/ Jimmy's Corner: Academic freedom under assault!

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006 

Academic freedom under assault!

In a police country expect everything from a guy with a police uniform. This is ruling fact here in Egypt: police authority comes second to none. Even inside universities, a police officer's authority comes second to none. Here are two incidents that sum it all up:

November 7th, 2004:
In Ain Shams University, a professor parks his car inside campus, officers ask him to move it because "this is the place where the head of university guards LIKES to park his car". The professor refuses to move his car as this place is public parking and everyone has the right to park wherever it is suitable for him. One of the officers insults the professor, the professor answers back... Then the University Guards (which is a branch of State Security Police) assault the professor, and tear his shirts. The professor runs to the University Presidency and files a complaint.

Result: The officer got away with it, the professor was interrogated for behaving badly WHEN he was under attack. The interrogation lasts for more than a year, and no results. The Professor is not allowed to report the incident to a police department. And gets two new shirts as compensation. A year passed, nothing changed.

In the annual memory of the incident a very big demonstration goes inside Ain Shams University campus, and here are some photos:

The demonstration moving around the campus!

Professors holding the torn shirt and the two shirts that were given to the assaulted professors as a compensation!

Officers from the University Guards watch the demonstration move around the campus.

March 7th, 2006: (EXCLUSIVE from Misr Digital Newspaper *Arabic*)
In Southern Valley University in Egypt, a group of students tries to glue some posters about the Danish cartoons inside campus. University Guards attack the students, force them into their offices and give them a good beating. Two students are badly injured everywhere in their bodies. The head of the SVU University Guards treads with his shoes over one of the students' face and injures him badly in the right eye. Then the two students are released one after the other.

Many professors and students gathered in front of the University Guards' office till the students were released. Here are some photos (Taken from Misr Digital Newspaper):

Professors asking about the two students

Students gathering in front of the the University Guards office
Key facts:
  • University Guards is the branch of State Security Police which is Egypt's largest police department that deals with drug dealers, terrorists and dangerous criminals. Well they have a branch in each and every Egyptian university. They have long history of assault over academic freedom.
  • University Guards choose who the students to fill positions in academic work, who to get a scholarship and who to be promoted. Nothing can be done without their agreements.
  • University Guards report politically active students to the State Security Department, even professors are reported.
  • Human Rights Watch offered a more than 200-page report about the assault done to academic freedom in Egyptian universities. The High Education minister denied every claim in the report.
Well what would the government say about this??

Please link to this article and send it to any newspaper that wants write about the incidents. I have complete files on the issue.

Let there be freedom!

BP has an item about a Coptic Christian apparently arrested for eating Danish Cheese. I have been unable to check this out, but if true, it deserves wider publicity. Have you heard anything about this. (BP gives a link to a Coptic website of, apparently, questionable reliability, but it has an interview with the man's family. Since I can neither read not understand the language, I was wondering if you were able to check it out and report on it. Seems like it would fit right in here, IF IT IS TRUE, and there are a number of American bloggers -- and not little green footballers -- who should know about it. (I'm thinking of Orac and a number 0pf skeptical bloggers, maybe Andrew Sullivan == as a liberal I dislike his politics, but he gets noticed, etc.)

Anyway, I've asked a couple of Egyptian bloggers to look into this, and would appreciate anything you find out about it.

You have an outstanding good and well structured site. I enjoyed browsing through it » » »

That's a great story. Waiting for more. » » »

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