Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I will still stand up for him
I read with frustration and astonishment Sandmonkey’s post on his blog entitled: “Sandmonkey tales: Abdel Monem and Me.” The post is full of stories and accusations for my close friend Monem and I; stories and accusations that lack any sort of evidence or proof. I do not have the capacity to speak on Monem’s behalf, so I will not. I will limit this response to Sandmonkey’s stories about me, which were full of factual mistakes and proofless accusations. He starts by getting some facts wrong, claiming I was a student government president. That wasn’t even close. I never was, and never even ran for any election, be it in the Brotherhood, the student union, or any other election. I don’t think I will ever do; I love working on developing ideas, and would not put myself in a position where I would calculate what to say and what not to say based on votes. He also claims that when translating for Akef (who is the MB chief, or general guide if you’re looking for a literal translation, but not a supreme guide or leader by any means), what he says in Arabic and what I say in English are two different things. That is a very harsh accusation that requires proof, and I asked him for proof twice, but he never provided any, and will never do. The reason is rather straightforward: his claim is untrue. Sandmonkey is also questioning the reasons for me expressing solidarity with him when he said he’ll stop blogging a few months back. He says I only did so to harness media attention to Brotherhood causes. I don’t think this is a polite way of saying thank you, but I was not expecting a thank you letter in the first place. When I expressed solidarity with Sandmonkey, and Kareem Amer a few months before, I was very clear: I disagree with what they have to say, yet I don’t think attempting to silence them (by security threats or imprisonment) is a proper way of handling disagreements. As I put it in a comment I posted on his blog: I disagree with Sandmonkey, but don’t want to silence him. To be clear, if Sandmonkey faces any other harassment, I will still support him. Whether the harassment is because of blogging, or because of his political activity, this won’t matter to me. Unlike his claims, he was harassed last time because of political activity and not blogging; security forces only started following him upon his participation in a demonstration, so I don’t think it was his blogging that mattered either, his case is very similar to that of my friend Monem. On the day Monem was released, my friend Alexandra Sandles who works for Daily Star Egypt called to ask for reaction. She asked me what I thought were the reasons for his unexpected release. I responded telling her that the question should not be why was he released, but rather why was he imprisoned. I added that Monem’s release is not the end of the story, and that we still have a long way to go; there are thousands of political prisoners in Egyptian prisons. I would defend all these prisoners regardless of their political orientation and regardless of their attitude towards my imprisonment. So if Sandmonkey ever faced security threats because of his blog or activity, I will still stand up for him.