Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What Al Masry Al Youm Censored from Robert Springborg’s Article

On 1 December 2011, Egypt Independent, a printed paper produced by Al Masry Al Youm’s English section was censored. Over 20,000 copies were pulled from the market upon the request of Magdy El Gallad, the editor of the Arabic version of Al Masry Al Youm. El Gallad asked that an article by Robert Springborg be revised. The article was entitled, ‘Is Tantawi reading the public’s pulse correctly?’.

Magdy El Gallad
The Egypt Independent crew opposed this censorship. Alistair Beach wrote an article in the Independent criticizing this form of censorship entitled ‘Censorship row fuels public's fears over Egyptian election'. Magdy El Gallad accused Beach of having a foreign agenda. Robert Springborg exposed El Gallad in Foreign Policy with his article entitled, ‘What Egypt’s Military Doesn’t Want Its Citizens to Know’.

In response, Magdy El Gallad wrote a piece defending himself. This is word for word translation, and this is a more accurate translation that captures the true spirit of the piece.

The revised article was published in Al Masry Al Youm’s English edition but the uncensored version never made it officially. Through a bootlegged copy, for your reading pleasure, find below in quotes the part that was censored internally by Al Masry Al Youm’s Magdy El Gallad.

Is Tantawi reading the public’s pulse correctly?

In his speech to the nation on 22 November, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, almost as an aside, announced that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) was prepared to hold a referendum on the issue of the military turning power over to civilians. This was intended as a threat to his civilian challengers. Reported to be a keen follower of public opinion polls, the Field Marshal and his advisers no doubt calculated that in any such referendum, the majority of voters would support military over civilian rule.

“The second problem is more profound and threatening to the SCAF, namely that many in the military resent the reputation of their institution being abused by the Field Marshal and his 19 colleagues on the SCAF. This resentment would be greatly heightened by a referendum, especially one in which the wording of the proposition purposely ignores the differentiation between the SCAF and the military, thereby tarring the latter with the brush of the former. The present rumblings of discontent among junior officers, Chief of Staff General Sami Anan’s greater popularity than the Field Marshal in the military and among Egyptians as a whole, and intensified pressure from the US could all result in the Field Marshal sharing President Mubarak’s fate. The military institution could remove him to save itself. If matters became truly desperate, discontented officers not in SCAF might decide that a coup within the coup would be the best way to save the honor of the country and their institution.”

By seeking to retain power and control over the transition process, the Field Marshal is playing a very dangerous game that threatens both the military’s and the nation’s well-being. He should have another look at that polling data.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Open Letter to My Oppressors


To my oppressors,

I am the oppressed. I am one you’ve trampled upon and think you own, but I am not one that will stay silent. I am the voice you want to suppress, kill, torture and imprison. I am the voice calling for liberty against your desire to keep enslaved. I am the voice you loathe that dares ask to be treated as an equal, the voice you despise for rising up because you think yourself the master. I am a voice part of a repressed generation whose lives you stole, whose wealth you hijacked whose freedom you took and whose eyes you’ve blinded. I am the voice that screams your ugly deeds to be muted to whispers amidst your rowdy lies. I am the voice that speaks a truth merely stumbled upon in books, streets and dominions beyond your control. I know this voice is one you want to silence forever.

I write to you forgetting your ugly horrible deeds of torture, murder, treason and manipulation. I write to you forgetting that you do not listen and cannot listen. I write to you forgetting your hatred of my very existence and your thirst to destroy me. To you, I am an expendable waste of space but a nuisance nonetheless. I write to you forgetting that such words will never reach you whether you read them or not.

My message to you is this. Stop what you are doing. These are real lives you are destroying, these are real people whose lives you are taking. These are real people you’ve imprisoned, these are real people you’ve hurt. I know that they seem remote to you, like enemies or lesser beings, but think upon them with the love you may have for your children or your families. Have you not that much love in you to see how they too can be loved? Do you not see the extent of the damage you have done and are doing to other human beings? Have you become too selfish and too self-involved to have any kind of sympathy?

I do not ask you to consider your acts before God. Men like you are beyond any to moral derivation of any sort. I ask of you to think of the little love you have left inside you in order to relate to humanity. You are beyond redemption perhaps, but even men who are beyond redemption have some sort of humanity inside to battle this hatred you have for others.

Look beyond your selfish love for your own and understand it could be your children in those jails or your friends run over by armored carriers. Understand that it could have been your daughters stripped and humiliated by soldiers. We are bound to one another as human beings and there is no room today for the illusion that you own another human being.

You old men, what will you reap but your deeds? Your grave is near and your days are numbered. No one knows if the next world brings nothing or retribution. But even if there is nothing beyond this life, you will only leave behind an evil legacy.

My oppressors, my killers, my wardens, I forgot your titles and addressed you as human beings. I send those words out to the human inside you that ceased to exist. I send them out with love, a concept you’ve long dismissed. I dropped my resentment for this brief instant. Why have you built a wall of hatred between us? I would tear that wall down instantly if it were up to me. This wall of your making and the choice has always been yours. The hatred you sow, you’ll reap.

Never yours,

The Oppressed

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Egypt's Proportional List Seat Calculator

This is a proportional list seat calculation using the largest remainder method. This calculates how list seats are allocated in Egypt's 2011 elections.

Enter the number of seats in contention in the desired district, enter the number of votes for each list and then press calculate to see the number of seats won.


Seats in Contention: Calculate

List Name

Votes

Seats Won

Freedom and Justice
Nour
Egyptian Bloc
Wasat
Wafd
Revolution Continues
El-Adl
Egypt National
Democratic Peace
Reform and Development
Egypt The Revolution
Egyptian Citizen
Freedom
Modern Egypt
Ghad (Tomorrow)
Awareness
Arab Democratic Nasserist
Egyptian Revolution
The New Independents
Conservatives
Constitutional Social Free

Calculate


Limitations This does not implement the nationwide constraint of 0.5%. Results may not be accurate when the exact same number of votes are entered.


Disclaimer: This is an unofficial list seat calculator. The official results should be the same however this software has not been fully tested and there may be some discrepancy with the final results due to the aforementioned limitations.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Are Elections Free and Fair?

I mentioned earlier that these parliamentary elections were illegitimate. All that led us to these elections has been illegitimate and in any case, the upcoming parliament will be crippled. The parliament has no constitutional powers and will end up either being impotent or an arm of the SCAF.

(Photo: Mohamed Abd El-Ghany / Reuters)

The true catastrophe isn’t that they’re not legitimate but that even if they were, they would not be free and fair. There are many reasons why the current elections violate the criteria for ‘free and fair’. I will try pointing out a few.

Media Bias
No fair elections can take place with a corrupt media that solely serves regime interests. This means that the regime will always interfere in what is available to the public and the media will be mobilized by the regime’s covert deals. This means elections are not free since some parties are targeted and not fair since some are ignored.

Instability
When the police force is at the full force of its brutality just before elections, it creates an atmosphere that is not conducive to elections. Yet at the same time, this brutal police force kept the peace just for elections to take place.

Election Laws
Egyptians were never consulted as to how elections should be carried out. The decisions were always dictated by the SCAF. It is ironic that the laws that should bring about respect for the people disregarded and in some cases disrespected people’s will.
The laws themselves have been disrespected. A party like El Nour should not have been allowed to form because no parties based on religion should have been formed. That one party should be exempted is not fair.

Distribution of Districts
On what basis was the distribution of districts? Analyst have attributed this to the SCAF’s bias that some parties win. Even state owned Akhbar Al Youm’s Mohamed Omar pointed out that these districts were to appease the Islamists.

Foreign Funding
There is a limit to how much should be spent on a campaign that clearly has not been observed. There is a lot of funding from Saudi Arabia and from Qatar to fund the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis. When hundreds of millions of dollars are poured into campaigns the chances of fair elections are not that high. Such funding is not looked into at all while all funding to NGOs for example is strictly monitored. Such double standards tear down the concept of fairness completely.

Lack of Information + Campaigning Outside Poll Stations
Each of these alone is enough to cast doubt on fairness. The lack of information means that the elections mean nothing. How can one choose a representative when they don’t know their choices? The lack of information combined with campaigning outside the poll stations is probably the most monumental problem with these elections, particularly with the 500 LE fine.

Fraud and Violations
Although it looks like a landslide victory that doesn’t change the result, the truth is far from it. Contrary to some opinions a few thousand votes could change the results in the list system.  The violations are an indication to the kind of elections Egypt is undertaking. The results are secondary.

Military Trials
This may seem inconsequential, but when 12,000 people are tried by military courts mostly protesters, and when activists are targeted by the regime, the elections become neither free nor fair. It’s not only that the votes of those in prison have been detracted, but to insist that activists are harassed means chopping off an arm to alternate media and movements that could have been working on campaigning for elections. While we fight for those imprisoned, tortured and killed, other parties campaign for a place in an illegitimate parliament.
***
There is a rebuttal for every one of these reasons. They are things like, this happens everywhere, this will not affect the final result, this is an exaggeration, etc… They can all be valid, but they’re very weak because they will be in denial of the true environment in which these elections are being held. We are being ruled by an illegitimate body that has disrespected our votes in a referendum earlier. No fairness exists in this body; no freedom is possible under this body.

A junta that does not respect a human’s life will not respect his vote.

Friday, December 02, 2011

How are seat winners determined in the Egyptian Elections?

A guide to the rules of Egypt’s 2011 elections and how the seats are allocated to individuals and lists. 
Source: Ahram Online

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Vote counting in Egypt's 2011 elections (Photo:Reuters)

The new system in Egypt’s 2011 elections may seem overwhelming to those trying to figure out how the winners will be calculated. The introduction of the list system and calculations using the ‘largest remainder’ method has been a cause for confusion. Also, in the individual system, voters can now vote for any two candidates as opposed to one professional and one worker/farmer. Ahram Online examines the various rules involved in determining the winners of the elections.

How individual winners are determined per district
Each district will have two seats to be awarded to two candidates. At least one of them must be a worker/farmer.

Winners
In the first round a candidate may win a seat by getting a number of votes greater than 50% of the total number of ballots (50% +1 vote).  Meaning if a total of 10,000 voters cast their ballots correctly, a candidate would have to get 5001 votes to win a seat.

Since every voter must choose two candidates, each ballot contains two votes. This means the total number of votes made available by 10,000 voters will be 20,000 votes. It is then possible for two candidates to each win 5001 votes in the first round. Two candidates winning 5001 votes or more can secure seats in parliament without a runoff, provided one of them is a worker/farmer.

Candidates unable to secure a seat by garnering the necessary votes go to the second round or runoffs.

Runoffs and the 50% worker/farmers rule
The following are the different cases for which there is a runoff, either no candidates won or one of them did.
  • If no candidate managed to secure the total number of votes, then the runoffs will include the top two professionals and the top two workers.
  • If the winner in the first round was a professional, the top two worker/farmer candidates compete in a second round.
  • If the first winner was a worker/farmer, the next two candidates with the highest votes compete in a second round irrespective of their category
  • If two candidates were elected in the first round and were both professional then only the one with the highest number of votes will be chosen and the top two   worker/farmer candidates will compete in a second round.


How list winners are determined per district 
Each district will have several seats to be distributed to the lists participating in the district. A single district may have four, six, eight, ten or 12 seats.

How are lists ordered?
Lists are ordered so that no two consecutive professionals appear on the list. Any candidate can be placed on the top of the list.

Seat Cost
In each district there are a number of seats assigned to it for lists. Each seat has a cost in the number of votes. This cost is determined as the total number of votes divided by the number of seats. For example if there are 100,000 votes for 4 seats, the cost of 1 seat would be 25,000 votes. If there are 8 seats, the cost of one seat would be12,500 votes.

Let’s take the example of one seat costing 25,000 votes. If one list receives over 25,000 votes it will be granted one seat. If a list receives over 50,000 votes, it receives 2 seats.

What about fractions of a seat?
Fractions of the full cost of a seat follow certain rules determined by a system called the largest remainder. In its simplest form, after all the whole seat quotas (e.g. 25,000) has been deducted from the total number of votes for each party,  the largest number of votes remaining for any of the lists receives a seat.

Example:
Total number of valid votes: 100,000
Number of seats in district: 4
Cost of one seat = Total Number of Valid Votes / Number of seats = 25,000

6 lists, 4 seats in contention
List Name
Votes
Seats Won
Remainder
The Revolution Continues
40,000
1
15,000
Freedom and Justice
23,000
0
23,000
The Egyptian Bloc
12,000
0
12,000
Al-Wasat
17,000
0
17,000
Al-Wafd
5,000
0
5,000
Al-Nour
3,000
0
3,000

Because the revolution continues got more than the quota or cost for one seat, it is awarded a seat. The rest of the parties did not get enough votes to secure one seat. So where do the remaining three seats go? They go to the largest remainders after the full votes for a complete seat are subtracted.

The three largest remainders are: Freedom and Justice Party (23k), Al-Wasat (17k) and Revolution Continues (15k).

The three seats go to the three largest remainders.

Nationwide Constraints
In order for a list to be eligible to win any of the seats, a list must have won at least 0.5% of the nationwide valid votes.

How are seats allocated within the list?
The general rule is that each list has an ordered list of candidates. The candidates chosen on the list are by order. The candidates on the list win the seat according to their order within a list. If for example a list wins three seats, then the first three on the list have seats in parliament.

50% worker/farmer rule
The exception to this rule is when the professionals that will be in parliament are more than 50%. In this case, one of the lists will have to skip the professional and give the seat to the next worker/farmer on the list. The list that will have to suffer this is the one with the least ‘coefficient’.

A ‘coefficient’ is calculated as = total number of valid ballots / number of seats won by list.

Workers/Farmers
Who is a worker?
A worker is a person who depends mainly on his income from his manual or mental work. He shall be a member of a trade union and holds a high academic qualification.

Who is a farmer?
A farmer is an individual whose sole profession and main income is through farming, lives in the countryside and does not own more than 10 feddans of land.

Nationwide Numbers for Peoples’ Assembly
Seats
  • Number of elected individual seats: 166 (1/3 of total seats)
  • Number of elected list seats: 332 (2/3 of total seats)
  • Total Number of elected seats: 498
  • Percentage of seats that must be allocated to farmers/workers: At least 50 %
Electoral Districts/Constituencies
  • Total number of electoral districts / constituencies for lists: 46
  • Total number of electoral districts / constituencies for individuals: 83
Seats per district/constituency for lists
  • 15 districts have four seats
  • One district has six seats
  • 19 districts have eight seats
  • Nine districts have 10 seats
  • Two districts have 12 seats

Monday, November 28, 2011

Al Hurra Interview - On Elections

To Vote or Not to Vote: That's Not the Question

Boycotting or voting doesn't change the fact that these elections are illegitimate. Egypt's 2011 elections are a complete joke and it's not even funny.



The ruling military junta is illegitimate. The current rulers have no constitutional standing and were handed power illegitimately by Mubarak. They have killed and tortured our youth, betrayed our trust, degraded our women and subjected them to humiliating virginity tests, disrespected our votes and brought no justice or peace.

Setting aside the illegitimacy of the SCAF, there are numerous other reasons. Even if our rulers were legitimate, they have an obligation to respect human rights, democracy and the Egyptian vote. The military have disrespected the referendum and provide no reason for us to believe they will respect our votes in the election. The SCAF seemed to have killed their own people in order to force 'democracy' down their throat. If the will of the people had any weight, elections wouldn't have taken place after the police murdered numerous unarmed protesters.

Even if we set aside attitude, for elections to be legitimate they must be agreed on by the Egyptian people. The people were never asked, and when they voiced out their demands, they were never heard, and even when they were heard, they were never listened to and never was any action taken. So what we have here are elections put forth by a dictatorship that does not respect the various opinions of its citizens; could such a dictatorship ever respect their votes? Furtheremore, it is difficult to convince yourself or anyone that these elections have any legitimacy when half the people are afraid to go out and vote due to justified security reasons.

How can those brave voters be accountable for their vote? Where, when and how has information regarding the elections, the rules and the candidates been made available? Most voters are placing their votes as they do with bets on a roulette table. It is a complete gamble due to the murkiness of the electoral process and the availability of information.

Setting aside all the above, even if parliament were formed without rigging, it would be impotent. They have no power to fulfill their promises and they would be used as a front for SCAF. People are to direct all their anger towards the powerless parliament. This makes the future parliament illegitimate because it will fail to represent the people.

Voting or boycotting will not change the illegitimacy of these elections. It is enough that a great number of people feel that the laws are not fair and that the time isn't right and that the rulers are biased towards their self-interest. You may vote to lessen the blow and you may boycott to prove a point, but that isn't the real crux of the matter. So if to vote or not to vote is not the question, what is?

The real question is whether you're selling out. Neither action determines that. People have died for democracy, and democracy isn't unfair elections. Democracy means justice, respecting minority rights, respecting human rights and allowing others to take part in the decision making process. We haven't had democracy yet, and so the votes won't matter. We can't have elections and democracy as the junta and police kill protesters and disrespects citizens. How will a vote be respected by these people if a human life is not respected?

These elections are not what people died for. There is no honor in accrediting something as farcical as these elections to their death. The important thing is to remember what they died for. They died for bread, freedom, social justice and dignity. There is no dignity in running rapidly like a rat through a fore drawn maze. You don't sell out by voting or boycotting, you sell out when you settle for less than what thousands have died for.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

No Turning Back

Protesters flock to Tahrir square in search of what’s left of a revolution hijacked by the military council. The attitude is comparable to that in the January revolution. It an attitude of determination to choose some sort of freedom called for since Januray.

Photo by Sarah Carr


For months protests have been tip toeing around the main issue which is the SCAF, but it seems that this time there is a direct resolve for the military to hand over power with a sense of immediacy. The military has squandered trust very efficiently over the past nine months and the extreme violence with which the protests have been handled have done little to restore it. People are now speaking against the military, but it's been a long time coming with a very strong build up ever since the military assumed power. The 18 November protest was advertised for some time, and that gave people a chance to accept it. When the security forces clamped down on it, it was unacceptable.


It seems that the security response is comparable to January and February but it's a lot more brutal. They have been targeting media personnel not just with arrests but with ammunition. A few activists and media personnel lost the use of at least one of their eyes and many have been injured. This time they were aiming for the eyes and the chest directly using rubber bullets, shotguns and birdshot. As usual, the government is commending the ministry of interior despite tens dead and thousands injured. So we have pretty much the same government response as in January.

The Muslim Brotherhood are not part of the protests this time, many of their members have gone to the square in defiance of the orders given in order to stand with the protesters under brutal attack. Will elections move forward? That's a difficult question to answer. The SCAF is in a precarious position. The new election law will not give any one power complete dominance over the parliament. They cannot take sides against the remnants of the old regime because they themselves are implicated and will be exposed if they do.

I don't see how nationwide protests can end without the military stepping down. The numbers are growing and so is the resolve. The government hasn't learned anything at all, they've been using the same techniques throughout their reign. It is unlikely that reforms will solve this situation, they need to trick people again, but honestly i don't think they have anything left up their sleeve.

They could have pretended to play nice till elections, after which all negative sentiments could have been directed to the parliament. Also they've made parliament a three step long winding process, so the results will show in January at the earliest. I don't think they'll survive that long. I'm sure as we speak, their Israeli allies are thinking up some clever scheme to resolve this volatile situation.

We’re at a stand off now. The SCAF squandered almost all of its chances of safe exit committing atrocious crimes added to those committed during Mubarak’s reign. They fear arrest if they step down and so will cling to power with all their might. They would have ordered the whole square bombed  had they not feared retaliation within the army if such a command is executed.  Their cards have been burnt. Sharaf, the media, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafis and many other political parties have been exposed as loyal to power rather than the people.

The SCAF placed their bets on everything but the people. The Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafis and all the political parties have placed theirs on the SCAF. The result is that of two delinquents masquerading as artists praising one another’s disdainful works.

People also have no choice but to remove the SCAF from power. If people return home all that’s left of the revolution will be violently targeted. Fear will drive SCAF to lunacy and they will not try to crack down even more violently and blatantly on anyone propagating ideas of dissent.

That’s why there is no turning back. There will be a long battle for survival; it’s either the regime or the people’s will to break free of their bonds.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

SCAF: A Brief History of Injustice

Source: Ahram Online
The military assumed power in Egypt nine months ago, after which time numerous crimes against human rights have been reported. Ahram Online outlines some cases where investigations have yielded no results




The head of the military judiciary announced Thursday, 13 October, that the armed forces alone would investigate what is known as the Maspero Massacre — the clashes that took place 9 October, leaving 28 people dead and at least 325 injured, when Coptic Christians marched from Shubra to Maspero to protest the burning of a church in Aswan.

The announcement came despite warnings by human rights groups that the killing by the military of Coptic protesters should not be covered up. To date, investigations have not produced results on responsibility for the events, and nor is there any reason to expect otherwise; the military has not conducted any investigations adequately since it assumed power on 11 February 2011. Most of its claims contradict video evidence and eyewitness testimonies. According to rights lawyer Gamal Eid, director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), “Military investigations are unacceptable. They are not independent and it is very clear they are biased.”

There are over a dozen major incidents that should have been properly investigated and have not been since the military took power. Many other charges of misconduct and abuses filed before and after military rule have also been largely ignored.

Essam Atta
On 27 October 2011, 24-year-old Essam Atta was allegedly tortured to death by prison guards. Despite Atta’s family alleging that a prison officer called Nour was involved in Atta’s torture, the police have not investigated these allegations and concluded that Atta died as a result of ingesting drugs. The Ministry of Interior statement and the forensic report are reminiscent of the official story onKhaled Said, who was murdered in plain view and whose autopsy report had been falsified. The case is currently being examined by the general prosecutor.

The Maspero Massacre
The Maspero Massacre took place on 9 October 2011 when Coptic Christians took to the streets joined by Egyptian Muslims to protest the destruction and burning of a church in Aswan. Tracing the march provides a body of evidence in terms of videos and eyewitness testimonies  that implicate the military in the killings of protestors.

investigations alone and ended exonerating the army. Instead of a full-fledged investigation, revolutionary activists have been summoned to appear before the military prosecution. Activist Alaa Abdel Fattah was detained by military prosecution on serious charges yet no evidence has been presented to the public. General Mohamed El-Assar claimed that army personnel were unarmed and yet one of the charges against Abdel Fattah is theft of a weapon belonging to military forces. In addition, according to Bahaa Saber, another activist who was summoned but released after questioning, the army has Mina Daniel’s name on the list of those accused. Mina Daniel was one of the activists killed on 9 October. His autopsy reports the cause of death as: “projectile entered into the upper chest, exiting the lower back”.

So far there has been no announcement of the names of officers or soldiers investigated or reprimanded, despite clear video evidence and autopsy reports indicating that 12 protesters were run over by Armoured Personnel Carriers. The incitement of violence by the media has not been investigated and no investigation of Minister of Information Osama Heikal has been announced despite charges being filed against him.

The church in El-Marinab, Aswan
The destruction and burning of Mar Girgis Church in the village of El-Marinab, Edfu, in Aswan on 30 September triggered a wave of angry protests. Despite recommendations to remove the governor of Aswan and take corrective action, nothing was done. This deliberate inaction led to the protests that ended in the Maspero Massacre.

Torture of two men by army and police
In the latter half of September 2011, a video of policemen and army personnel torturing two detainees was circulated over the Internet. The military promised a swift investigation, and swift it was. The findings were that the video was fake, and the army officers were released.

The battle of Abbasiya
On 23 July, thousands of protesters tried to march from Tahrir Square to the Ministry of Defense to decry the unmet demands of the 8 July sit-in. Attacks on the protesters resulted in the death of activist Mohamed Mohsen.

On 30 July, state owned Akhbar Al-Yom published the findings of the National Council for Human Rights’ investigation into the incident, according to which the battle of Abbasiya was planned thuggery while video evidence has been presented to the prosecutor general documenting the attacks.
General Hassan El-Reweiny was accused of incitement when he went on air with Dina Abdel Rahman on the Dream TV satellite channel before the march and claimed that protesters would be armed with Molotov cocktails. Charges have been filed against him with the general prosecutor. The case was transferred to the military prosecution office and no action taken.

Assault on martyrs’ families
On 28 June 2011, clashes broke out between protesters and the police after families of martyrs killed in the January 25 Revolution were attacked near the Balloon Theatre in Agouza. The fact finding committee suggested that the clashes were premeditated, yet no action was taken to bring about justice.

Mohamed Gad, known as “Sambo”, was sentenced to five years imprisonment despite activists insisting he did not intend to take possession of a firearm he was photographed holding and actually returned it to the Omar Makram Mosque in Tahrir Square on 29 June. Despite the use of excessive force by the police, officers have not been investigated.

Nakba Day protests
Nakba Day on 15 May witnessed protests outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo in solidarity with Palestinians. Demonstrators were dispersed using live ammunition, tear gas and rubber bulletsleaving 350 people injured. Over 150 arrests were made. It is unclear until today why the army used excessive force.

Ramy Fakhry
Despite promises to investigate the death of Ramy Fakhry, we have yet to hear the results of the investigation. Ramy Fakhry was a 27-year-old electrical engineer who was allegedly killed by the army on his way to work on 13 May 2011. “An investigation could reveal who was present at the time of the shooting,” Eid told Ahram Online, but so far no results have been announced.

The Imbaba church attacks
7 May 2011 marked another case of sectarian violence when a church in Imbaba was attacked and set ablaze. Twelve people died in the ensuing clashes and 186 were injured.
Despite the arrest of over 190 people, results of the investigation have not been announced to the public. A large number of those arrested were released and the investigation did not include charges of hate speech. The incompetence of the military prosecution in bringing to light any investigation results casts doubt on the validity of charges against those in custody.

8 April officers
On 8 April a group of army officers joined Tahrir square protesters in solidarity with the revolution’s goals. In the early hours of 9 April the military dispersed the protesters violently. Witnesses say live ammunition was used, in addition to tasers, batons and teargas. Egyptian human rights organisations called for an immediate investigation into the excessive violence and shootings. According to Gamal Eid, an investigation was promised but no results have been announced, nor is there reason to believe an investigation did take place.

Zamalek vs Africain match
On 2 April 2011 thousands of angry Zamalek fans stormed the pitch in a match between Egypt’s Zamalek club and Tunisia’s Africain club. The military council vowed to investigate the events of the match. We have yet to hear the results of these investigations.

Torture and virginity tests
On 9 March, the sit-in at Tahrir Square was dispersed violently with reports of mass arrests and torture in the vicinity of the Egyptian Museum. Virginity tests were also carried out on female detainees as reported and documented by the El-Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence and Torture, Amnesty International, The Washington Post and CNN. The army initially denied that the tests had been carried out, and then promised to launch an investigation. Numerouscalls to bring those responsible to justice have been ignored despite numerous eyewitness accounts and evidence.

The church of Atfeeh
In early March, the church in Sol, Atfeeh, in the governorate of Helwan was set ablaze and demolished as a result of sectarian tensions. There have been calls for an investigation into the events so that the perpetrators are held accountable. However, in an interview with Amr Adeeb, SCAF General Hassan El-Reweiny alluded to how preposterous it was to ask for the investigation results after the church has been rebuilt.  No one has been held to account for the attack to date.

Corruption, abuses and miscellaneous others
No justice has been realised in cases like the killing of protesters, the Battle of the Camel, the bombing of the church in Alexandria and many others. Numerous incidents and cases remain mysterious as SCAF chooses to either neglect or ignore claims.

Civilians caught in the military trials system are tried and convicted in days and sometimes hours with little to guarantee a fair trial while perpetrators of the crimes listed here have yet to be brought to justice. Many charges remain uninvestigated even after being submitted to the prosecutor general.
“Military prosecution only targets activists and the poor, as if it is a trap for revolutionaries and activists,” Eid told Ahram Online. “All investigations and trials under the army serve political ends.”

Summary
Case
Date
Essam Atta27 October 2011
Maspero Massacre9 October 2011
The church in El-Marinab30 September 2011
Torture video of two men by army and police28 September 2011
The battle of Abbasiya23 July 2011
Assault on martyrs' families28 June 2011
Nakba Day protests15 May 2011
Ramy Fakhry13 May 2011
Imbaba church attacks7 May 2011
8 April officers8/9 April 2011
Zamalek vs Africain match2 April 2011
Torture and virginity tests9 March 2011
The church in Atfeeh4 March 2011
Corruption, abuses and miscellaneous othersFebruary 2011 –  to date.

Monday, October 31, 2011

@alaa

Alaa AbdelFattah (@alaa) was detained by military prosecution for 15 days pending further military investigations. The news is all too reminiscent of 2006 when Alaa was arrested for partaking in demonstrations supporting the independence of judiciary in Egypt.

@alaa

Alaa was summoned on bogus charges of inciting violence during the Maspero massacre. He was detained after refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the military trials for civilians as well as for objecting that the real culprits of the Maspero massacre are performing the investigations. 

There is no evidence at all to support these charges. To get a clearer picture of how absurd the charges are, Mina Danial, who was killed by the army, possibly by snipers, was among those accused of the same charges.

The reason for targeting Alaa is perhaps due to his involvement in the revolution. We are witnessing the vendetta of a regime we failed to bring down. Alaa's last article in El Shorouk may have had something to do with it, where he explained how the autopsies of the martyrs helped implicate the army in their murder.

What we are witnessing here is not the utter incompetence of an investigative body but the reaction of a criminal asked to investigate his own crime. The criminal does everything possible to steer clear of any real evidence, and when the body of evidence is so overwhelming as it is against the military in the Maspero massacre, the result is as ridiculous as accusing a victim of their own murder.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Essam Atta

Links related to the case of Essam Ali Atta, victim of police brutality in Tora prison. Much like Khaled Said, police claims he has killed himself by swallowing drugs and there is cause to believe that the forensic report has been forged.

Essam Atta



Articles, Links and Testimonies 
Ahram Online Articles
http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/25315.aspx
http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/25318.aspx

Jack Shenker for the Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/28/egypt-anger-grows-death-torture

Report from Tahrir Doctors
http://tahrirdoctors.com/midandoctors/2011/10/29/بيان-عاجل-بخصوص-تشريح-جثمان-المواطن-عص/

Aida Seif El Dawla Testimony
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150432395249365

Malek X testimony
http://malek-x.net/node/711

Ahmad Seyam, one of the attending doctors 
http://ahmadsyiam.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-post_29.html?m=1

Al Masry Al Yom
http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/509636

Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/egyptian-prisoner-tortured-to-death-activists-say/2011/10/28/gIQABPlRQM_story.html

Al Jazeera 
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/10/2011102911326932794.html

MOI Statement (Arabic)
http://www.egypolice.com/?p=8629

Essam's alleged torture method
http://democrati.net/2011/10/30/essam-atta-alleged-torture-method-known-as-water-cure/


Videos

Gameela Ismail with Mona Seif and Malek Adly 

Gameela Ismail talks to General Mohamed Naguib and accuses him of the same old attitude



Mohamed Atta, Essam Atta's brother speaks on camera



Aida Seif El Dawla and her testimony on Al Jazeera 



Graphic video showing Essam Atta's body and his mother's reaction



The story of Essam Atta as told by his brother by No to Military Trials of Civilians


Facebook Groups

We are all Essam Atta Victim of Prison Torture


We are all Essam Ali (Arabic)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I’m Still Afraid

The simple fact of the matter is that we have an army that kills its own people. They used live rounds in previous incidents and in recent times added an Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) running over unarmed protesters to their magnificent resume. The 'Maspero Massacre' is no isolated incident; it’s what soldiers have practiced for some time now.

"I used to be afraid, now I'm Egyptian"

It may be unimaginable to a westerner what it’s like in a country ruled by a mafia, a group of sinister men who care nothing for human related values and will stop at nothing to attain personal gains. This state of affairs may be difficult to fathom for anyone from a somewhat civilized society or someone never exposed to the brutality of a third world country.

Let me explain what it’s like. It’s not an absolute nightmare; it’s closer to a jungle with skewed rules. The one thing you can do to survive is forfeit your freedom along with any rights you may think you have. You are not to have an opinion, because having an opinion may lead to voicing it and voicing it may lead to some action or may just offend the masters. These sinister men will shut you up, kidnap you, torture you and even kill you if you criticize them or threaten their lawlessness. So in a way you may yet survive this tyranny by keeping your mouth shut, but if you get in their way, they will literally crush you.

The real problem in dealing with these mobsters is when you oppose them and try and take what’s yours. They do not believe your money, property or rights are yours anymore. They believe that they are invaders who have the right to control everything about you. They are like an occupying foreign force. Calling for what’s right becomes very dangerous.

I am sure of the army’s treachery, I am sure of the threat to my life and my safety when I protest. That’s why it’s not easy for me to go out and protest despite my certainty of their evil nature. I must first consider the specific cause for which I’m marching for, and after that I have to consider whether I’m willing to get hurt for it, go to jail or risk dying for it. There are times like the Abbaseya march when I went out knowing full well we were walking into a trap. There are other times when I was sure that at midnight, the attacks would commence, like the day the Israeli embassy was rumored to have been stormed. There are so many elements that go into making this decision, and the freedom of assembly or any other human right is not something one can take for granted.

I must confess I’m not one of those Egyptians who have rid themselves of fear. I have the same fear of being hurt or killed while marching or going to a protest. I don’t fit the stereotype of a valiant Egyptian revolutionary who has overcome his fears and marches bravely ready to die for his cause. I care for my life and I would rather live a good life than die at a protest. Not having the courage to face death, I still go out trying to avoid it but prepared for the possibility of a chance encounter.

So why go out with all these fears and calculations? Why even risk it? Perhaps I choose to march out of fear itself, for fear that the future will hold more dangers for me and for generations to come. Perhaps out of hope and perhaps the promise of a better life. But maybe the main reason I march is because of another force stronger than fear, a force of dignity.

I was raised to reject slavery in all forms and so, despite everything, I decided not to be a servant of evil beings. I come from a world of freedom that exists in some way around me and has been transferred inside me. If movies, books and literature have poisoned my brain then they have done the finest job deluding me into thinking I deserve freedom and that human life and dignity are worth something. The sinister men have tried to instill a sense of low self-worth and indignity within us. But somewhere along the line, the idea that humans are born free and are worthy of a decent life has seeped through the cracks. Their plan to keep us all in check has failed somewhere along the line. I have been damaged beyond repair and now I cannot rid myself of the idea that I deserve to be free.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Utopia




"If you suffer your people to be ill-educated and their manners corrupted from infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded, sire, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?"


~Thomas More

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Maspero Aftermath

My words don’t mean much because no words can truly describe Egypt at the present moment. Cairo is now very morose and everyone with a conscience is filled with sadness. It’s a different kind of sadness, not the sadness over martyrs who have helped liberate the country, a sadness closer to defeat.


One must come to terms that the events of Maspero have been a great defeat to Egyptians. The greatest defeat was not that the military fired on its people, nor is it that the state media propagated lies inciting Egyptians, or that Egyptians took to the streets to kill each other with knives and swords. The greatest defeat was the reaction of Egyptian citizens to these events. The saddest part is that Egyptians believed the lies circulated by state TV that Copts started firing at the army but even those who did not believe didn’t really care.

They’re getting away with it like they have with many incidents in the past. They’re getting away with it because it happened to the Coptic Christians of Egypt. One might be tempted to say this isn’t accurate; the army attacked both Copts and Muslims and didn’t discriminate between either. I agree completely but the attacks and deaths have been associated to Copts, even if some Muslims partook and shared the same fate. Who will stand up for the Copts? Muslim extremists don’t mind that Copts were murdered and moderate Muslims are divided; some don’t mind what happened and others are incensed but the greater majority doesn’t really care. The fact remains that the military is reaping the benefits of the sectarian strife that the regime has sown for 60 years. The true tragedy is the indifference of the moderates; that is the true defeat.

The army got away with convincing the world that protesters stormed the Israeli embassy, and perhaps they would be surprised not to get away with the events of Maspero. But why should anything happen to them? Killers are still at large and continue to kill; those inciting hate, violence and murder are still broadcasting their lies; demonstrations and demonstrators are being crushed; why should anything change?

Those who support revolutionary change are disappointed and enraged. It is indeed disappointing to have an army that has betrayed its people, and state media that betrayed the truth but the most disappointing is to have Egyptians insisting on seeing lies as truth. Even the most optimistic of us have been worn down by the events of maspero.

The irony is that the brave resilient youth who stood up to one of the most brutal police regimes will not be defeated by the bullets and weapons of the regime, but by the soft whispers of their countrymen betraying their cause.

Egyptians have defeated themselves.  The pain of losing vibrant passionate people is exacerbated by the apathy of Egyptians who are charged with protecting them. As people were being buried after being run over by the army and killed using live ammo, apathetic Egyptians were discussing whether the Copts had a right to protest, and whether or not the church was burnt and perhaps even condemning the attacks of protesters on the APCs than ran over a third of the protesters that were killed. It seems that in Egypt APCs are more valuable than humans beings.