Thursday, February 03, 2011


So there's this Egyptian activist/blogger who goes by the interesting handle of Sandmonkey, a man who has been doing whatever the hell he can to get the word out in a country where words can get your ass in the soup...or in the ground, as a few people found out last night. He's been writing, he's been tweeting, and (very importantly for the past few days) he's been one of the hundreds of thousands in the streets of Cairo.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty managed to get a few words with Sandmonkey a few days ago, and while he calls his recent experience at Egyptian activism "scary and exhilarating" he very ominously adds that activists have gone missing every day, and detention is the least of their worries. "The Egyptian regime is actually capable of horrifying things." So when Twitter reports started circulating that Sandmonkey had been arrested on the way to the front lines with medical supplies, people started fearing the worst.

At this writing, I can't link to his remarkable blog except in slightly-mangled Google Cache form. Freedom's Zone, Sandmonkey's hosting provider, claim it's just a temporary suspension while they sort out a few technical issues, so I'll be happy to link to where it's supposed to be on the slim chance that everybody involved is due for better days. What's in the cache is recommended reading all the way through, to say the least, since it points out that the issues which drove honest people into the streets didn't just spring from Zeus's head after a Wikileaks-inspired bender.

That final message (hopefully not the Final Message) before his ill-fated supply run is powerful medicine, too good to throw away. So the Internet people are doing what Internet people always do when confronted with repressed things: they mirror it, they mirror it, they mirror it, they mirror it. And really, that's all people half a world away can do with this particular situation. If those three copies go away, post ten. If the ten copies go down the filter hole, come back with twenty five. It might seem like another small gesture, but it's a necessary one. Let's make it inescapable.

(Edit @ 2:22 pm: The man himself updated his Twitter a little over three hours ago: "I am ok. I got out. I was ambushed & beaten by the police, my phone confiscated , my car ripped apar(t)& supplies taken". Not the ideal end, but under the circumstances, better than was hoped for.)

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