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Alaa Has Been Detained 151

ahmed saad writes "Alaa (read the slashdot interview) was detained yesterday for activism while in a protest to support Egyptian judges . He's one of the most well known Egyptian activists in human rights, free software (leading Egypt LUG) and free speech in Egypt and worldwide. The Egyptian regime is currently trying to suffocate any movements that are active against it's highly inhuman and dirty practices to keep holding power in Egypt yet are trying to fool the world about their support for democracy and free speech. Please don't let that happen! Contact to the Egyptian embassy in your country and/or your country's embassy here in egypt, tell your congressmen and thanks in advance for your support!"
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Alaa Has Been Detained

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  • Word Replace (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 08, 2006 @07:47AM (#15284229)
    The Egyptian regime is currently trying to suffocate any movements that are active against it's highly inhuman and dirty practices to keep holding power in Egypt yet are trying to fool the world about their support for democracy and free speech.

    Just replace 'Egyptian' with 'Bush' and 'Egypt' with 'America'.

    Kinda creepy, how well it fits.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Because his most vocal opponents can't do anything besides make pithy comments. s/Egypt/Bush == teh insightful.

      Really, really pathetic.
    • Kinda creepy there are people out there that think like this. What should the world do? Promote regime change in Egypt? Kind of like it was promoted for Iraq. i.e. 14 nations passing 1441. Or what about in North Korea? Or Iran? What about Darfur? Bush's policies have stopped genocide there... for now. But, what if it requires troop intervention in the future? Who sends the troops (UN seems gutless, NATO says no and the African Union is rag tag at best). So who? Those EVIL americans? C'mon, liberals accuse
      • Bush's policies have stopped genocide there... for now.

        Did anyone catch this? It's always BUSH's policies when something marginally good happens anywhere, for any reason. If anything bad happens, it's always because of the UN or the evil media (that should be replaced by government-controlled media to "go over the heads" of the American people, as Bush so frankly put it).

        It's really amazing to see the angry neocons act as though Bush is a god deserving of everyone's endless affection. They even believe tha
        • Did anyone catch this? It's always BUSH's policies when something marginally good happens anywhere, for any reason. If anything bad happens, it's always because of the UN or the evil media (that should be replaced by government-controlled media to "go over the heads" of the American people, as Bush so frankly put it).

          Except on Slashdot, where it's always Bush's fault when something bad happens, and it's always our heroes (EFF, cowboyneal, Dark Helmet, take your pick) who save the day when something good h

    • Re:Word Replace (Score:2, Interesting)

      by slughead ( 592713 )
      The Bush regime is currently trying to suffocate any movements that are active against it's highly inhuman and dirty practices to keep holding power in America yet are trying to fool the world about their support for democracy and free speech.

      Really? An American president is trying to eliminate discourse [wikipedia.org]? That's totally a new concept [crf-usa.org]. Surely the Bush Administration is biggest threat [wikipedia.org] to the constitution [tobyinkster.co.uk] in American [wikipedia.org] history.

      Well at least we can get rid of this problem by voting [zdnet.com] Democrat [reason.com], right? After all, th
      • Re:Word Replace (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Guuge ( 719028 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:44AM (#15285142)
        Anyone who believes that copyright legislation is more serious than the prospect of a police state is living in a fantasy land. Anyone who makes excuses for their 'pet' president on a sketchy historical basis is not only committing a logical fallacy but also playing petty politics. It's hypocritical for people who savagely criticized Clinton to give Bush a free pass for measureably worse behavior.

        So save your invectives. Most of the people you're arguing with didn't like Clinton much either, but can at least recognize the lesser of two evils.
        • How can you pick the lesser of two evils.

          Adolf Hitler and Stalin are on the ballot (cliche, I know).. PICK ONE!!

          I put in a link to lp.org in my post to show my lack of affiliation with either of the big two. So save your "you criticized X so you MUST be Y" rant for someone who believes in that logical fallacy.
          • Well, read it again:

            "The Bush regime is currently trying to suffocate any movements that are active against its highly inhuman and dirty practices to keep holding power in America yet are trying to fool the world about their support for democracy and free speech."

            Nothing you have said actually disputes any part of this statement. Therefore, I accused you of playing "petty politics" by attempting to illogically deflect the criticism. You may not believe that you are biased in this regard, but every "li
    • Look, I can't stand Bush, and I think his policies (particularly on the power of the executive branch) are a danger to the long-term health of democracy in America, but until Democrats are being arrested, beaten, and tortured for speaking out against the President and until the Republicans specifically ban certain parties from holding public office for years, then Bush can't hold a candle to Mubarak.

      Honestly -- degrees, people. It's a matter of degrees.
      • You're only worried about Democrats being hauled away, then? Honestly, the republicrats are just a big blurry blob in my eyes. The illusion of choice, how comforting.
        • You're only worried about Democrats being hauled away, then?

          Straw man argument. I'm comparing apples to apples. The Muslim Brotherhood -- the largest opposition group in Egypt -- is a banned party but is the largest political competitor to the President's Party at 20% of the seats in the last election with all the candiates running as independents.

          Anyway, well fine. Just to be politically correct for you. As long as members of the Democratic / Libertarian / Green / Constitional / Prohibition / Reform /
          • Happy now? Hmm? Hmmmmmmm? Too bad.
            Your attitude only serves to point out the futility of explaining my motives or opinions to you, so I shan't bother.
            • No, try me. I'd love a good justification for your motives or opinions that led to you accusing me of being "only worried about Democrats being hauled away." Since you're accusing me of only caring for what you see as my own instead of having the prinicples to care about anyone being hauled off by a government for expressing their beliefs, I think you have a duty to justify your deliberate reading of that statement into what I actually said or to offer an apology.
              • Okay. The statement "so you're only worried about Democrats" was, in fact, rhetorical, and I thought that was fairly obvious. I apologise for that mistaken assumption. I was pointing out that you were in danger of falling into a trap - or at the very least, carelessly reinforcing the perception that as long as you have two parties, you have a real choice. It seems to me that while you have this lock-out in your political system, with the general assumption that a vote for a non-Republicrat is a wasted vote,
                • My post was actually about Bush not crushing dissent ruthlessly like Mubarak, and I just picked the Democrats because they're really the only organization he might care about and because Mubarak does crush the opposition party.

                  I understand your point about the problem of two dominant parties in America. It's unfortunately mathematically guaranteed by the combination of the electoral college and our first past the post system. Some third party viability would breathe a lot of life into our political system
      • Bush can't hold a candle to Mubarak

        You have to give him credit for trying. Without a real coup, you can't just march into the White House and announce that you're starting a dictatorship. It takes time, extreme nationalism, an "enemy" that we're always at war with, and the gradual erosion of rights in the name of security and patriotism. Bush and Mubarak aren't in the same position, but you might consider them of a common mind.
    • Amazing (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PFI_Optix ( 936301 )
      Someone actually modded this post up?

      Let's do that word replace, shall we?

      The Bush regime is currently trying to suffocate any movements that are active against it's highly inhuman and dirty practices to keep holding power in America yet are trying to fool the world about their support for democracy and free speech.

      1) I see no attempts by the administration to "suffocate" those vocal against it. Seen the approval ratings lately? For that matter...are you being suffocated for this criticism?

      2) I've yet to se
    • Jesus christ. This crap gets modded up? I mean it's kind of funny, but it's not even close to being true. Mod it +1 funny if anything.
  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @07:51AM (#15284243)
    It serves the interests of those in power. It's why Socialism, Communism, Fascism, "state Capitalism" and all other big government ideologies fail spectacularly. Every law that enacts a new police power that isn't objectively strictly needed to do basic law enforcement, every new agency, every new unneeded spending bill and especially fiat currency play into the hands of the tyrants and would-be tyrants. What has happened here should be a lesson to every Democrat or Republican who believes that if only their guy was in office, big government would work. It doesn't, it just goes after those that challenge it because the more that people start to question small excesses, the more they question their very relationship with the state.
    • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:08AM (#15284281) Homepage Journal
      This is not what "big government does". This is what a facist police state does.

      I would bet that the governments of the western, industrialized nations, including most of Europe, The US and Canada, Australia and Japan, are "bigger" than Egypts' in any sense you can think of ( budget, tax revenue, number of employees, number of laws, etc. ). However, because their representatives are elected and the government employees consider themselves servants instead of power brokers, the "big governments" in those countries aren't locking up political prisoners.

      I agree that locking up political prisoners is bad, but you are attacking the wrong philosophy here. Facism and a police state is the problem, not "big government".
      • by Anonymous Coward
        However, because their representatives are elected and the government employees consider themselves servants instead of power brokers, the "big governments" in those countries aren't locking up political prisoners.

        Sounds like someone needs to educate themselves [commondreams.org].

        It's later than you think.
      • While it's the fascist states that wind up committing the atrocities, the power is often laid in place beforehand. I don't believe that the Patriot Act is truly trying to usher in a fascist state, but I can see where a later administration could really abuse it. I don't think Google is being evil but goshdarnit, they have the infrastructure for it and what happens if they get bought out or the board of directors suffer a sudden simultaneous accidental death due to contaminated potato salad at the company pi
      • by Mille Mots ( 865955 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:22AM (#15284363)
        ...The US and Canada, Australia and Japan, are "bigger" than Egypts' in any sense you can think of ( budget, tax revenue, number of employees, number of laws, etc. ). However, because their representatives are elected and the government employees consider themselves servants instead of power brokers, the "big governments" in those countries aren't locking up political prisoners....

        If you look at the history of the US representative government (specifically the Legislative and Administrative branches) since, say, the New Deal era, you will see that those elected representatives most certainly consider themselves anything but servants of the people who elected them and pay their salary. Instead, they peddle influence and contracts to the highest bidder (why do you think Porter Goss really retired? The current defense contract scandal/inquiry touches many of your alleged 'servants,' perhaps it even touches him?).

        Big Government, Western style, is nothing more than legalized racketeering.

        YMMV. HTH. HAND.

        --
        This sig intentionally left blank

        • You forgot to mention that the vast majority of Congressmen face minimal opposition during their election cycles.

          15 seats maximum could switch parties this upcoming election and I imagine the number of intra-party seat shuffling won't add up to any significant fraction of the 450+ Congressmen.
      • But then, you forget that the West has a tradition of liberalism that tempers the excesses of its big government policies. Few countries around the world have that. Egypt has no such tradition and there is no cultural barrier between big government and Fascism in countries without that liberalism.

        And we do have a problem with "power brokers" in the US. The judiciary, the FCC, the FTC and other "high-level bureaucrats" frequently interject themselves into areas where they have no business. They just aren't a
        • >Egypt has no such tradition and there is no cultural barrier between big government and Fascism in countries without that liberalism.

          It's not strong enough to help, but there's a tradition within Islamic practice of disapproving of absolute government. First, the Quran requires things like due process and trials(*). Second, it's considered blasphemous for a mere human to claim absolute power. Coronation rituals used to include a crowd shouting "Sultan, be not proud, for God is greater than you!". (Don't
      • What he means by "big government" is "omnipotent government." A government that people completely depend upon for their day-to-day needs. When government is "big" enough to give you all that you want, it's big enough to take away all that you need. When a sufficient portion of the citizenry is dependent on the government to that extreme, government then has leverage. The people may disagree with the government, but since they must have it just to get through the day, they dare not attack or it speak out
    • Every law that enacts a new police power that isn't objectively strictly needed to do basic law enforcement, every new agency, every new unneeded spending bill and especially fiat currency play into the hands of the tyrants and would-be tyrants

      Your above quote has absolutely nothing to do with Socialism *or* Communism. Neither of these paradigms have anything to do with police powers or tyrants, they are economic paradigms.

      Also, before you start your ranting, China != Communist. USSR != Communist. Nortk K

      • Actually, the end goal is invalid too. Lots of research has been made into the many possible ways a communist state fully implemented would work if/when the dictatorial pre-communist transitional power structure were replaced by a democratic one. They all show that the thing just doesn't work, resulting in a progressive increase in poverty.

        For an earlier but very good example of such studies, which unfortunately are not well known outside of scholarship circles, I suggest Ludwig von Mises book "Socialism: A
      • Also, before you start your ranting, China != Communist. USSR != Communist. Nortk Korea != Communist. A true communist state would have democraticly elected officials.

        China is a communist state.
        The USSR was a communist state.
        N Korea is a communist state.

        This is what happens when communism is applied in the real world. These places are real.

        What you're talking about is how communism works in a book. Not in the real world. In a book.

        These places are not ideal communist states, as happens in your fantasies
        • Obviously, as many others, you have been brainwashed. Being ruled by a communist party does not make a state a "communist state" (just as being ruled by, say, democrats does not automatically make a country "democratic"). In fact, in the Soviet Union the communism was officially declared a goal (as opposed to then current state of affairs, known as "socialism"). Remarkably, the communist party was even planning to dismiss itself upon reaching that goal as having fulfilled its own purpose.
        • China is a capitalist state. N. Korea and USSR was a dictatorship, with tight border and economic controls.
          Fixed that for you.

          Saying that China isn't an ideal communist state is absolutely mind boggling. It's not a communist state at all!
          • China has a communist government and a capitalist economy. "Communist" doesn't mean what you want it to mean in English. Almost every English speaker understands that "communist" means "the kind of government that China and the USSR have" -- a totalitarian dictatorship with pseudo-Marxist rules imposed -- because that's what these countries called themselves.

            China might stop calling themselves communist soon, which should be interesting to watch, but for decades a billion Chinese agreed "this is communism
            • China might stop calling themselves communist soon

              - Because they are so tired of calling themselves "a totalitarian dictatorship with pseudo-Marxist rules imposed".

              • It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. :) China no longer seems concerned with "communism" as they have other effective ways to mantain their totalitarian dictatorship, and they *like* capitalism and the productivity it brings. There's no particular reason to keep the pseudo-Marxism in place.

                Of course, in order to abandon it they'll have some explaining to do, which will be entertaining to watch. Will it be "communism was never the permanent goal of the party" or "no, really, this capitalism is what Mar
      • AFAIK, the problem with Communism is that the official implementation plan encourages violence.

        To me that is a major design flaw. Just that alone makes it more likely that the one capable of the greatest violence would end up in power.

        Basically it makes it easy for any "trips to the Communism Dream" to be hijacked by dictators.

        Be very wary of any belief system that encourages violence.
    • by hyfe ( 641811 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:32AM (#15284406)
      It's why Socialism, Communism, Fascism, "state Capitalism" and all other big government ideologies fail spectacularly.

      I expect by 'all other big government' you meant Market Liberalism / Capitalism? Because the government sector in the US can compete with pretty much anything when it comes to size. How's your military? NSA/CIA/FBI etc? NASA? Research programs at universities? Medicare? Public Infrastructure... etc

      Where do you think the US would be today without its socialist(ie government-funded) support of research through the universities? Or the space-program? Small-state advocates never give the government credit for what it does, and have done. I mean, seriously, barring Bell Labs (which basically was goverment anyways) have the all-glory no-guts private industry ever made any usefull discoveries in any way whatsover without goverment involvment? No?

      So, my point is, how(who) you elect/choose your government (or not) is important when it comes to personal freedom. How you run your economy is not. All hyper-capatilistic projects so far have failed (see the world-bank, South America, Africa) (but still Americans advocate that other countries should use systems themselves refuse to adapt).

    • State and local government are collectively far larger than the federal government, but when people talk about "big government" all they think about is what comes out of Washington, DC. This is really quite sad because almost all of the federal influence on your life necessarily must be filtered through state and local government--Washington just sends the checks. But, it hurts more to admit that you're too lazy to walk down to City Hall and throw a fit than it does to throw your hands into the air and comp
  • by James_Duncan8181 ( 588316 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @07:56AM (#15284252) Homepage
    Hadn't heard of Alaa, asked the press office for comment. They say they will get back to me later today.
  • Echoing an earlier thread [slashdot.org]....how dare we judge Egypt by our arrogant, self-centered western views on human rights and justice. I'm sick of phrases like "highly inhuman and dirty practices." That's nothing more than name calling.

    We need to respect Egypt's right to its culture. And these "protestors" need to get on with their lives and let Egypt rule itself. How dare they appeal to the outside world for "assistance."

    Contact Egyptian embassies indeed. It is the height of arrogance to think that a bunch of

    • how dare we judge Egypt by our arrogant, self-centered western views on human rights and justice. I'm sick of phrases like "highly inhuman and dirty practices."...We need to respect Egypt's right to its culture.

      Interesting. Would you have applied that to the Holocaust as well, respecting Germany's "right to its culture"? (Yeah, yeah, Godwin's Law; it's still a legitimate question.)

      Should northern states have applied that to the Jim Crow South, respecting its "right" to a culture of rascism and segrega

      • Egypt is a sovereign nation, and that sets a legal limit on how much other nations can interfere; just as the Constitution sets limits on the ability of states to mess with each other, and laws set limits on my actions against a neighbor I think is engaging in crimes. But the idea that we can't talk to and negotiate with other nations, states, communities, and individual people to attempt to persuade them to change behavior we don't like is silly.

        I agree that it's silly to suggest nobody be allowed to talk

      • Look! Up in the sky!
        It's a bird!
        It's a plane!
        No, it's Irony!

        *cue the music*
    • And these "protestors" need to get on with their lives and let Egypt rule itself oh yeah detaining protesters (female protestor sexually harrased IN THE SREET), beating a "judge" in the street just because he want to save a protester (supporting judges case against forging elections in egypt where 30 has been killed) from beaten by an officer , "clear" economic corruption, torturing political (and non-political) prisoners,.. that's how you want "to let egypt rule itself"? Check the time line at http://www [norayounis.com]
    • Re:Western Arrogance (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sabre86 ( 730704 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:17AM (#15284954)
      Quoting BlackRookSix's post: "I'd like to say that you may not completely understand the Chinese context. Not all of us have the same concept of "personal freedoms" that you do. We understand that we must sacrifice some of our personal freedoms for the greater good of the society as a whole. I can only speak for my friends, family and myself, but we give these freedoms happily and in the knowledge that we know that the government that we elected works for the benefit of all in China. Not all of us agree, we all know there are plenty of dissidents who openly voice their opinions, but you must recognise that these can be dangerous people."

      You and your Chinese friend may make all of the sacrifices you want, but don't make them for me. Only through your own arrogance can you force others to make the same sacrifices when they do not wish to. What makes a practice "inhuman and dirty" is the assumption that some elses viewpoint is not valid -- notice that in this forum, you're allowed to espouse your view without censorship, whereas, in BlackRookSix's homeland, you can't.

      States and societies don't have rights, individuals do. Each Egyption has a right to his or her culture, and respecting that right is the foundation for classical liberal "Western" views. Ignoring or suppressing dissent because "its not our culture" is making the stupid mistake that "our culture is fundamentally right" -- human beings are imperfect and so is anything, including the state, composed of them. American's also make this mistake, but the ability of the government to force it upon anyone is limited by the Constitution (when it is obeyed). Whether or not classical liberal views should be spread by force, thats debatable -- were we to successfully invade Egypt or China or many other nations, there are definitely some people -- specifically their large numbers of political prisonsers -- that should be freed. Of course, for the US government to take such a stance given policies like the Gitmo Concentration Camp* and extraordinary rendition would be quite hypocritical.

      Legitimate government exists to allow each individual to act as morally as possible while minimizing the limitation on any else's ability to make moral choices. No government succeeds at this (they're imperfect) and governments like China and Egypt do not even make the attempt. Egyptian and Chinese cultures could thrive just as well in a ideal, western style democracy because the people would be allowed to adopt whatever culture they choose, just not force it on their neighbor.

      "Dangerous people." *Shudder* I don't know that, you don't know that and BlackRookSix doesn't know that, either. The only way to know someone is dangerous is if they attempt to materially harm someone. Voicing your dissent is the exact opposite, its an attempt to change people's minds without harming them.

      --sabre86

      *Yes, it is a concentration camp.
      • American's also make this mistake, but the ability of the government to force it upon anyone is limited by the Constitution (when it is obeyed).

        Great post.

        The powers of the American government are limited not by the Constitution, but by the willingness of the people of the US to defend the Constitution. Unfortunately, there aren't many people who seem to be willing to defend the Constitution, and so the US government seems to have almost limitless power, especially the executive branch.

        Oh, well. So it goes.
      • Great argument (Score:3, Interesting)

        Man, a great post lingering at 1, and me with no mod points.

        Since I agree on all your points, I'll just reiterate my support for your main one: "States and societies don't have rights, individuals do". A state without people does not exist. A society without people does not exist. As a result, it is ludicrous to argue that actions designed to save the state while sacrificing individuals is anything but tyranny designed to satisfy a small subgroup of people.

        I've had a number of discussion with various chines
  • The Muslim fundamentalists are going to be pissed about this!
  • by simon_hibbs2 ( 792812 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:59AM (#15284858)
    The idea that each country can just gaze at it's own navel and ignore what happens in other countries is a persistent one, but there are so many historical examples of why it's a very bad idea that it's hard to know where to begin.

    I'll skip the obvious one by just saying "Godwin's Law", you know what I mean. In the case of Iraq, for the first war when one country invades another and threatent others you can nolonger say it's an internal matter. As for the second Iraq war, you know the first war never realy ended. We were still sending planes over Iraq, still occasionaly attacking their SAM batteries and enforcing UN sanctions. People were still dying, and that situation couldn't go on forever. Again, it wasn't an internal issue regardless of what you might think about how things turned out doing nothing wasn't an option and don't believe those who say otherwise. At least if you disagree with what was done (it was completely screwed up after all), say what you think should have been done instead and don't dodge the issue.

    Opression within a country inevitably has knock-on effects beyond the borders of that country. How to treat refugees? Do you extradite people who are criminals in their own country even though their 'crimes' aren't punishable in your own? What about your own companies doing business over there? What about the freedoms of your own reporters in that country? Toes are going to be stepped on, whatever you do and if the situation does spill over into violence who do you side with? Perhaps the 'terrorists' in that country have at least some legitimate complaints.

    Saying "It's just their culture" also doesn't wash, the Egyptian government is highly un-islamic. They aren't even operating uder their own normal 'laws of the land'. The government has been operating using emergency laws for decades. What emergency? It's one of the government's own making!

    It is our business. That doesn't mean we should invade now, or any such rubbish. It means we (I'm British) do have freedoms and rights. We can make our views known to the Egyptian Embassy. We can write letters to our democratic representatives. We can even write to the newspapers in our country, or just blog about our opinions and write about them here. Expressing our opinions can and does make a difference. Egypt in particular is highly dependent on wester tourism (I've been there for buisness and on holiday myself), and can't afford too much negative press especialy in the wake of the bombings. We can make a difference.

    Simon Hibbs
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Alaa Abd El-Fatah, one of the Egyptian political activists, and one of the first bloggers in Egypt was arrested today together with around ten more activists during a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with sixty activists who were arrested over the past two weeks in a non-violent sit in, as well who were held in custody for two weeks under investigation for "crimes" that if anything would raise only mockery including, humiliating the president, possession of "publishing equipment"(graffiti spray) and blo
  • some koreans protested to support an egyptian movement calling for democracy named kifaya .. pics at http://misrdigital.blogspirit.com/files/kifaya_sko rea.htm [blogspirit.com]

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