist US-Staatsbürgerin) entschied sie sich, mit ihrem Vater zu bleiben und für eine bessere Zukunft für Syrien zu kämpfen. Lesenswert ihr letzter Blogeintrag , um die Stimmung in Syrien zu verstehen – der Eintrag, für den sie vermutlich verhaftet wurde.

UPDATE: Es gab Diskussionen über die Identität Aminas nach einem Artikel in der New York Times. Einige Anmerkungen dazu auf englisch oben, und einen ausnahmweise gar nicht schlechten Artikel auf Spiegel Online.