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YouTube Disables Wael Abbas's Account
November 29, 2007 11:40 PM   Subscribe

Wael Abbas is an Egyptian blogger and anti-torture activist who recently won a journalism award for his documenting police brutality in Egypt, which led to the conviction of two police officers. In Egypt, blogging can get you arrested, and Abbas has taken enormous risks. But now YouTube has removed his videos and suspended his account after receiving complaints (possibly from the Egyptian government) about their graphic content, and Yahoo has disabled his email account. Evidently YouTube is not the ally human rights advocates had hoped it would be.
posted by homunculus (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wish this wasn't as common as it is. I know someone who left Egypt and others who desperately want to leave for similar reasons even though it's their homeland and they love the country itself. The person I know who left can't go back or he'd be arrested. For many people it's pure torture to live in such a repressed environment, yet they can't get approved for visas to leave the country no matter how much they want to... so they're stuck. It's such a horrible situation for them.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:11 AM on November 30, 2007


Great post. I wonder how much influence Google had over YouTube's actions. I was hoping that this wasn't the path Google would take, but it looks like that's where we're headed.
posted by longdaysjourney at 3:25 AM on November 30, 2007


On a positive note, I'd never heard of Wael Abbas before, but I know about him and his cause now, and so do a lot of other previously uninformed people. Fortunately, publicity like this usually follows whenever online censorship takes place nowadays. YouTube and Yahoo may be assholes, but I'm sure Abbas will be up and running in some other venues soon enough.

(Of course, I don't mean to imply that he hasn't been wronged, or that recovery would be trivial.)
posted by lifeless at 3:36 AM on November 30, 2007


Isn't Egypt one of the places the US has been outsourcing torture to?
posted by mullingitover at 10:59 AM on November 30, 2007


mullingitover, Yes it is.

And I guess this is what Doing No Evil is all about.
posted by chunking express at 11:08 AM on November 30, 2007


And yeah, he should start posting stuff up on Vimeo.
posted by chunking express at 11:13 AM on November 30, 2007


Isn't Egypt one of the places the US has been outsourcing torture to?

Yes, and it was the Egyptians tortured a guy into claiming that Saddam was working with Al Qaeda. Of course, that information turned out to be completely false.
posted by homunculus at 11:35 AM on November 30, 2007


the Egyptians who tortured...
posted by homunculus at 12:22 PM on November 30, 2007


Nifty post man. I didn't know anything about this guy.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:15 PM on November 30, 2007


I've been to Egypt about 8 times. Wonderful country. Terrible story, though.
posted by GrooveJedi at 2:06 PM on November 30, 2007




Well, just like in the U.S., there's a gigantic difference between the actions of the Egyptian GOVERNMENT and the Egyptian people. They live without many freedoms that we take for granted, that's for sure. It's basically a dictatorship in many ways, and the citizens endure an insane amount of repression. Not only from the government, but also since religious pressure has risen to such a higher level. 30 years ago, few Muslim women in Egypt wore headscarves, but things have really changed. And not for the better for many people. It's become much more militant than many people are comfortable with.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:42 AM on December 3, 2007


Miss Lynster, I'd have to challenge your use of the veil as an indicator of the "militancy" or "religious pressure" of Egypt - or any country in the Middle East. The connection between the veil and "Islamic fundamentalism" or "Islamic extremism" is, like these terms, a fiction of the western media. It's a gross oversimplification of the reality and facilitates the kind of dangerous generalizations our government has been using to justify its presence (in a variety of manifestations - I'm not simply referring to the wars here) in the Middle East.

Women in Egypt veil for a myriad of different reasons and the resurgence of veiling (beginning in the 1970s) is not exclusively a function "religious pressure." It is true that overt expressions of religious identity have been on the rise over the past decades but it is wrong to assume that Egyptian women are not actively and willingly participating in this. Of course, I do not mean to suggest that all veiled women everywhere have taken up the veil of their own accord but to use veiling to make generalizations about the state of a given country or culture is a mistake - and a dangerous one at that.

There has been a lot of anthropological writing about the veil which has exposed the complexities of the practice in the Middle East. Arlene Macleod's book, Accommodating Protest, is a good example. So is Saba Mahmood's recent work, The Politics of Piety, which looks at the rise of piety movements among women in Egypt. It doesn't deal exclusively with veiling but it shows how complicated and diverse the motivations are for engaging in activities and practices that have been commonly associated with "Islamic fundamentalism" in the West. i
posted by anonymous78 at 6:21 PM on December 3, 2007


Breaking News: Adel Hamad is Back in Sudan!

Hamad's case was discussed in this post.
posted by homunculus at 7:21 PM on December 13, 2007


Miss Lynster, I'd have to challenge your use of the veil as an indicator of the "militancy" or "religious pressure" of Egypt - or any country in the Middle East. The connection between the veil and "Islamic fundamentalism" or "Islamic extremism" is, like these terms, a fiction of the western media. It's a gross oversimplification of the reality and facilitates the kind of dangerous generalizations our government has been using to justify its presence (in a variety of manifestations - I'm not simply referring to the wars here) in the Middle East...

Well, I was actually repeating what Egyptians have discussed with me, because not being an Islamic Egyptian I don't feel a right to speak about this stuff for myself. I have one male Arabic teacher who left Egypt in 2003, my female banker here is Egyptian, and I have two friends in Egypt that I talk to (one male, one female). I've asked all of them to share their opinions on this exact topic, and their comments are what I was echoing... not my own personal opinions, since I have no personal experience with what it is to be Egyptian let alone what the changes have been over the last thirty years since I only just visited Egypt for the first time in the 21st century.

The only person who didn't claim that the religious pressure in Egypt has become overbearing is the one person I know (the female in Egypt) who prays five times every day (and always on time, she's NEVER late) and wears a veil herself. And she's by far the most devout Muslim I know (every other phrase she says in conversation is either al Hamdu lillah or in shallah).
posted by miss lynnster at 11:18 PM on December 13, 2007


Oh, and what I was saying had nothing to do with the Western media. I've spent all of my time since my return from Egypt completely ignoring every single thing the Western media says about anything in the Middle East, having seen firsthand how totally wrong it is.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:20 PM on December 13, 2007


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