Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Blogging Human Rights in Egypt

I've just finished reading our February book selection, The Yacoubian Building. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times about Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas addressed many of the human rights issues that this novel deals with.
DISPATCH FROM CAIRO
In Egypt, high-risk blogging
By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 8, 2008
CAIRO -- It was not the most comforting of e-mails: "May God honor my sword by slaying Wael Abbas." Cyberspace can be a messy, dangerous place, especially if you're Abbas, who with keyboard, digital camera and a bit of cunning has become one of Egypt's most popular bloggers. His posts, often with scratchy video, catalog police torture, political oppression, labor strikes, sexual harassment and radical Islam. He's been vilified and threatened, but has managed to stay out of jail, operating in an uncensored realm beyond the independent and state-controlled media. ... Abbas' most dramatic blog posts are videos, some shot with cellphone cameras, depicting police brutality, which has long been a concern in this country of 80 million people. In 2007, Abbas gained international attention when he posted images of police officers sodomizing a bus driver with a stick. The driver had committed no crime, and the courts, forced to react to irrefutable evidence and public anger, sentenced two police officers each to three years in prison.
You can read the entire LA Times article here. Here is a YouTube video of Wael Abbas accepting an award from the International Center For Journalists. Once you're at YouTube, you can search for and view other Wael Abbas videos.
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