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Newsletters News & Analysis | April 2011

April 21, 2011

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In This Edition:
Defender of the Dictator, The Daily Beast: David Keyes
Blogger Critical of Egyptian Army Arrested

Student Leader Conference Call with Arab Bloggers
How Liberals Can Stand a Chance in Egypt: Sam Tadros
Where is Reda Hilal? on Bloomberg TV: Syrian Repression

Defender of the Dictator
David Keyes in The Daily Beast
"In addition to being a blogger and amateur art critic, Imad Moustapha happens to be Syria's ambassador in Washington. Representing one of the most brutal dictatorshipsin the Middle East isn't easy t hese days, particularly after hundreds of protesters were killed by Syrian forces. Moustapha dedicated his most recent blog post to the "martyrs of Deraa," the city where most of the killings took place, though curiously he ascribed no blame for their deaths." Instead, he wrote that during times of sadness he seeks comfort in works of great art and literature. Dostoyevsky, Mahler and Shostokovich are among his favorites, but it is the 9th century Muslim philosopher, Al Kindi, that has captured his attention in recent weeks.

Moustapha once said that he is more proud of being called a blogger even than being called an ambassador, which is ironic, given Syria's history of draconian Internet repression. Some months ago, I asked Moustapha if he ever found it hard--as a blogger--to represent a regime which banned Facebook and imprisoned bloggers like Kareem Arabji, Ahed Alhendi and Osama Musa? After a rambling and incoherent response, he came to the heart of the matter. "If you look at the crimes committed by the United States in Iraq, abuses in Syria are nothing in proportion."
For more, click here.

Blogger Critical of Egyptian Army Arrested
Maikel Nabil, an Egyptian blogger who was previously jailed for refusing to partake in the country's compulsory military service, was arrested again on March 28th for a blog post criticizing the role of the military in the "January 25" protests that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak. His trial by military tribunal has been postponedStudent Leader Conference Call with Arab Bloggers
We would like to invite all of our student readers to participate in a conference call with a leading Lebanese blogger on April 21. He will be joined by Ahed Alhendi, our Arabic Programs Coordinator, and they will be discussing and answering questions about the ongoing protests across the Middle East and North Africa region, the role of the internet in modern dissent, and the prospect of democratic change in their countries. As well-respected activists in the region, their perspective will serve as valuable insight for students wishing to get an inside look at the revolts that have spread throughout the Arab world.
To find out more, please click here.

How Liberals Can Stand a Chance in Egypt: Sam Tadros
Sam Tadros, Senior Partner, Egyptian Union for Liberal Youth

"The Crisis of Egyptian Liberalism is a long and sad story. It is the story of intellectuals that emerged not from an independent middle class similar to the European bourgeoisie but from the state bureaucracy. Their dream was of a self-contradictory program of State-sponsored modernization forced on the rest of the population. It is a story of a complex love-hate relationship with the West as a representative of Modernity, never fully embracing it and never rejecting it, but always with a sense of betrayal. It is also a story of a failure to understand modernity, failing to distinguish between it and the Enlightenment, and forever doomed to an inibility to deal with religion. The current crisis in Egyptian Liberalism is not a new one."
For more, click here.

Where is Reda Hilal?
Ahed Alhendi

In 2003, 46-year-old Egyptian journalist Reda Hilal mysteriously disappeared from his Cairo apartment. At the time it was assumed that he was arrested by the state security apparatus. No reliable information regarding Hilal has been made public since his disappearance, and despite the overthrow of the Mubarak regime, no information on Hilal's status has been made available to the public.
For more, click here. on Bloomberg TV: Syrian Repression

"It's horrible. There were scars all over their bodies. And their nails were pulled from their hands."

-- Syrian democracy activist describing the regime's brutal torture of fourth graders

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