Arabisc: Arrested Blogger Released and the Civilisation of Terrorism

Egyptian blogger Ramy Siyam – aka Ayoub – is out of jail, after spending an eventful 108 hours being moved from one detention centre to the other.

According to fellow blogger Alaa Abdelfattah: “He was arrested in a sweep in downtown while securing the area for the President's visit to Parliament. He was arrested with four friends (all bloggers), three of whom were released immediately after performing a routine check. Ramy it turned out had an old law case that was settled outside court but not properly registered so from the prespective of the police he had a pending case that required his transfer to the local prosecutor.”

His recollection of the few days he spent behind bars come with a warning:

يحذر صاحب المدونة مرضى القلب ، والسكر ، والضغط ، والأعصاب ، ومن هم
دون سن 18 عاماً من قراءة هذه التدوينة
“This blogger warns those with heart diseases, diabetes, hyper tension and those under the age of 18 years from reading this entry,” he wrote.

Rami's experience wasn't a pleasant one to say the least. I will leave him to describe some of the horrors he had experienced while in detention.

Let's start with the ground rules in an Egyptian detention centre:

المال هو قانون محبس القسم المعروف بالتخشيبة، اكثر المجرمين هيمنةًَ بالداخل هو غالباً اعتاهم اجراماً ويطلق عليه اصطلاحاً “نوبطشى السجن” … فراشه وثير مميز … اكثر من هاتف محمول بجانبه …
تشكيلة من جميع انواع المخدرات … وعدد من المسجونين يخدمونه … وعدد آخر شكل عصابة صغيرة ، يبطشون بكل من يخالف قانونه الخاص، وهو فى النهاية المسؤل امام ادارة السجن – بشكل غير رسمى – عن احوال السجن و المسجونين
– دقيقة فى المحمول 20 جنية
– فرشة للنوم 10 جنية
– غطاء للنوم 10 جنية
– الأكل والسجايراللى ييجوا من برا يجولى هنا الأول
– اللى ممعوش مايلزموش
– اللى مش عاجبه ينام فى الحمام
“Money is the law in a detention centre. The most controlling criminal inside is usually the one most expert in this field and is called the Prison Watchman. He has a special bed, more than one cell phone at his disposal, a collection of different types of drugs, a team of inmates serving him as well as a small gang, which ensures that all those who break his laws are punished. At the end of the day, he is responsible in the eyes of the prison authorities – albeit not officially – for anything that happens to the prison or the prisoners. The fees for the different services are as follows:
– One minute on the cell phone 20 pounds
– A bed to sleep on 10 pounds
– A sheet to cover yourself 10 pounds
– All the food and cigarettes than come from outside goes to him first.
– All those who have nothing, need nothing.
– Those who don't like these rules can sleep in the toilet,” explained Rami.

If this is terrible wait and see what awaited Rami the next morning, when he was transfered from one detention centre to the next.

عربة الترحيلات القذرة اكتظت بخمسين متهماً من الجنسين وقوفاً على اكوام من القمامة و زجاجات امتلأت بالبول و روائح كريهة تزكم انوفنا، العربة سيئة التهوية ، ثلاث شبابيك فقط للتهوية مقاس 20 سم * 15 سم تغطيها جميعاً اسلاك غليظة على جانبى جدار العربة و تقلص مساحة الشباك الى النصف تقريباً ، فى منتصف ارض العربة توجد فتحة صنعها الصدىء تبعث الينا بجزء غير يسير من عادم السيارة ليزيدنا اختناقاً ويرفع حرارة الجو الى درجة غير محتملة
كنا قد سلسلنا فى قيود لامعة – كالابشات – استهوتنى دراسة الية عملها حتى اوقفتنى تلك العبارة المحفورة على القيد
Made in Taiwan
“The dirty transfer carriage had 50 suspects of both sexes, standing on top of rubbish and bottles full of urine. The stench was unbearable and the carriage had bad ventilation. There were only three windows for ventilation measuring 20 by 15cm. They were covered with thick wires on either side, making the size of the hole where air could come in to about half the window's size. There was also a hole towards the middle of the carriage's bottom as a result of rust, which sucked in the exhaust fumes of cars inside, adding to our suffocation and increasing the heat to unbearable levels. We were all chained to each other in sparkling handcuffs, which I studied carefully until I was stopped by the phrase etched on its side and which said: Made in Taiwan,” he explained.

Rami's turmoil and agony was interrupted by some shreds of light in the form of the support he got from fellow bloggers, who camped outside the detention centres he was transfered between until his release.

They included Sharqawi, who was also held in Egypt's prisons for political activism and who tells us how Rami's release was celebrated by a group of bloggers with cold beer.

لأنك شخص مميز جداً وقريب إلى كذلك ، فتنتظرك زجاجات بيرة مثلجة ..
فهل ستأتى ، على العموم سأنتظرك ومعى هؤلاء:
“Because you are a special person who is close to me, cold beers are waiting for you. Are you coming? At any rate, I will wait for you with those,” he said, while linking to a photograph of the cold beverages.

Needless to say, Rami answered the call of duty and the Egyptian bloggers celebrated his freedom.

Meanwhile, away from Egypt to Jordan, where blogger Sha3teely, is left in a state of confusion after catching part of the Press conference between US President George Bush and his Iraqi counterpart Nouri Al Maliki on TV.

لفت انتباهي جملة قالها رئيس الوزراء نور المالكي، وهي أن الإرهاب ثقافة وحضارة يجب على المجتمع الدولي التصدي لها.

ربما لم يكن يقصد نوري المالكي وصف الإرهاب بهذه الصفة، ولكن في ظل الموقف الذي صدرت منه هذه المقولة وعلى مسمع من مؤسسة نظريات الإرهاب “الرئيس” جورج بوش.. فإن هذا التعبير يستحق أن نتوقف عنده.

السؤال هنا.. متى أصبح الإرهاب حضارة؟ أين تقع حدود هذه الحضارة؟ لأي أمة تنتمي؟ ما حدودها؟ تعريفها.. وإن كانت حضارة فهي لم تكن يالتأكيد وليدة لحظة الحادي عشر من سبتمبر!! فما أصلها وتاريخها… هل كان يقصد بها الحضارة الإسلامية باعتبار أن الإرهاب منسوب للأصولية الإسلامية!! أم أني قد سرحت كثيراً ولم يكن يقصد المالكي أي شيء من ذلك…

“A sentence uttered by President Nouri Al Maliki caught my attention. He said that terrorism was a civilisation and a culture which the international community should stand against. Perhaps Nouri Al Maliki did not mean to describe terrorism in this manner but considering that he had said this in front of the founder of the theories surrounding terrorism, ‘President’ George Bush, this is a statement which we should stop by. The questions here are: Since when has terrorism had a civilisation? Where does this civilisation occur? Who are the people who make up this civilisation? How do you describe this civilisation? And if it really was a civilisation, then it couldn't have possibily be founded on September 11!! What is its origins and history? Does he mean the Islamic civilisation, considering that terrorism is linked to Islamic fundamentalism? Or has my imagination taken me far away and Al Maliki didn't mean any of this?” he wrote.

While we are at the topic of fundamentalism, let's make a quick stop in Saudi Arabia, where a group of religious extremists attacked a university theatre, in Riyadh, forcing the curtains to prematurely fall.

Magic Kingdom
, blogging in Arabic, says the attack on the theatre signifies an attack on culture and art in the kingdom.

هل كان كل ذلك ليحصل لو ردعت شلة الظلام من البداية، لو أدرك المسئولون أن ما حدث أول مرة سيتكرر، وقد يتفاقم إذا لم تتدخل السلطات في الوقت المناسب، وتكون تلك رسالة ليعلم الجميع أن البلد فيها “قانون”، وأن للمواطن السعودي حقوق يجب الدفاع عنها.
“Would all this have happened if the Gang of Darkness was stopped from the very beginning and if the authorities realised that what had happened before would be repeated again and may even get out of hand if they did not intervene at the right time? This should be a message for everyone to know that this country has laws and that the Saudi citizen has rights which should be protected,” she said.

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