كل مقالات Jillian C. York

Civil Society to Egypt: Release Alaa Abd El Fattah And All Unjustly Detained In Egypt

The following statement was coordinated by IFEX and released on January 23, 2014 at the Arabloggers conference.

The military “interim government” in Egypt is cracking down on virtually all meaningful form of assembly, association, or opposition.

Following the passage of a November 2013 law banning peaceful protest, dozens of activists and organizers have been sent to prison. Among them is Alaa Abd El Fattah, software guru, blogger and political activist.

On the night of November 28th, security forces raided Alaa’s home, beat him and his wife when asked to see their warrant, and took and held him overnight, blindfolded and handcuffed, in an unknown location. Currently, he is held at Tora Prison, Egypt’s notorious maximum security detention center, historically used to house men suspected of violent crimes and terrorism.
متابعة قراءة Civil Society to Egypt: Release Alaa Abd El Fattah And All Unjustly Detained In Egypt

A Poem for the Surveillance State

Written by Jillian C. York and first performed at AB14 by Wafa Ben Hassine

Have you ever cried for the world?
What, then, can you say for what you’re doing?
This
attempt at creating a country that never existed.
all frozen in time
when you tell me my
love is unnatural my
privacy is unimportant my
heart doesn’t matter I
want to ask you:
what about your tears?
have they dried up
crusted with a film that allows you to
ignore my needs
pretend this is a land for your people only
not you
not mine.

“go back where you came from!”
I heard one night
shouted with might at a pretty girl
whose heart is Carolina through and through but whose
skin and politics don’t match yours, your perception
match what you dream this land to be and
so you
set up cameras, infiltrate, you
watch us, parse our metadata
read our files and you
shun us.

But we are
strong, we are
not wrong, our silence is
not unintentional.

But fear we know, and
fear we show
when we stand down, don’t
stand our ground, reclaim our
place.

First they came for the poor,
the queer, the Black, the Muslim, the immigrant, the Palestinian.
But I was not silent because I am more them than I will ever be you.
I am angrier, louder, and I will not stand down,
I will not stand down
I will not. stand. down.

Digital Citizen/المواطن الرقمي – Keeping tabs on digital rights in the Arab world

Digital Citizen, or المواطن الرقمي is a monthly newsletter that aims to cover all sorts of issues related to technology, policy, and human rights. The project came about when friends and colleagues from several organizations—at first SMEX, Access, and EFF—realized that there was a gap in coverage about Internet governance issues in the Arab world and decided to do something about it. Realizing any such project would have to be bilingual (if not trilingual), they enlisted Global Voices to join the team and thus Digital Citizen was born. The wonderful Jordanian team at 7iber joined shortly thereafter.

The newsletter is very much a team effort, with volunteers working from Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, the United States, and elsewhere, and the team is constantly growing. We met at AB14 this week to discuss our process, hoping that by announcing the meeting publicly, we might gain a few new members…we were very surprised, then, when at least eight people joined our meeting, excitedly sharing their ideas for the project.

From the meeting emerged several important ideas: First, syndication. Most of the subscribers to our newsletter seem to be based in the United States, but the analytics for the published version on Global Voices indicate that our Arabic version is more popular than the English (and Spanish!) versions. So, in order to ensure greater distribution, we're seeking syndication with publications that will re-publish and spread our content. Partners will be encouraged to publish Digital Citizen as a whole, but are also welcome to publish only the sections relevant to their country or context (Digital Citizen is licensed under Creative Commons!).

Furthermore, we also managed to recruit some new faces to the project, from Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Lebanon. One struggle we've faced is ensuring good, accurate content from countries where we have no local contributors, and so these partnerships are key to the project's survival. We're also going to begin publishing the newsletter in French as well as English and Arabic.

Finally, like any good project, we've experienced growing pains that have sometimes delayed publication or made the contribution process painful. To that end, we're working to find ways to create better internal processes and hard deadlines.

We're excited to see Digital Citizen grow and hope you'll join us on the journey!

On Alaa, Learning, and the Struggle

Alaa and Manal. Photo by Lilian Wagdy via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)
Alaa and Manal. Photo by Lilian Wagdy via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Egyptian activist, blogger, and GV Advox friend Alaa Abd El Fattah is currently in prison because of his work as an activist. This essay originally appeared on Jillian C. York's personal blog.
متابعة قراءة On Alaa, Learning, and the Struggle