#FreeMona Now!

UPDATE: Mona has been released. She’s in good health and says she was beaten and sexually harassed by Egyptian police.

Egyptian-American writer and activist Mona El Tahawy was arrested in Cairo last night.

Her last tweet reads:

“RT @monaeltahawy: Beaten arrested in interior ministry.”

Mona is contagiously passionate about the revolution in Egypt and democracy in the Arab world and she’s been doing a great job explaining the Arab awakening on major western media outlets.

Mona has of course her supporters and detractors. Her opinions do not always obtain unanimity. Mona leaves no one indifferent. One thing is for sure though: her passion for freedom and democracy in the Arab world are undeniable.

Therefore we should call for the immediate release of Mona El Tahawy. Use the hashtag #FreeMona on Twitter. Spread the picture above in your social networks.

Let us not forget also to actively call for the release of all political prisoners in Egypt, notably my friend and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah and many others who are behind bars, for nothing else but their opinions.

A Must Watch: Absolute Power

This is a fascinating, at times chilling documentary from Aljazeera by one of its senior journalists, at least one of my favorite, since his days in the BBC, Rageh Omar, revealing “the tricks of the trade” of Arab dictatorship.

Egypt: Mubarak Set to Complete His “Ben Ali Cycle”?

Protests continue for the second day in a row in Egypt, despite a ban issued earlier today by the Ministry of Interior. The popular movement seems to have reached a new level today as reports coming out of the seaport town of Suez, speak of the use by the police of live ammunition. A witness called Aljazeera tonight from the city describing “very violent clashes and unprecedented use of force by anti riot police.” He also spoke of “total chaos and dozens killed”. This account has not been independently verified but the picture is pretty reminiscent of the situation in the Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid where, in the wake of the death of Mohamed Bouazizi, an unemployed man who desperately set himself on fire to protest for his dignity, an uprising started 4 weeks ago and swept across the country leading to the toppling of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. If reports of killings of civilians are confirmed, Suez can well become Egypt’s Sidi Bouzid. The city has a particular place in the country’s popular imagination: it has always been the outpost; the city that has paid the heavy price during the campaigns that Israel waged against Egypt.

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Twitter: A Weapon of Mass Dissemination

The Tunisian Revolution wouldn’t have succeeded without Tunisian people’s courage and sacrifices during their four weeks of relentless, now historical, uprising. Social media has played an undeniable role in coordinating protesters’ efforts in what Sami Ben Gharbia, co-editor of Nawaat.org and director of Global Voices Advocacy, calls a cascade of information, which eventually convinced more people –the middle class in particular– to join the movement.

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