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‎3 student journalists are going to Egypt this summer to document the personal stories of Egyptians living in the setting of revolution
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Project Tahrir

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An article by Sarah Grebowski who has joined us in Minya and wrote this article based on some of the interviews we have conducted here so far.  

The smartest way to preserve the revolution

FYI: I'm traveling throughout the Minya governorate in Upper Egypt this week withProject Tahrir people to assist in field interviews.  Fascinating stuff, and I'll blog as much of it as possible.

While conducting field interviews in Egypt's Minya governorate today, I asked a room full of young men if they have come into contact with any political parties since the revolution. Do they support a particular political party? Have political parties come to their village to campaign? They shook their heads unanimously and were silent for a moment. "But the Freedom and Justice party is the only one with a real vision," one man piped in, referring to the Muslim Brotherhood's newly established political party. They are the only organized, professional group, he said. The other men concurred- their vote would go by default to the Brotherhood in September elections.

One of Minya's young community leaders

Two hours later and a few miles away, I asked the same questions to another group of young men. They rattled off at least seven political parties they have seen campaigning in Minya and expressed firm liberal affiliations, with the Masr el Horreya party in particular. Clearly, these two groups of Egyptians relate to politics in remarkably different ways. While the former relates to politics via a conservative Islamist movement that has earned more legitimacy in their community than parties could hope to, the latter is savvy to the fluid world of liberal Egyptian politics where parties die as quickly as they are born. But a powerful unifier was, and is at work: the importance of civic education. All are activists in Egypt's bid to get elections right in the fall. 


Maikel Nabil Sanad.

Yesterday we met Mark Nabil. A couple months ago Mark got a phone call from his brother Maikel telling him he had been detained and that he had a court hearing in 30 minutes. He urged Mark to call local and international media, human rights groups and his family and friends. Mark worked quickly trying to alert anyone he could about Maikel’s detention. The military accused Maikel of publishing false information” and “insulting the military”. The case was postponed upon the family and lawyers request. In the following days the Kafka-esque trial began…Maikel was deprived of medicine he needed for his heart condition, he was administered mysterious drugs on many occasions, the judge changed three times during the hearings and the verdict was postponed even five times in one day. After the fifth postponement (to the next day), Maikel’s family and lawyers travelled home, however, Maikel's car suddenly did a U-turn and he was transported back to court alone where he was sentenced to three years imprisonment. Though this might have been common in the Mubarak days, Maikel was detained AFTER Mubarak had left. If you look at Maikel and Mark…they are two young boys in their early 20s and have never set out to harm anyone. Maikel’s spreading of “false information” is false information itself. After writing this blog post, I will walk away from this laptop, maybe go grab a bite to eat then head to meet someone for an interview in Zamalek. I will not have to show anyone my ID. I will not have to inform anyone of what I am going to do. But that isn’t the case for secular liberals in Egypt who constantly receive death threats from both ordinary people as well as authorities. I could never imagine spending three years in prison for simply stating what I know and expressing my opinion about it. The words human rights and freedom get thrown around all the time in North America. I never knew what they meant. People say they are the most important things. Now I know why.

An Update from Rajiv & Ian (June 18th)

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Two Week Update

The following video is only a small fraction of the people we've been interviewing. We've been on the lookout for a new translator who is willing to go though the 50+ hours of audio and video we've taken during the last couple weeks. Our web designer / visualization maker extraordinaire Daniel McLaren is coming to join us soon which means our official website should be up and running in no time. But until then I've picked a few clips of some of the people that have shared their stories with us so far.

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