Manhattan Protesters March Against Gaza War

Yesterday's demo was ten times bigger:
Thousands poured into city streets Saturday in protest of the Israeli assault in Gaza. Even the cold temperatures couldn't turn the massive group away as their anger and frustration over the hundreds of Palestinians killed so far brought them out for another day of demonstrations. "We want the attacks to stop on gaza because gaza people are not animals," said one protester. "It's just sad, like David versus and Goliath, we throw a rock and they throw a bomb, it's not fair," said another protester. "Everyone has a right to live, not just Israelis, Palestinians also have a right to live," said another protester. The fight for that right sparked one of the largest turnout of protesters since the conflict started a week ago. After meeting in Times Square armed with signs, Palestinian flags, and bullhorns, the crowd then marched to the Israeli Consulate on 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue where masses of people stretched for blocks.
   
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قصيدة "الجسر" لمحمود درويش

 

الجسر

مشيًا على الأقدام أو زحفًا على الأيدي، نعودُ  قالوا ..  وكان الصخر يضمر  والمساء يدًا تقودُ ..  لم يعرفوا أن الطريق إلى الطريق  دم، ومصيدة، وبِيدُ  كل القوافل قبلهم غاصت،  وكان النهر يبصق ضفّتيه  قطعاً من اللحم المفتت  في وجوه العائدين  كانوا ثلاثة عائدين  شيخ، وابنته، وجندي قديم  يقفون عند الجسر ..  كان الجسر نعسانًا، وكان الليل قبعة، وبعد دقائق يصلون هل في البيت ماء ؟ وتحسَّس المِفتاح ثم تلا من القرآن آية  قال الشيخ منتعشًا: وكم من منزل في الأرض يألفه الفتى  قالت: ولكنّ المنازل يا أبي أطلال

فأجاب: تبنيها يدان ..  ولم يُتمَّ حديثه، إذ صاح صوت في الطريق: تعالَوْا  وتلته طقطقة البنادق ..  لن يمر العائدون  حرس الحدود مرابط،  يحمي الحدود من الحنين 

أمر بإطلاق الرصاص على الذي يجتاز هذا ) الجسر، هذا الجسر مقصلة الذي رفض التسول  تحت ظل وكالة الغوث الجديدة. والموت بالمجان  تحت الذل والأمطار، من يرفضه يُقتل عند  هذا الجسر، من الجسر مقصلة الذي ما زال يحلم  بالوطن )

الطلقة الأولى أزاحت عن جبين الليل  قبعة الظلام  والطلقة الأخرى ..  أصابت قلب جندي قديم ..  والشيخ يأخذ كفَّ ابنته ويتلو  همسًا من القرآن سورة  وبلهجة كالحلم قال، وعينه عند النجوم ـ عينا حبيبتي الصغيرة،  ليَ يا جنود، ووجهها القمحي لي  والفستقُ الحلبي في فمها  وطلعتها الأميرة، والضفيرة  ليَ يا جنود  ليَ كلها، هذي حبيبتي الأخيرة 

قَدِمُوا إليه .. مقهقهين  ـ لا تقتلوها.. اقتلوني  اقتلوا غدها، وخلوها بدوني  وخذوا فداها،  كلَّ الحديقة، والنقود،  وكل أكياس الطحين  وإذا أردتم، فاقتلوني 

كانت مياه النهر أغزر .. فالذين رفضوا ) هناك الموت بالمجان أعطوا النهر لونًا آخر  والجسر، حين يصير تمثالاً، سيُصبغ - دون  (ريب - بالظهيرة والدماء وخضرة الموت المفاجئ

.. وبرغم أن القتل كالتدخين..  لكنَّ الجنود الطيبين،  الطالعين على فهارس دفترٍ ..  قذفته أمعاء السنين،  لم يقتلوا الإثنين ..  كان الشيخ يسقط في مياه النهر ..  والبنت التي صارت يتيمة  كانت ممزقة الثياب،  وطار عطر الياسمين  عن صدرها العاري الذي  ملأته رائحة الجريمة  والصمت خيَّم مرة أخرى،  وعاد النهر يَبصق ضفّتيه  قطعاً من اللحم المفتت  .. في وجوه العائدين  لم يعرفوا أن الطريق إلى الطريق  دم، ومصيدة، ولم يعرف أحد  شيئاً عن النهر الذي  يمتص لحم النازحين 

الجسر مِقصلة لمن عادوا لمنزلهم، وأن الصمت مِقصلة ) الضمير. هل يسمع الكتاب،  تحت القبعات، حرير نهر من دم، أم يرقصون  الآن في نادي العراة كأن شيئًا لم يكن،  (ومغنيات الحب - كالجنرال - يشغلهن نخب الانتصار -؟

لكنَّ صوتًا، فرَّ من ليل الجريمة  طاف في كل الزوابع  ورَوَتْه أجنحة الرياح  :لكل نافذة، ومذياع، وشارع   عينا حبيبتي الصغيرة " ليَ، يا جنود، ووجهها القمحي لي  الفستقُ الحلبيُّ في فمها  وطلعتها الأميرة، والضفيرة  "لا تقتلوها .. واقتلوني

وأُضيف في ذيل الخبر : كل الذين  كتبوا عن الدم والجريمة  :في هوامش دفتر التاريخ، قالوا  ومن الحماقة أن يظن المعتدون،  المرتدون ثياب شاه،  أنهم قتلوا الحنين  أما الفتاة، فسوف تكسو صدرها العاري  وتعرف كيف تزرع ياسمين  أما أبوها الشَّهْم، فالزيتون لن يصفرَّ من دمه،  *ولن يبقى حزين  ومن الجدير بأن يسجل:  *أن للمرحوم تاريخًا، وأنَّ له بنين  

الجسر يكبر كل يوم كالطريق، وهجرة ) الدم في مياه النهر تنحت من حصى الوادي  تماثيلاً لها لون النجوم، ولسعة الذكرى،  (وطعم الحب حين يكون أكثر من عبادة

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قصيدة "لا تصالح" لأمل دنقل

مقتل كليب: الوصايا العشر

.. فنظر "كليب" حواليه وتحسَّر، وذرف دمعة وتعبَّر، ورأى عبدًا واقفًا فقال له: أريد منك يا عبد الخير، قبل أن تسلبني، أن تسحبني إلى هذه البلاطة القريبة من هذا الغدير؛ لأكتب وصيتي إلى أخي الأمير سالم الزير، فأوصيه بأولادي وفلذة كبدي..

فسحبه العبد إلى قرب البلاطة، والرمح غارس في ظهره، والدم يقطر من جنبه.. فغمس "كليب" إصبعه في الدم، وخطَّ على البلاطة وأنشأ يقول ..

(1)

 

1) لا تصالحْ! ولو منحوك الذهبْ أترى حين أفقأ عينيكَ ثم أثبت جوهرتين مكانهما.. هل ترى..؟ هي أشياء لا تشترى..: ذكريات الطفولة بين أخيك وبينك، حسُّكما - فجأةً - بالرجولةِ، هذا الحياء الذي يكبت الشوق.. حين تعانقُهُ، الصمتُ - مبتسمين - لتأنيب أمكما.. وكأنكما ما تزالان طفلين! تلك الطمأنينة الأبدية بينكما: أنَّ سيفانِ سيفَكَ.. صوتانِ صوتَكَ أنك إن متَّ: للبيت ربٌّ وللطفل أبْ هل يصير دمي -بين عينيك- ماءً؟ أتنسى ردائي الملطَّخَ بالدماء.. تلبس -فوق دمائي- ثيابًا مطرَّزَةً بالقصب؟ إنها الحربُ! قد تثقل القلبَ.. لكن خلفك عار العرب لا تصالحْ.. ولا تتوخَّ الهرب!

 (2) لا تصالح على الدم.. حتى بدم! لا تصالح! ولو قيل رأس برأسٍ أكلُّ الرؤوس سواءٌ؟ أقلب الغريب كقلب أخيك؟! أعيناه عينا أخيك؟! وهل تتساوى يدٌ.. سيفها كان لك بيدٍ سيفها أثْكَلك؟ سيقولون: جئناك كي تحقن الدم.. جئناك. كن -يا أمير- الحكم سيقولون: ها نحن أبناء عم. قل لهم: إنهم لم يراعوا العمومة فيمن هلك واغرس السيفَ في جبهة الصحراء إلى أن يجيب العدم إنني كنت لك فارسًا، وأخًا، وأبًا، ومَلِك!

 (3) لا تصالح .. ولو حرمتك الرقاد صرخاتُ الندامة وتذكَّر..  (إذا لان قلبك للنسوة اللابسات السواد ولأطفالهن الذين تخاصمهم الابتسامة) أن بنتَ أخيك "اليمامة" زهرةٌ تتسربل -في سنوات الصبا- بثياب الحداد كنتُ، إن عدتُ: تعدو على دَرَجِ القصر، تمسك ساقيَّ عند نزولي.. فأرفعها -وهي ضاحكةٌ- فوق ظهر الجواد ها هي الآن.. صامتةٌ حرمتها يدُ الغدر: من كلمات أبيها، ارتداءِ الثياب الجديدةِ من أن يكون لها -ذات يوم- أخٌ! من أبٍ يتبسَّم في عرسها.. وتعود إليه إذا الزوجُ أغضبها.. وإذا زارها.. يتسابق أحفادُه نحو أحضانه، لينالوا الهدايا.. ويلهوا بلحيته (وهو مستسلمٌ) ويشدُّوا العمامة.. لا تصالح! فما ذنب تلك اليمامة لترى العشَّ محترقًا.. فجأةً، وهي تجلس فوق الرماد؟!

 (4) لا تصالح ولو توَّجوك بتاج الإمارة كيف تخطو على جثة ابن أبيكَ..؟ وكيف تصير المليكَ.. على أوجهِ البهجة المستعارة؟ كيف تنظر في يد من صافحوك.. فلا تبصر الدم.. في كل كف؟ إن سهمًا أتاني من الخلف.. سوف يجيئك من ألف خلف فالدم -الآن- صار وسامًا وشارة لا تصالح، ولو توَّجوك بتاج الإمارة إن عرشَك: سيفٌ وسيفك: زيفٌ إذا لم تزنْ -بذؤابته- لحظاتِ الشرف واستطبت- الترف

 (5) لا تصالح ولو قال من مال عند الصدامْ ".. ما بنا طاقة لامتشاق الحسام.." عندما يملأ الحق قلبك: تندلع النار إن تتنفَّسْ ولسانُ الخيانة يخرس لا تصالح ولو قيل ما قيل من كلمات السلام كيف تستنشق الرئتان النسيم المدنَّس؟ كيف تنظر في عيني امرأة.. أنت تعرف أنك لا تستطيع حمايتها؟ كيف تصبح فارسها في الغرام؟ كيف ترجو غدًا.. لوليد ينام -كيف تحلم أو تتغنى بمست??بلٍ لغلام وهو يكبر -بين يديك- بقلب مُنكَّس؟ لا تصالح ولا تقتسم مع من قتلوك الطعام وارْوِ قلبك بالدم.. واروِ التراب المقدَّس.. واروِ أسلافَكَ الراقدين.. إلى أن تردَّ عليك العظام!

 (6) لا تصالح ولو ناشدتك القبيلة باسم حزن "الجليلة" أن تسوق الدهاءَ وتُبدي -لمن قصدوك- القبول سيقولون: ها أنت تطلب ثأرًا يطول فخذ -الآن- ما تستطيع: قليلاً من الحق.. في هذه السنوات القليلة إنه ليس ثأرك وحدك، لكنه ثأر جيلٍ فجيل وغدًا.. سوف يولد من يلبس الدرع كاملةً، يوقد النار شاملةً، يطلب الثأرَ، يستولد الحقَّ، من أَضْلُع المستحيل لا تصالح ولو قيل إن التصالح حيلة إنه الثأرُ تبهتُ شعلته في الضلوع.. إذا ما توالت عليها الفصول.. ثم تبقى يد العار مرسومة (بأصابعها الخمس) فوق الجباهِ الذليلة!

 (7) لا تصالحْ، ولو حذَّرتْك النجوم ورمى لك كهَّانُها بالنبأ.. كنت أغفر لو أنني متُّ.. ما بين خيط الصواب وخيط الخطأ. لم أكن غازيًا، لم أكن أتسلل قرب مضاربهم أو أحوم وراء التخوم لم أمد يدًا لثمار الكروم أرض بستانِهم لم أطأ لم يصح قاتلي بي: "انتبه"! كان يمشي معي.. ثم صافحني.. ثم سار قليلاً ولكنه في الغصون اختبأ! فجأةً: ثقبتني قشعريرة بين ضعلين.. واهتزَّ قلبي -كفقاعة- وانفثأ! وتحاملتُ، حتى احتملت على ساعديَّ فرأيتُ: ابن عمي الزنيم واقفًا يتشفَّى بوجه لئيم لم يكن في يدي حربةٌ أو سلاح قديم، لم يكن غير غيظي الذي يتشكَّى الظمأ

 (8) لا تصالحُ.. إلى أن يعود الوجود لدورته الدائرة: النجوم.. لميقاتها والطيور.. لأصواتها والرمال.. لذراتها والقتيل لطفلته الناظرة كل شيء تحطم في لحظة عابرة: الصبا - بهجةُ الأهل - صوتُ الحصان - التعرفُ بالضيف - همهمةُ القلب حين يرى برعماً في الحديقة يذوي - الصلاةُ لكي ينزل المطر الموسميُّ - مراوغة القلب حين يرى طائر الموتِ

 وهو يرفرف فوق المبارزة الكاسرة كلُّ شيءٍ تحطَّم في نزوةٍ فاجرة والذي اغتالني: ليس ربًا.. ليقتلني بمشيئته ليس أنبل مني.. ليقتلني بسكينته ليس أمهر مني.. ليقتلني باستدارتِهِ الماكرة لا تصالحْ فما الصلح إلا معاهدةٌ بين ندَّينْ..  (في شرف القلب) لا تُنتقَصْ والذي اغتالني مَحضُ لصْ سرق الأرض من بين عينيَّ والصمت يطلقُ ضحكته الساخرة!

 (9) لا تصالحْ

ولو وقفت ضد سيفك كل الشيوخْ

والرجال التي ملأتها الشروخْ

هؤلاء الذين يحبون طعم الثريدْ

وامتطاء العبيدْ

هؤلاء الذين تدلت عمائمهم فوق أعينهم

وسيوفهم العربية قد نسيت  سنوات الشموخْ

لا تصالحْ

فليس سوى أن تريدْ أنت فارسُ هذا الزمان الوحيدْ وسواك.. المسوخْ!

 (10) لا تصالحْ لا تصالحْ

فلماجاءت الوفود ساعية الى الصلح, قال لهم الامير سالم: أصالح اذا صالحت اليمامة.. فقصدت اليمامة امها الجليلة ومن معها من نساء سادات القبيلة, فدخلن اليها, وسلمن جميعا عليها, وقبلت الجليلة بنتها وقالت: أما كفى؟ فقد هلكت رجالنا وساءت احوالنا, وماتت فرساننا وابطالنا. فأجابتها اليمامة: أنا لا أصالح, ولو لم يبق احد يقدر ان يكافح..

نوفمبر "تشرين الثاني" 1976

 
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2009

So the new year is here and I would have loved to receive it with happiness and optimism but the Gaza events have taken away the joy that comes with new beginnings. Of course this did not stop me from wishing for a year with no wars, injustice, famine, drought or plague for anyone anywhere in the world. It also did not stop me from making new year resolutions one of which is to get back to blogging. I am now blogging from a different city in a different part of the world and with very different daily experiences so I am not sure where my blog is heading... we'll see, I'll just take it one post at a time. Below are pictures I have taken during last Monday's (29Dec) Adalah-NY demonstrations against the genocide being committed by Israelis in Gaza to this very minute. The pictures are slightly out of focus because I took them with my cell phone while walking (still learning to handle cameras) but they should give an idea of what it was like. There were around 300 people in the demo and we marched from Herald square to the Israeli consulate: I have also taken a couple of very short videos here:
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Al Fataah: Feminism and Journalism in the Making

A while back I went into the Diwan bookstore in Zamalek only to find out that a book that I had spent around two weeks proof reading for publication is finally out (though as expected my name is not mentioned in it). This book is a compilation of all the issues of Al Fataah (The Young Woman), the first ever Women’s magazine in Egypt (and most probably in the Arab world) which was published from November 1892 till March 1894 by Hind Nofel.

What is impressive about this magazine is not just that it provides insight into the birth and development of women’s rights movement in the country but it also provides insight into the birth and development of journalism. Also, the hundreds of articles it contains are very representative of the age from the too ornate and flowery language that uses too many synonyms and images to the strong class consciousness that lurks behind many of the op-eds.

The magazine contains everything that is thought to be of benefit to the making of an upright and enlightened new woman. There are autobiographies of important and influential women (most of whom are European royalty or intellectuals and interestingly the very first woman portrayed in the very first issue of the magazine is Queen Victoria!). Many articles are dedicated to the art of home making, etiquette and health and every once in a while you find glossy magazine prototype articles describing the weddings of daughters of Egyptian nobility and the contents of their new houses. There are even articles summarizing some of the wacko 19th century scientific theories on race.

My favorite articles are the op-eds in every issue, reading them you learn a lot about the contradictory conservative and liberal aspects that struggled for control within the minds of these early feminists. Thus, while for instance they strongly defended their belief that gender roles in society are manmade and not natural, you find them criticizing European and American suffragettes for wanting to trespass into the world of politics which is described as solely for men!

The women writing in the magazine show strong awareness of and ties with other contemporary women’s movements not only in Europe as expected but also in the USA. In fact, one of the magazine’s contributors, Estir Azhari, was invited and went to the 1893 Congress of Women that was held during the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

You can find the book, which was compiled and reprinted by the Women and Memory Forum as part of their goal to bring to light the underestimated size of women’s contributions to the Arab social and cultural history, at Diwan Bookstores in Zamalek and Heliopolis or at the headquarters of the WMF itself (83 Shehab St. Mohandesin, third floor). This compiled book also contains an interesting introduction by Professor Hoda Elsadda. However, in it the WMF made a few alterations to how some words are spelt to make them follow today’s modern standardized spelling (eg. In the 19th century many Arabs tended to spell anything with a hamza with a ya’).

If you are in the USA, you can find the original copies of the magazine at the Yale University Library.

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Saudi Blogger Dead

Just found out (through Muslima Media Watch) about the sad sudden death of 25 year old Saudi blogger, Hadeel Alhodaif. (Hadeel in her childhood) Hadeel, owner of the blog, Heaven's Steps, was one of the leading and outspoken Saudi female bloggers.
Leading Saudi Woman Blogger Alhodaif Passes Away at 25 Ebtihal Mubarak, Arab News For 25 days supporters and friends of Saudi blogger Hadeel Alhodaif have waited anxiously, hoping that she would emerge from the coma she fell into unexpectedly. But on Friday these hopes died as the 25-year-old writer and social critic — known for fearlessly using her real name in her criticisms — passed away. ... ... ... When blogger Fouad Al-Farhan was detained late last year for openly defending a group of conservative academics that had been arrested for meeting and discussing the need for political reform, Alhodaif was the only Saudi woman who came out publicly calling for Al-Farhan’s immediate release. She started a “Free Fouad” website and created a forum on the social networking site Facebook to keep interested people up to date on the case. “She was truly courageous speaking to the BBC Arabic eloquently and bravely about Al-Farhan’s detention when most Saudi bloggers wanted only to be quoted anonymously,” said a fellow blogger, who preferred to be quoted anonymously.
To read the full Arab News article click here. If you have a facebook account you can join a group created in her memory here. An Arabic Wikipedia page of her is now also available. Rest in Peace Hadeel
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Dalal Mughrabi, the Freedom Fighter

Last week the name of Dalal Mughrabi was repeatedly mentioned in the news in connection with the Lebanese-Israeli exchange of prisoners (another victory for Hizbullah). 30 years after her death, Dalal’s corpse finally made it back to her family. But who is Dalal Mughrabi?

Dalal was one of the earliest known Palestinian freedom fighters. Born in 1958 in a refugee camp to a family that lived in Jaffa until 1948, when the Israelis won the war, killed and chased out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and established their current state, Dalal was raised in Beirut and secretly joined the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization).

In 1978 just before she turned 20 and having had received proper military training, Dalal was chosen to carry out the Kamal Al ‘Odwan Operation (the Israelis called it the Coastal Road Massacre) in retaliation for the assassination of several PLO leaders one of which was Kamal Odwan.

According to the plan, Dalal and her squad were to land near a coastal road heading towards Tel Aviv, hijack one of the military buses driving in that direction and head for the Knesset and in the process kill as many soldiers and Israeli leaders as possible. The mission was never accomplished. Half way through the process the Israeli military learned of what happened and a chase took place on the coastal road leading to the death of several civilians in the cross fire. After many hours of a vicious street war in which tens of Israeli soldiers were killed the 11 Palestinian fighters ran out of ammunition and finally the Israeli army squad, led by Ehud Barak, shot all of them to death.

When journalists arrived to report on the incident Ehud Barak shot several bullets on the already dead Dalal for the benefit of photographers and then proceeded to disarm her from the empty ammunition belt she had on and pulled her by the hair to allow for a better view of her face!

While Dalal and many other Palestinian martyrs are celebrated in the Arab world for their heroic attempts at liberating Palestine, in mainstream American and right-wing European media, as with anything Palestinian, the Zionist Israeli point of view is the only one heard.

One look at the English results of a Google search on Dalal will show how she is described as a murderer, terrorist and at best an extremist separatist who killed Israelis for no reason at all. She is blamed for the death of several civilians who died in the cross fire, and the Israeli operation that followed hers (which led to the death of hundreds of unarmed Palestinians) is not seen as a brutal act of force but as a natural outcome to her operation. You see, when your country is colonized by people who mass-murder your people and steal their land, you are expected to just watch and do nothing or you are an evil, evil terrorist.

This is the only English post on Dalal that I found that is worth reading, though I have a few reservations to it. If you know of any other non-Zionist English articles on her please send me the link.

One final comment I want to add is that in her will, Dalal Mughrabi, asked that she be buried in her country, Palestine, after her death, why was her body returned in the exchange, I don't understand.

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George Ishaq Arrested

Just got this by email:

جبهة الدفاع عن متظاهرى مصر [1]

البيان الثاني والعشرون

 

 

تفتيش منزل جورج إسحاق وإلقاء القبض عليه

 

ذهب جورج إسحاق عصر اليوم إلى  منزله الكائن بشارع البستان بوسط القاهرة حتى يخلد للراحة قليلا ثم يعود إلى نشاطه في التحضير لمؤتمر كفاية بشأن الرد على مزاعم السلطات المصرية بشأن أحداث المحلة وتظاهرات 7 ابريل ، لم تمر دقائق على دخوله المنزل إلا وكان امن الدولة يتعقبه ودخلوا إلى المنزل ووجدوا جورج وحيدا دون باقي الأسرة ، فانتشروا في كل أرجاء الشقة واخذوا ينقبون ويفتشون كل شبر فيها، وحصلوا على أوراق وكتب من المكتبة واهتموا بالبحث عن كتاب"رفة الفراشة" الذي أعده الناشط السياسي أحمد بهاء شعبان وهو كتاب يشرح فيه كيف نشأت حركة كفاية وماهية أنشطتها وآفاق تطورها حتى حصلوا عليه، كما حصلوا على تليفونه المحمول، ومنعوه من الاتصال بأي شخص أو أي جهة، وبعد حوالي ساعة من التفتيش والتنقيب حضرت زوجته التي كانت خارج المنزل وفوجئت بالمشهد، وظنت للحظات أنها أخطأت ودخلت مكان آخر غير شقتها فأجسام أفراد قوة الضبط الفارهة، ونظراتهم المقززة أصابتها بالضيق فانفعلت عليهم وطالبتهم بالخروج من المنزل ، إلا أنهم لم يستجيبوا لها، وعندما حاولوا الحصول على الكمبيوتر الخاص بشادي جورج رفضت تمكينهم  لان الكمبيوتر يخص شادي، ولا يخص والده ، فطلبوا تليفونها المحمول فذكرت لهم أنها لا تستخدم تليفون محمول، فقاموا بإلقاء القبض على جورج إسحاق واصطحبوه إلى مكان مجهول.

 

http://hmlc.katib.org/news



[1] تتكون الجبهة من المنظمات التالية " مركز هشام مبارك للقانون -   رابطة الهلالي للحريات بنقابة المحامين-  جماعة المحامين الديمقراطيين-  مؤسسة الهلالي للحريات-  مؤسسة حرية الفكر والتعبير-  الجمعية المصرية للنهوض بالمشاركة المجتمعية- دار الخدمات النقابية والعمالية- جمعية حقوق الإنسان لمساعدة السجناء- مجموعة المساعدة القانونية لحقوق الإنسان- المركز العربي لاستقلال القضاء والمحاماة- مؤسسة أولاد الأرض-اللجنة التنسيقية للحقوق والحريات النقابية والعمالية-جمعية أنصار العدالة- لجنة الحريات بحزب التجمع- المنظمة العربية للإصلاح الجنائي- المؤسسة العربية لدعم المجتمع المدني وحقوق الإنسان- لجنة محامين المحلة"

 

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State Security Cracks Down on Activists and University Professors

State security and the Interior Ministry have not only succeeded in aborting today's scheduled demonstrations as Hossam reports but they have been arresting activists all over the country since this morning in addition to some of the professors who led the University Staff Strike. As far as I know 6 activists (Mohammad Al Sharqawi amongst them) and two professors: Salem Sallam (Meniya University) and Magdy Qorqor (Cairo University) have been arrested so far. As for the strike, the Interior Ministry's announcement that was published in yesterday's Al Ahram threatening civil servants who will go on strike of being sentenced to at least 3 months in jail seems to have worked; however, traffic in Cairo streets is unusually good. Any explanations for that? Update: After a quiet morning and noon, violence in Mahallah escalated. Read Arabawy and Tadamon Misr for full coverage of the events. Update: اليوم الاثنين الساعة التاسعة صباحا كان الدكتور سالم محتجز فى قسم أول المنصورة (مع سبعة آخرين الى جانب ستة آخرين محتجزين فى قسم ثانى المنصورة)، وكان التحقيق معهم قد انتهى فى الفجر إلا أن قرار النيابة لم يصدر بعد بالنسبة للدكتور مجدى قرر إلى الآن لا توجد أى معلومات ولا نعرف حتى مكان احتجازه Dr Sallem is being held with 7 others in the Quessm Awal el-Mansoura, 6 others are being held in Quessm tany el-Mansoura, their interrogation by the public prosecutor ended at dawn, and they are being held pending the decision of the attorney general. So far there is no news of Dr Qorqor, we don't even know where he is being detained. Update: الدكتور مجدى قرقر عرض مع مجموعة على نيابة قصر النيل فى ساعة متأخرة وسوف يعاد عرضه مرة أخرى على النيابة اليوم وقد تعرض للضرب وكسرت احدى أسنانه Dr Qorqor appeared late last night with others before the public prosecutor at Qasr el-Nil, and will appear again today. He has been beaten and has lost a tooth. Update: قررت نيابة النصورة الكلية اخلاء سبيل د سالم سلام وباقى الذين عرضوا عليها معه، وهو الآن لايزال فى قسم أول النصورة فى انتظار تنفيذ القرار The attorney general of Mansoura has ordered the release of Dr. Salem and those who were with him, he is now waiting for the decision to be implemented. (Updates on the conditions of the arrested professors were reported by Dr.Laila Soueif) Update: Dr. Salem Sallam has been released, however, Dr. Magdy Qorqor has been detained for 15 more days.
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University Faculty Members on Strike

Yesterday, for the first time ever in Egyptian history, most Egyptian university faculty members went on strike as a first step towards forcing the government to improve their living conditions and the conditions of higher education in the country. The decision to strike came after months of negotiations with the government that led to nothing because the government that gave away millions of pounds in a few minutes to football players (because they have finally learned how to kick a ball) claims it can't afford to increase the salaries of professors, workers and doctors all at once. For many years now Egyptian universities have suffered from strong governmental and state security control that monitors everything from how many students should be accepted by each university to who is allowed to be invited inside campuses for conferences. In addition to that, academic funding and salaries have not increased at a suitable rate to meet the growing inflation rates since the late 1970s! Here are some links to stories about the strike: http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2008/03/23/47332.html http://www.almesryoon.com/ShowDetails.asp?NewID=46377&Page=1 http://www.ikhwanonline.com/Article.asp?ArtID=35715&SecID=304 http://www.elbehira.com/elbehira/nd_shnws.php?shart=2263 And here is the official (Egyptian regime) side of the story. While an estimated 1200 faculty members demonstrated outside his office, the president of Alexandria university claimed that the school day went smoothly and no strike took place! http://www.masrawy.com/News/Egypt/Politics/2008/march/23/univ_stri.aspx [See Arabawy for full length English report and pics]
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Influential Women's Magazine Silenced in Iran

Iran has a feminist movement I truly envy. Hope its current crazy government wont succeed in putting an end to it like ours did fifty years ago! zanan-3489.jpg
By Maura J. Casey WeNews commentator Iran has just closed Zanan, an influential women's magazine that covered international politics, prisons, Islamic law; never chocolate cake. Maura Casey says the closure could be temporary; if not, it's a terrible loss. Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews. (WOMENSENEWS)--Iran's most influential women's magazine, Zanan, has become the latest victim of a government intent on censoring, harassing and imprisoning opponents, journalists in particular. Officials accused the monthly journal of damaging society by being too negative toward Iran and closed the publication Jan. 28. Zanan is hardly alone, of course. Iranian courts have used similar rationale to close many scores of newspapers and magazines in the last 10 years, particularly those that called for free speech and greater civil liberties. But Zanan, which means "women" in Farsi, was one of a kind; it was the only serious women's magazine in Iran and had a wide following, both in Iran and around the world. Zanan's crusading editor, Shahla Sherkat, who lives in Tehran, founded the magazine 16 years ago to explore serious topics that affect women in the Islamic Republic: politics, women in prison, international issues affecting women and the impact Islamic law has on women's lives. Sherkat also ran book reviews, stories about women in sports and health issues, among other topics.
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Palestinian Women Storm Rafah Crossing

Videos from Al Jazeera's coverage of women storming from the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing to the Egyptian side via Hossam. Having shown that to open an iron gate is all that needs to be done to end the misery of the thousands of Palestinians stuck on the Egyptian side for weeks, these brave Palestinian women have exposed the real position of our "Arab" regime.
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Gaza: Stop the Blockade

Just got this by email. Please subscribe. The people of Gaza need your support:
Dear friends, Gaza is the largest prison on earth – call on the international community to end the blockade and broker a ceasefire: The people of Gaza are being squeezed to death. This week's blackouts have finally reached the attention of the world -- and the international community could help end the blockade. Our obligation is clear. This isn't about Israel vs Palestine or Hamas vs Fatah: this is about 1.5 million human beings locked up in the biggest prison on earth. The siege of Gaza is a collective punishment violating international law, and far from ensuring Israel's security, it only stokes the rage and desperation fuelling this conflict. Incredibly, the UN, European Union and Arab League have so far failed to act. We must seize this moment with an emergency campaign: demanding that the international community end this blockade, ensure the free flow of supplies, and help broker the ceasefire which civilians on all sides desperately need. Please click below to sign the emergency petition -- we'll deliver it to the UN, EU and Arab League when we reach 150,000 signatures, so sign and tell everyone you know: http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_end_the_siege/5.php?cl=50574183 The humanitarian crisis is only getting worse. Starved of fuel for the last three months, the power station exhausted its reserves on January 6th. A handful of shipments have been let through today, but hospitals, water pumps and sewage systems are on the verge of shutdown. 91 of the drugs defined by the World Health Organisation have run out, including most children's antibiotics – stopped at the border, along with fuel, pencils, schoolbooks, candles, and many foodstuffs. Over 50 people have died because they cannot get treatment. 80% of the population depend on food aid which the UN says could run out this week; unemployment is spiralling. A rain of missiles is falling in both Israel and Gaza. No genuine negotiations will be possible while the siege continues. Support is gathering for a real alternative. From the Fatah-run West Bank, President Abbas too is calling for the Gaza blockade to be lifted -- a former Clinton official has proposed an internationally-facilitated ceasefire -- and both ideas were endorsed by an overwhelming consensus in our global interactive poll. It's time for the world to go beyond words of condemnation, and pressure Israel and the US to accept practical action to break the deadlock. In the Israel-Lebanon war of 2006, we saw how global pressure and assistance can help stop a crisis and protect civilians from harm. We cannot stay silent today about the crisis in Gaza. Please, sign the emergency petition today at the link below, and forward this message widely: http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_end_the_siege/5.php?cl=50574183
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Bosla Magazine

While reviewing everything I have posted or forgot to post about this year I realized there was one thing I should not have missed and that is this year's issue of Al Bosla, an Egyptian radical democratic annual publication in Arabic. So far Al Bosla has published four issues each of which deal with one topic that has a strong impact on the Egyptian social, political and economic situation. Each of these topics is dealt with from all possible angles through a democratic leftist/secular perspective. One thing I really like about Al Bosla is that, unlike other "know-it-all" local publications that recycle dominant misconceptions and call it "analysis", it is actually written by people who know what they are talking about. This year's issue is about Egyptian women. It tackles issues from the political (the position of women in society in the light of Islamists' struggle with the state) to the personal (the female body) and from the cultural (image of women in the cinema and theatre) to the literary (new feminist writings on the web). In addition to the main topic a few articles tackle issues of foreign policy, religion and leftist movements in Iraq. The second, third and fourth issues are all available online and if you are interested in local Egyptian politics I strongly recommend you read the previous issues as well.
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The Latest Anti-Torture Demonstration

Been super busy lately and though there have been many important things going on in town that I wanted to post about I just didn't have the time to and though I thought I won't be posting until December what happened to Dr. Laila Sweif, Dr. Bouthaina Kamel, blogger Inas Hosni and blogger Ahmed Al Gizawi is just not something to let pass especially that I believe that what happened to them has not received the attention it deserves. On Thursday 5 Nov members of the "Egyptians Against Torture" Committee and Kifaya movement gathered in front of the Omraniya police station to protest the torture and death of two men who had been in the custody of that police office. As usual, the number of state security officials and soldiers way out numbered those of the protestors. The protest was quickly dispersed and each protestor was cordoned separately and beaten up or chased around side streets. Dr. Laila Sweif was "arrested" and kept in one of those green state security trucks for hours and then was finally dropped off on some street. Ahmed Al Gizawy was also arrested and taken to state security head quarters and was released a while later. Here is a report on the issue by Inas herself. What has happened shows that state security tactics haven't changed one bit while on the other hand public and blogosphere enthusiasm seems to have waned. Over a year ago the news that one demonstrator was kidnapped would quickly reverberate through the Egyptian blogosphere and petitions denouncing what had happened would circulate. This time, however, very few blogs commented on the incident (though many local and international news agencies and newspapers reported on the event very briefly) and apart from one petition against what happened to Dr. Laila by the March 9 group I haven't seen any other reaction. The over all reaction, again with the exception of very few, has been very weak and hence truly insulting to those who died due to torture and to those who protested their death. I'm not an activist, never saw myself as one, but I do believe in the power of words. What has kept many bloggers out of jail and and what has made many activists still have faith in their ability to make a difference is that many people reported on what happened, so many, that those in power could not afford to act as if nothing is happening. So, please, do not stop writing when it comes to such matters. How many more deaths and arrests do we need to speak up or write? Or is it that interest in human rights in Egypt is only important when blessed by the US department of state?
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ٌWomen fighters at War

In commemoration of the 6 October 1973 war in which Egypt was able to regain sovereignity over Sinai I would have liked to talk in detail about a woman who has gone into what up till now is a male dominated field, the army. This woman is Rawia Attiyah whom i introduced previously as the first woman to become an MP. Unfortunately what little I found about her as a soldier was not enough to write much more than a couple of sentences though a lot abounds on her life as an MP. Apart from her political career Rawia was one of the very few women who joined the "liberation army" as the Egyptian army was called back in the nationalist movement days and fought against the triple (British- french- Israeli) aggression on Suez. She was a lieutenant and worked as a communications officer and during the time she served in the army she was shot at in the right leg. She also participated in the 1973 war and received honorary recognition for her heroism. Until I came across her name and saw some old worn out pictures of women in the 60s with guns on their shoulders i had thought that women in the Egyptian army never did fight but just held office jobs. Now I'm really intrigued by the idea of women doing actual fighting in the Egyptian army and would like to learn more about her and other women like her. If anyone knows anything about her please let me know. Does anyone know of any books on the issue?
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Fak Al Jadayel

Earlier this September I attended the first year anniversary celebration of the Young Women's Forum which is part of the New Woman Foundation and it was there that i came across the first issue of their magazine Fak Al Jadayel (Undoing the Hair Plaits) with which I am really impressed. Traditionally Arab women used to let their hair grow long and then divide it into two plaits on each side of the head. With time the braids have come to symbolize social constraints and undoing them is thus a symbol of rebellion and hence the name of the magazine. In the first issue of this quarterly magazine the Young Women's Forum members discuss a lot of issues from sick Fatwas to disgusting movies and songs that objectify or subjugate women. The magazine also includes creative writings and reports of activities carried out by the YWF and reading it you become more optimistic about the future of women's movements in the country. The articles are very insightful and provide fresh critical voices. Unfortunately, the Foundation and its forum do not have a website yet so you won't be able to access the magazine online any time soon. However, if you are really interested in reading the magazine (which is in Arabic) let me know and I'll put you in touch with one of the members.
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