A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Wa’el ‘Abbas Detention

One last pre-fourth note. I hadn't said anything yesterday about the much-reported detention at Cairo airport of blogger/dissident Wa’el ‘Abbas; he was returning from a conference in Europe when security took his passport, held him at the airport for several hours, and in the end seized his laptop. Needless to say, he twittered his detention. Background here and here and the actual tweets here. But more importantly, his website now has a huge collection of links on global coverage of his detention. Most of the links are in English and Arabic, and it's another reminder of how computer-savvy, social-networked dissidents can draw attention to government pressures against them. Of course when a regime really wants to crack down, it can do what Iran has done and sit very hard on all communication, but as I said the other day, that also entails a certain amount of negative attention and cuts you off from a global information network, and in this case whoever decided to do this — whether it was actually State Security or whether it was overzealous airport security officials — not only did it receive a lot of bad publicity, but now you can find links to all of it at his blog, which is primarily in Arabic but includes lots of videos, photos and other material and which I've had in my blogroll since its early days. [UPDATED: In one of those snakes-swallowing-its-own-tail things, his collection of links now links back to this blog, which refers you to his collection of links.]

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