Sunday, May 18, 2008

Egypt cracks down on Facebook protest over food prices

I recall, in the early days of my explorations of activism, sometime in 1972, hearing about silly demonstrations such as a “lettuce boycott.” That was when I was socializing “on my own time” with elements of the Peoples Party of New Jersey, not accepting how radical Dr. Spock’s party really was.

So goes grass roots activism today in Egypt, against high food prices, which are caused by global demand pressures, not specifically by anything Egypt’s government has done. Ellen Knickmeyer (foreign service writer) on the front page of the Sunday May 18 Washington Post gives the story of a Facebook group, partly organized by Ahmed Maher, that tried to organize a Sunday strike. At one point Facebook would shut his account down on suspicion of spam because high email volume. Eventually he would be arrested and tortured by Egyptian authorities. The story title is “Fighting rebellion on Facebook is struck down by force in Egypt,” link here. The story offers two slides, one showing the results of the “rendition.” The Post online carries a supplementary article “Going underground in Cairo” in which Maher told reporters they would have to be able to help push-start his failing stickshift car. (Search for the writer’s name; there are multiple links.)

The story shows the determination in many Muslim countries to squash Internet dissent. It recalls the mood of the recent Egyptian film “The Yacoubian Building” now available from Strand.

Picture: (Mine) from a personal Sierra Club hike in Big Bend, 1979 (printed then in analog and reproduced now).

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