Monday, February 09, 2009

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.


Blogger Marcos Diarios said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:55 PM  
Blogger nina said...

It's good to see you back, Laila.

You can find "free philip rizk" group on facebook.

Take care, sist.

12:32 PM  
Blogger dutchmarbel said...

There's a facebook group too, which to me feels as a virtual demonstration to protest his arrest.

7:01 PM  
Blogger MIchael said...

I guess not many will comment on that, since Israel is not involved.

Hope he will be out and released in full health!

2:54 PM  
Blogger kymberlydawn said...

How does one get invited to Philp's blog?

1:37 AM  
Blogger Erica said...

Hello, Laila!
I am a college student in the United States and came across your blog for a project I have in my Gender Studies in the Middle East course.
Your stories of personal triumphs and feats surviving in Gaza during this violent and hectic time are truly inspiring. All of your stories have really shed light upon so many issues affecting all those associated with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and have made this conflict more real for me, since now I have a face and story to associate with the conflict.
Why is it that so many Egyptian activists are currently under arrest and being tortured for what seems like peaceful means of activism? I hope that your friend Phillip remains as safe as possible and unharmed!
I am also wondering if it is rare to be a female journalist in Gaza, and if journalism is a mostly male-dominated field in Gaza. How did you become involved with journalism? Did you go to a university to study journalism? As a current college student, I am curious as to what your academic background consists of, especially in comparison to other women in Gaza.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences so honestly and vividly on this blog, I really enjoyed reading about life from the perspective of someone from Gaza and I hope to be hearing from you soon!

Be Well,

5:13 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hello Laila,

I am an old friend of Philip and the Rizks and I saw your post on Philip, and thought you may be interested in following this link...towards the end of the story is the full transcript of Philip's press conference.

there are also links to nytimes and international herald tribune about his press conference but I want to respect your wishes for including lots of links.

I also wanted to say that I have been following your blog (I can't remember if i heard about it from philip or ran into it independently) and I always enjoy reading it.

Thanks and know that there are people in Chicago working to raise awareness about the situation in Palestine.



11:08 PM  
Blogger Unknown said... are SO RIGHT about Philip being one of the most low-strung, peaceful people ever : )

11:10 PM  
Blogger lill said...

Phil describes his detainment: archives/2009/02/philip_rizk_des.html

6:28 AM  
Blogger Isabela said...

Hello Laila,

Sorry for your friend. It's so sad that Egypt leader works for side by side with Israel/USA way of doing things. Israel is arresting pacifists as well.



6:15 AM  

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