U.S. raises 'outrageous' detention of journalist with Egypt
A senior U.S. official said on Tuesday that he had asked Egypt to free blogger and journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah, calling her arrest in a major sweep against dissent "outrageous."
David Schenker, the assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, told Congress that he raised Abdel Fattah's case in a meeting last week with Egypt's ambassador to Washington.
"I've met her several times. I think it's outrageous," Schenker said of the blogger's arrest. "This is something that is very important to the administration. We talk about it," he told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee.
He reiterated a U.S. call for Egypt to allow peaceful demonstrations after authorities rounded up thousands who have defied a ban on protests in one of the biggest affronts to President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's rule.
"Walls of Freedom": immortalising the Egyptian Revolution
The book "Walls of Freedom" presents readers with images of the street art of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. The English-language photo book is published by the activist and street artist Don Karl (aka Stone). In Egypt, the work has fallen victim to censorship. Wafah Al-Badri offers his impressions of "Walls of Freedom"
"Honour for the Unknown": this wall painting on Mohamed Mahmoud Street depicts a homeless child who lost his life on Tahrir Square during the revolution. The painting is the work of Ammar Abu Bakr, who says, "Our walls show the truth, and the book 'Walls of Freedom' serves as our tool to share the events of the revolution with the world."
The book "Walls of Freedom" was published in 2013 and shows works of graffiti dealing with the Egyptian Revolution and the events that followed after 2011. The book was published in English by Don Karl, who hails from Berlin, in collaboration with the Egyptian designer Basma Hamdy.
Just as the pharaohs of bygone days immortalised themselves with images on the walls of their temples, modern-day Egyptian artists preserve the memory of the events surrounding the January Revolution on the walls of their cities with graffiti and wall murals. Alaa Awad painted this work of graffiti in memory of thousands of football fans who lost their lives in 2012.
The streets surrounding Tahrir Square have become a gallery for street artists. The graffiti depicted here bears the title "Egyptian Identity" and was painted by Ammar Abu Bakr and Alaa Abd El Hamid. The Arabic calligraphy was provided by Sameh Ismael and the poem was written by Ahmed Aboul Hassan.
In 2011, Mohamed Mahmoud Street in Cairo was the site of bloody clashes between demonstrators and the security forces. Now it is a central part of this art gallery of the revolution. It features a work of graffiti by Abood with the title "State vs. Freedom." Basma Hamdy photographed the piece and published it in "Walls of Freedom."
This is the work of Ammar Abu Bakr and Farik, who belong to the "No Walls" movement. The trompe-l'oeil of a street scene is painted on the blocks of a barricade put up during the revolution to prevent demonstrators from storming the Interior Ministry.
The photographer who works under the pseudonym "El-Zeft" captured this image and named it "Peace Machine." The book "Walls of Freedom" features some 750 photographs and expressive works of graffiti by close to 100 artists. The publication of this book was forbidden in Egypt because it supposedly incites the reader to engage in violence against the government.
Portraits of the heroes of the revolution: "The police would remove a work of graffiti even if it served to honour one of their own men – just as they removed my graffiti of General Batran, who lost his life during the first attacks of the revolution," says Ammar Abu Bakr.
This work of graffiti by the artist Hanaa El Degham ironically portrays the queues of Egyptians waiting to vote. The queue is just as long as that of Egyptians having to wait for gas cylinders, often resulting in skirmishes between those waiting.
Abdel Fattah, 41, is best known for creating a Facebook page in support of striking workers, which turned into a political movement that helped bring down long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Fellow activist Mohammad Salah said that plainclothes officers took the two of them away in cars earlier this month, leaving him on a highway after blindfolding and beating him. Salah said that officers beat Abdel Fattah, choking her and tying her up to the wall for hours as they physically forced her to enter the passcode for her mobile telephone.
Despite Schenker's statement on rights, President Donald Trump has closely allied himself with Sisi, a general who toppled a democratically elected Islamist in 2012.
Schenker praised what he called improvements in Sisi's campaign to crush Islamist militants in the Sinai, saying Egypt had taken U.S. advice that "counter-terrorism requires more than just a military component." (AFP)