The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Adhaf Soueif campaigns for Alaa

And not just because he's her nephew. From the New York Review of Books:

To the Editors:

During the last month Egyptian state security forces have arrested close to eight hundred citizens for (peacefully) demonstrating solidarity with Egyptian judges demanding the independence of the judiciary (see www Since then, thirteen have been released. Among the young activists still in custody in Tora jail is my nephew, Alaa Abd El-Fatah. Because he is a prominent computer man and blogger he has become the centerpiece of the campaign to free all the detainees. The following is a letter of support for him. I hope New York Review readers will consider signing and circulating it.

Ahdaf Soueif
London, England
Soueif is said to have used elements of the story of how Alaa's parent met each other in her novel In the Eye Of The Sun. Alaa's father, Ahmed Seif Al Islam, was a communist activist in the 1960s and a frequent guest of Nasser's jails. As a political prisoner, he got occasional visits home on the understanding that he would come back. He decided to run away with his young wife, Alaa's mother (activist and professor Leila Soueif, Adhaf's sister **updated from comments**), and apparently fathered his first-born. When he voluntarily returned to the prison weeks later, the story goes, the prison guards congratulated him on being a future father.

Thanks to Moorishgirl for the link.