April 28, 2007

Sandmonkey Shut Down

My Egyptian friend, the blogger who is known in public as the Sandmonkey, will no longer be able to write on his own Web site.

One of the chief reasons is the fact that there has been too much heat around me lately. I no longer believe that my anonymity is kept, especially with State Secuirty agents lurking around my street and asking questions about me since that day. I ignore that, the same way I ignored all the clicking noises that my phones started to exhibit all of a sudden, or the law suit filed by Judge Mourad on my friends, and instead grew bolder and more reckless at a time where everybody else started being more cautious. It took me a while to take note of the fear that has been gripping our little blogsphere and comprehend what it really means. The prospects for improvment, to put it slightly, look pretty grim. I was the model of caution, and believing in my invincipility by managing not to get arrested for the past 2 and a half years, I've grown reckless.
Hosni Mubarak's Egyptian police state is supposedly "moderate," and allegedly an American ally.

It is neither.

Sandmonkey, you will be missed.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at April 28, 2007 02:58 PM
Comments

We should make future aid to Egypt entirely contingent on improvements in human rights.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at April 28, 2007 03:56 PM

We've spent 63.5 billion dollars on aid to Egypt over the years.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at April 28, 2007 04:04 PM

Sandmonkey, YOU WILL BE MISSED! :-(

Posted by: Renée C. at April 28, 2007 05:10 PM

This is a reminder that none of us bloggers are anonymous, and there are many, many people in this world who do not have the privilege of free speech.

Posted by: Markk at April 28, 2007 07:18 PM

One problem on the aid subject. Look up which treaty we will be abrogating if we cut or modify terms of Military assistance in any way...

Hint: "Camp David"

Posted by: DJ Elliott at April 28, 2007 09:39 PM

Very bad news. Egypt is about to descend into the abyss of Islamism. It is only a matter of when. My guess is after the current despot finally relinquishes power by becoming deceased.

As bad as Mubarak is and he is pretty much abysmal, the alternative is even more 'useless'.

Sandmonkey should with respect, investigate 'alternatives' in another country if he has the faintest opportunity to do so. Egypt is not going to 'progress'. It has far more chance of actually regressing. From merely backward and failing to completely fubared.

A pity for all. Especially the Egyptians.

Posted by: dougf at April 28, 2007 09:43 PM

Hosni Mubarak's Egyptian police state is supposedly "moderate," and allegedly an American ally.

It is neither.

Amen.

We could gain a lot of currency in the Arab street by putting serious, Iran-level pressure on Mubarak to hand over the Egyptian government back to its people. We would have a lot of leverage with the opposition - including the more moderate Islamists, of which there are plenty in Egypt, who refrain from violence despite enormous pressure from the government. We could build a bridge to the world's first Islamic democracy.

But we're too stupid and afraid of the boogeyman. Or perhaps of all of our ridiculously advanced weapons systems sold to Egypt, falling into the hands of ... anyone we don't control.

That we sell weapons systems to Egypt is unparalleled insanity.

Posted by: glasnost at April 28, 2007 11:38 PM

I seem to remember than Egypt has suffered quite a few terrorist attacks by radical Islamists. Are Americans really in a position to question how a government fights terrorism?

I dont think Egyptians consider themselves "Arabs," btw, glasnost.

Posted by: alphie at April 29, 2007 01:23 AM

Alphie: Are Americans really in a position to question how a government fights terrorism?

Abso-freaking-lutely.

Are you out of your mind, or is this another one of your "jokes"?

Putting my friend the Sandmonkey in jail for what he writes on his blog is not "fighting terrorism." Sandmonkey isn't a terrorist. He's a liberal democratic dissident in a police state.

You're a leftie, aren't you? Why on earth should I have to explain this to you? What would you say if George W. Bush put Juan Cole in jail because of what he writes on his blog?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 29, 2007 02:16 AM

Also, Alphie, the full name of the country is The Arab Republic of Egypt.

Most Copts don't consider themselves Arabs, and they make up around 10-15 percent of the population. Most of the population self-identifies as Arab.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 29, 2007 02:19 AM

I dont think of myself as a "lefty."

My vote last time for John Kerry was the first Democrat I've voted for in 30 years of voting. And if Rudy wins the Republican nomination, he's got my vote next time.

I'm not for censorship, Michael. But I didn't read from the post that the Egyptian government had done anything at all to your freind, though.

Was he thrown in jail before?

Posted by: alphie at April 29, 2007 02:33 AM

No, Alphie, he hasn't been arrested (yet) for blogging. Lots of his friends have, though. Really.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 29, 2007 02:52 AM

Are we ever going to call Egypt's hand and stop giving them free money? It's just ridiculous. May God protect you, Sandmonkey.

Posted by: CP at April 29, 2007 12:44 PM

Michael,

"will no longer be able to write on his own Web site"

Am I reading too much into it?

Please, no details. Just 'yes' or 'no'.

Posted by: leo at April 29, 2007 08:29 PM

Leo, yes, you are reading too much into it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 29, 2007 09:49 PM

I will really miss sandmonkey, just hope he was able to scrape together his emergency escape fund before signing off. Bummer.

There are no simple answers -- to say Mubarak's constitutional amendments (think Patriot Act on methamphetamine) are designed to stop radical islamists is to ignore the fact that Egypt is not a democracy, is at best marginally moderate or western in cultural disposition, and is already functioning internally as a genuine fascist police state -- against pro-democracy and liberal citizens as well as Islamists.

Posted by: Pam at April 29, 2007 10:19 PM

EGYPT: COURAGEOUS BLOGGER BOWS OUT

Cairo, 30 April (AKI) - The Egyptian Sand Monkey - one of the country's most popular and straight talking blogs - has closed down his site. In a farewell message, the blogger explained "that there has been too much heat around me lately," adding he feared for his anonymity with "State Security agents lurking around my street and asking questions about me." He went on to say that his bowing out was also due to changes in the Egyptian blogosphere, "too much media attention, too much hype," and the need for a period of reflection.

The news of the farewell to the web of the "sand monkey" because of alleged repression by the Egyptian regime, has captured the interest of the local media and on Monday the story was carried by most of the main Arab-language dailies.

One of the most vibrant voices in the political and social debate of the country Sand Monkey has over the past two years consistently reported on the violence and brutality used against political activists during protests agianst the rule of president Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian bloggers came to the attention of the mainstream media two years ago and have since become an important pillar of information in a country where the media is largely state controlled.

In recent months the blogosphere has been in the sights of the Egyptian authorities who fear the spread via the Internet of information that is not controlled or at least filtered by central power. In one particular case cellphone images of an Egyptian citizen, who had been tortured in a police station, appeared on Egyptian blogs and were quickly picked up by other sites around the globe.

Last February, a court in Alexandria sentenced blogger Karim Suleiman, 22, to four years jail for having insulted the president and Islam, the state religion. The sentence was widely condemened by human rights and press freedom campaigners.

Since 2006, Egypt has featured in the black list of counties considered enemies of Internet and of freedom of expression that is drawn up annually by the group Reporters Without Borders.

http://www.adnki.com/index_2Level_English.php?cat=CultureAndMedia&loid=8.0.409717278&par=0

(Ale/Aki)

Apr-30-07 13:18

Posted by: Renée C. at April 30, 2007 05:54 AM

That's right. It's neither.

I will take this opportunity to remind readers that Solomon2 was the only non-Egyptian-American to join with pro-democracy & pro-blogging demonstrators outside the Egyptian embassy in Washington, D.C. last month. Now that Egyptians are slowly being strangled into silence, others must take up the cause in their behalf. I can't do it all alone, can I?

Posted by: Solomon2 at April 30, 2007 11:46 AM

I ignore that, the same way I ignored all the clicking noises that my phones started to exhibit all of a sudden, [..]

Lots of people seem to be missing the significance of those odd clicks. State surveillance isn't so common in the west that the typical person would recognize the extra sounds associated with a tap (or maybe our governments can just afford better equipment).

If the government is concerned enough about you to 1) figure out who you are, and 2) tap your phone, it's time to decide just how far you're willing to go for an issue.

Good luck.

Posted by: rosignol at May 2, 2007 04:23 AM

it is already well known, if you are a puppet country to the U.S. you are a "moderate" like egypt and jordan and the super moderate saudi arabia mother of bin laden.
BUT, if you are not a blind follower to the U.S and not very good supporter to its policy then you are the well known terrorist, the demon, the axis of evil.

well Michael did u get it well?
the difference between moderate and terrorist states?

however at the end the only looser of these police states are the people.

Posted by: lea at May 4, 2007 11:20 AM

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