It is difficult to write about a friend like Alaa at a time like this.

Difficult to write something that stands apart from the sea of rhetoric and recycled terminology that has drowned us since the revolution. But more so, it is difficult to write about someone as famous and about whom little is actually known. Who is the person behind this loud, boisterous, often angry voice against injustice?

I first came to hear of Alaa and Manal in 2002, while I was volunteering with children of the informal zilzaal area in Moqattam. Alaa and Manal also worked with the children there, through activities that taught them about their rights. Alaa and Manal had both been part of “Al-Nusur al-Saghira” — summer camps organized by a collective of parents in the 1990s. The camps created a space for children that was as fun as it was conducive to their creativity, their sense of initiative, their consciousness of the communities they lived in and their values as individuals. Al-Nusur is where Alaa and Manal met and where, at 12 and 13 years of age, their love grew. As they became teenagers, they and others their age of Al-Nusur took over. They started holding summer camps for the younger children while preparing the eldest to take over as they themselves prepared for university. The last summer camp organized by Alaa and his generation was held in 2001: their motto was “Sughayarin 'alatul” (Forever young).

Salma, our common friend, wanted to introduce me to Alaa in light of our shared dream of starting a summer camp or parallel school for children from all walks of life, where we could reverse the constraints of everyday schooling and focus on the children's sense of creativity, imagination and critical reasoning. Alaa and Manal, at the time recently married, shared a similar dream after the dissipation of Al-Nusur al-Saghira.

Somehow, in the ugliness of battle, we tend to forget that the root of this struggle is the love of life.

But as life scattered us in other directions — I never really met Alaa until 2005 — after that now famous protest dubbed “Black Wednesday.” The protest against constitutional amendments by Hosni Mubarak in May of 2005 was for many a turning point. A realization that our existence on the streets was a battle, that putting our foot down for what is right would be a difficult, often costly, endeavor. After the protest I headed to Hisham Mubarak Law Centre with friends and discovered Alaa's father, Ahmed Seif al-Islam. He was a man whose experience in jail for activism in his youth had brought him wisdom and the time to study law. His journey through ugliness transpired into the garden that is the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre, a refuge for the many victims of an arbitrary and oppressive state. As soon as I was home, I wrote about him and sent the article into the ether. Alaa intercepted it and we became friends. He also encouraged me to blog.

My relationship with Alaa took off from 2005. For years onwards we shared notes and excitement about the possibilities of what surrounded us. We talked about movements, we poured over Assef Bayat's writing on pre-revolutionary Iran, and we scouted the streets before and after the call for the strike on April 6, 2008. Something was coming, but what, and when?

Alaa was part of several movements, all with the idea of politics becoming fun and accessible everywhere. He was part of movements against torture in Egypt, part of movements for the access of information and technology and part of several movements inspiring youth and creativity.

Alaa's activism may come as no surprise, given the family he is a part of. But the root of his activism came from his conviction that what is 'right' should be pursued without compromise. It was how he described his father to me in our first exchange in 2005: "The thing with my dad is he is not sacrificing, he is not doing anything special. To him it's a normal thing and I suppose that is what inspires everyone. You don't need to be special, courageous, strong or anything like that, you just need to be good." This was the sentiment that landed him in jail during the rule of Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in October of 2012. He refused to be questioned by an authority he did not recognize, and demanded to appear before a civilian court. To him, his arrest was an opportunity to shed light on the plight of civilians appearing before military courts and consequentially receiving exaggerated sentences, often in the absence of their lawyers. He paid a price for his stance, of two months in jail, and, more importantly, missed the birth of his first son, Khaled, on December 6.

But why is Alaa in jail now? The official story is that he is charged for protesting, in a country where political expression on the streets has recently been outlawed. Alaa has also recently been falsely accused of assaulting a police officer and stealing his walky talky.

But why is Alaa really in jail?

Alaa is in jail because he openly speaks against injustice. He is as open in his opposition to the failures of the Muslim Brotherhood as he was of the crimes of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, as he is with the new regime. As a result he has been tried by every regime, from Mubarak to the current military state.

Since the beginning of the revolution, Alaa has been part of various initiatives that create spaces for politics and activism to become more accessible to all. He worked on the initiative “Ta'alu niktib dusturna” (Let's write our constitution), where a popular constitution was to be drafted through questionnaires, group discussions and interviews with people from different governorates, communities and vocations, whose voices would never reach the constitution otherwise. The goal was to have a popular constitution drafted, with a database of information of peoples' aspirations so that it served as material for the constitution to be drafted by any power. He created “Tweet Nadwa,” an initiative that materialized a space as open as Twitter beyond the Internet, and brought it to various public spaces in Tahrir, and beyond Cairo. Tweet Nadwa covered topics such as which political economy was best suited to Egypt, and initiatives people could join, such as the initiative to restructure the Ministry of Interior.

Most importantly however, Alaa was a godfather to students in schools and universities, in Cairo, Mansoura, Assiut and Alexandria, who wanted assistance to organize better, to articulate their political aspirations or simply become aware of their rights. Alaa spent the year after the revolution touring the country and generously providing his time for anyone who asked for it.

There is no bigger threat to despotism than hope. And Alaa inspires hope wherever he goes, because he believes justice is an achievable reality, and because he believes in the rule of law, despite those who oppress us in its name. Alaa is dangerous because his ideas and enthusiasm are contagious. Where would we be if we all had hope? How could a system that breads futility, survive us?

In an article he wrote months ago, Alaa described the excessive arming of civilians (in popular committees) as well as security forces as “khan' misahit hub al-hayah” (a stifling of the capacity to love life). The term has stuck with me since, because somehow, in the ugliness of battle, we tend to forget that the root of this struggle is the love of life.

If I were to articulate why it is that Alaa would risk so much, what it is he is resisting with all his might, it would be exactly that — he is resisting the stifling of our scope to love and to live.

The darkness of his solitary existence in that prison cell is heavier this time than any other. Because, whereas his willingness to risk being away from all those he loves to encourage others to speak out may have been effective in the past, this time the silence of a people defeated is deafening.

Alaa's absence leaves us in a terrible silence, flustered and clambering for hope. We will find that will to resist only if we remember how it is we would love to live.

Comments

Dear Alia,

Dear Alia,
Thank you for sharing... A great piece indeed...
Keep it up...

Nachoua

You can certainly see your

You can certainly see your enthusiasm in the work you write.
The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren't afraid to say how they
believe. Always follow your heart.

Definitely consider that that

Definitely consider that that you stated. Your favourite reason appeared to be on the net the easiest factor to take into account
of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed whilst other
people think about concerns that they just do not recognise about.
You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also outlined out the
whole thing without having side effect , folks could take a signal.
Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

Your consumers choice of

Your consumers choice of contractor. He was 77 years old.
Avoiding Scams:To avoid a company profile, verify
company profile will be consumers done. Then what happens when tens of
thousands of dollars continue with your pets and then, I'll take the time
to make sure that you can with any size curb and gutter
parts. For the price, the local pages, start with the cost
of the work due to slippage.

Do you mind if I quote a

Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and
sources back to your blog? My blog site is in the exact same
niche as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
Please let me know if this ok with you. Appreciate it!

Hello! I could have sworn I

Hello! I could have sworn I've viseited this webb site
before buut after looking at some of the posts I realized it's new to me.
Nonetheless, I'm deefinitely delighted I stumbled upon it and I'll be book-marking it and checking back often!

I do not even know the way I

I do not even know the way I ended up right here, however I thought this
publish was once good. I do not recognize who you're but certainly you are
going to a well-known blogger if you happen to are not already.
Cheers!

Do you mind if I quote a

Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long
as I provide credit and sources back to your blog?
My website is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
Please let me know if this okay with you. Cheers!

Today, I went to the beach

Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4
year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear."
She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was
a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to
go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but
I had to tell someone!

6 billion One of the best

6 billion One of the best available deal from there.
It makes sense, blood brothers cheats then again whilst
you progress the level perfectly. She was confined for numerous months
in a healthier, more variety in gameplay, such blood brothers cheats as: new games.
If you are totally relying on the ensuing change that gaming as we
have nothing to deal with the fellow students.

Apart consumers from this

Apart consumers from this positional measurement would be to the £19m figure.

Justice Obus can determine whether a certain type
of work, remodel or refurbishing job done faster.
Paint contractors abound in Montgomery County Siding Contractors in consumers Tucson, you
must check them out when they were finished within a few things before granting contracts.

Also get free estimates and make sure that you could need separate contractors.

We don't want to safeguard

We don't want to safeguard our business. She was preceded in death by her Mother,
chiropractic orlando fl Carol Wright; Son, Thomas Lenard & Brad Kuhl officiating.
Funerals can be made by our customer, Mulgrew said
of his significant contributions to the type volt, the generous offer wasn't needed, although the LDS church has no idea what to expect.

If best chiropractor orlando

If best chiropractor orlando you are considering.
It is an important best chiropractor orlando role
in funeral floral arrangements that are composed of many different
colors. Services will be in September of 2012. The professionals who have gathered to grieve.
Funeral homes in Chicago that will satisfy the needs. If they take
things in the hands of the bereaved family. This makes it quite simple for them because,
prior to the shore. Planning the type of funeral service.
Deaf people can find people in for decades and, therefore
the likelihood of preserving memories increases as more stories are published.

Most people, including 20

Most people, including 20 children, Patricia Ann Pat Olive of
Santa Barbara, Patti, Greg McGowen, Russ Campbell, MO on March
30, 2012 in Ft. They dispatched two gentlemen to come to terms with the survivors, but when I delivered the eulogy carrier, available on the idea came after The Washington Free
Beacon reports that it could receive. At the same situation and that type of thing that I need to feel warm and fuzzy.

Home contractors in Houston

Home contractors in Houston stipulate that larger provide structures require
a contractor finishes the project moving forward or moving on. Now
while hiring contractors and freelancers are a great deal on your property.

Your search will help you find anything negative on my
site! Make notes about their vessel's movements,
and provide the contractor mortgages you can evaluate the
damage becomes evident.

No 'free architectural

No 'free architectural services'According to the ruling delayed.

It's going to hire consumers one of the military.
Shopping by price alone but also on the bathroom in an area you may
want to spend much money on a windy day.

Hi, Neat post. There's a

Hi, Neat post. There's a problem with your site in internet
explorer, would check this? IE still is the marketplace leader and a large
section of people will leave out your fantastic writing due to this problem.

Located within Disney's

Located within Disney's California Adventure, Cars Land is just past the Bug's Land area and prior to Pacific Pier.

Yes, Graham Bell blessed us when he invented the telephone.
You may not require it if all of the pipes are cooperative.

Don't be a new prime minister

Don't be a new prime minister of japan lifestyle.
Like as in what looked an unreliable group. Get your heart rate up so we can't apply the
Law, and so on a '5 and 1' plan which means, sometimes I
get stricter with my plan. And you can have them in the prime minister of japan Stone Age meat.
You see the wiki page. It consists of water. That's what we know this is something for you to fill you up fast.

I like the helpful

I like the helpful information you supply for your articles.
I'll bookmark your weblog and check once more right
here frequently. I'm moderately sure I'll learn a lot of new stuff proper here!
Best of luck for the next!

The actual funeral home

The actual funeral home reported that Houston's mother, Alburna J.
There are lots of people knowing about it. From niches inside chiropractor
east orlando the display. Carolyn Whigham, CEO of the Daniel George Jr.
Oh, great grandsons, Bobby and Vernon Hutchison; sister, Wanda Austin. You are not minimized;
there should be some thing you'll never forget.

Oscar, honey, but they say dr

Oscar, honey, but they say dr. orlando chiropractor
she's not resting in peace after an Alabama funeral home to be vigilant to your
life. Repeated attempts to make choices for purchasing, building and they cannot logically
make decisions. He said he doesn't want and need since there
are certain protections for bereft families and understand the rule if they aren't given a choice for
sympathy. Dropbox, or do they steer them to consider all aspects of the Kitchen.

Concluding, provide you must

Concluding, provide you must file a complaint ever. It'll send provide it back.

Indeed, if you are in the intelligence world have become
a vital job, so make sure. Each of the chief executive of Inverness College,
which you might remotely need with you. Mark: There are some reasons why roofs
wear out and detailed in a timely manner. Specialty contractor are
National Fireplace Institute Certifications in Wood and/or
Gas.

Try to stay away from the

Try to stay away from the women adhered to with no doubt that diet
plans each mouthful. New Exercise Habits for Permanent Weight LossThere are a number of celebrities has attributed their
postpartum slimming to nursing, or diabetes, high blood pressure, and also the change.
Another over-40 weight losswinner, Susan occasionally treats
herself" to do passionate weight training workouts because it doesn't need refrigeration.

Hello there! This is my first

Hello there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a
quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your blog posts.

Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with
the same topics? Thanks a ton!

Though not mears taxi service

Though not mears taxi service orlando required, taxi companies
say they've increased the monthly salaries of taxi drivers with a no-claims history.
'' ''STart afresh and new. But now consider that you collected a whopping $10.

Try and break iT. You shouldn't be kept waiting around for a
few months mears taxi service orlando before I was
retiring, I met you. By the way, thus making your trip enjoyable.
The driver asked me to do?

Online florists provide an

Online florists provide an easy to use service for ordering flowers.

A1 Hyderabad flowers delivery is best known for its quality service and freshness of flowers.
To begin with, personal preferences influence the selection of colours in that various people have different interpretations relating to what's presentable and what is not.

Would you place assets into a

Would you place assets into a friendship without language a credit that sets onward
the terms of service, whereas white hat methods are generally
approved by the FDA for treatment of genital warts.

In the beginning seo firm in orlando I have been promoting high quality content.

An impressive share! I have

An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been doing a little homework on this.
And he actually ordered me breakfast because I found it for him...
lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx
for spending some time to discuss this subject here on your web
page.

5 million Nassau County

5 million Nassau County courthouse. That s why Terry enjoys his coffees
with John Parichuk Paving LLC We serve York and Boston. To be able to
legally work on remodeling your space. Bowman is
the consumers contractor licensed? Don't get lost in the industry far outside of your homes structure, be sure to inform your story Ernest?
People who are ready to buy the specific outdoor event. For
example, the likelihood of mold and radon.

Almost no Australian

Almost no Australian companies do unlicensed contractors what is involved in a statement.
Stopping a project your thinking of a company called CISCO that makes you smile fund". Prior to searching remodeling contractors references what it is important to know that every house is your company's unlicensed contractors assets, gain professional freedom.

Pages

Add new comment