Wednesday, June 22, 2005

This is what democracy looks like

22 June, 2005: Mahmoud Allam, a 75-year-old Shoubra resident, marched with his two grandchildren. “I’m training them to learn about freedom and democracy, to know their rights and never give them up,” he said.

22 June 2005: families of 75 detainees in Wadi al-Natroun prison will start a hunger strike tomorrow in protest against the government's repeated refusal to implement court rulings ordering the detainees' release.

22 June 2005: “We’ll never find anyone better than Hosni Mubarak,” said a middle-aged man who declined to give his name. “Those opposition people are just thieves who have been hired.”

22 June 2005: “Change must come through democratic means,” said Gamal Mohamed, an education ministry employee.

21 June 2005: “We are known in this society. We are active in the villages, in the universities, in the parliament, in the mosques...We're organising, building strength.”

20 June 2005: "Give Mubarak a visa, and take him with you Condoleezza!"

20 June 2005: The Prosecutor-General has ordered the immediate release of all four detainees, and in a phone conversation with the Mansoura Prosecution, emphasised that displaying Kifaya stickers is not a crime punishable by law.

16-22 June 2005: Addressing 200 workers and veteran trade unionists at a Press Syndicate meeting sponsored by CTUWS on Monday, Abbas called for “the fundamental right to establish free and independent trade unions.”

19 June 2005: "They ask what's the alternative to president Mubarak, but they don't think to ask the more logical question given what's happening in Egypt these days: where is president Mubarak?"

19 June 2005: "We've said before and we repeat: this constitution cannot guarantee the development of the country on democratic lines, it cannot accommodate the long delayed hopes of the Egyptian people."

16 June 2005: “In my programme, I will request a list of names of those who have more than one million dollars in bank accounts in Switzerland and the United States,” he said. “Sadat did not leave Egypt in such a state.”

14 June 2005: "We do not want to infect our political process, to have it determined by religious slogans."

8 June 2005: "The aim is to assert the right to demonstrate and to defy the big dose of violence, especially the sexual harassment of women."

9-15 June 2005: "We need to understand that democratic development in any society involves a major process of reeducation."

6 June 2005: “We want independence of the press and freedom of publication for newspapers, and the election of heads of public newspapers by their general assemblies.”

6 June 2005: “We are preparing a workers' conference to put in place alternative trades unions parallel to those which currently exist and which are part of the General Union of Egyptian Workers, dominated by the state and which do not look after our interests,” said one of the founders, Kamal Abu Eita.

26 May-1 June: “Better [Mubarak] than anyone else…I don't trust the opposition parties because all they want is 'the chair', and not the public's interest.”

26 May-1 June: “We are not spinners…We simply have a good story to tell. Sometimes we might not have a good storyteller, but it is to the party's credit that a vibrant debate is taking place in the country right now, and that this is only the beginning.”

31 May 2005: "I just mirrored the sentiment of thousands of people...It's not a movement, not a party, it's just citizens fiercely defending what is left of their public space."