Egypt arrests blogger, Gaza activist, Philip Rizk
Sorry this is a little late in coming...been consumed with my travel to San Juan and preparations for the conference I'm speaking at (and on top of that did not have internet access until today)...I have just learned that my good friend and fellow blogger, journalist, and activist Philip Rizk, has been arrested by Egyptian secret police-thugs.
I cannot even imagine Philip in the hands of these torturers, he is one of the most low-strung, peaceful people I have met (especially given that he lived in Gaza for some time, which can tend to make people a nervous wreck!)
I first met Philip, who is a dual German-Egyptian citizen, in Gaza City's Dira hotel through a mutual friend who told me he had just moved to town working on aid projects with Canon Andrew White, special envoy to the Middle East for the Archbishop of Canterbury. I remember clearly- a then 18 month old Yousuf was wreaking havoc in the restaurant-tugging at the tablecloth when we were unsuccessful in distracting him with the indoor playground.
In any case, Philip began a blog after that titled "Tabula Gaza" to which I have a link below.
He was arrested a few days ago during a rally north of Cairo held as part of a series of rallies organized by the Egyptian Popular Committee in Solidarity with The Palestinian People in commemoration of the breaching of the Rafah border between Gaza and Egypt one year ago on January 23rd, 2008 and in a bid to End the Siege on Gaza.
Here it is worth noting of course that Philip is not alone in his arrest. Every day dozens of Egyptian activists are arrest, taken to undisclosed locations, and tortured by the Egyptian secret police. As recent as last week, more than 50 members of the Muslim Brotherhood organization were also detained after a recent Gaza rally, and more than 500 in the past month.
All hail Mubarak...this is what the United States means when it says it wants to work with "moderate leaders" in the Middle East. Democracy at work people.
For more on Philip's case (and others in Egyptian penitentiary) check Egypt and Beyond blog (notable is the "Mafia with a License" piece by Sarah Carr), Ben White's blog, and for a detailed account of the kidnapping, see Inanities blog.