Conflicts are loaded with binary decisions: go forward / go back?  Shoot / don’t shoot?  Give the order / don’t give the order?

It’s like the ante at poker or the ring hovering over the romance: are you in / are you out?

This involving a young man with a courageous voice has been like that: speak / don’t speak?

Jim,

If I disappear will you just sit on the story?  Sorry. I live strongly by the Biblical Proverb (chapter 31) to speak up for those who have no voice.

For eleven days, Ahmed Meligy, a much loved and well regarded Egyptian blogger whose worked appeared regularly in The Jerusalem Post (blog: Egypt’s Missing Peace) has gone missing.

The report of Ahmed Meligy’s arrest on Monday morning, seems consistent from the first report through its echo in The Jerusalem Post.  “An individual in Egypt who has had some communication with Meligy’s family contacted the Post following the arrest, writing that the family claimed that five men had taken him around 7 a.m. on Monday because of his blog.”

What if it was you?

A knock on the door, a “come with us” in front of the house . . . .

You have been made invisible and only God knows where you are or what is happening to you.

The curious get an odd message (here I rephrase the gist of it): “He’ll be out in a couple of weeks.  Don’t make things worse.”

Uh huh.

Who says?

And worse in what way?

What, in fact, is going on?

In a civil society, an official representative of the government would tell the bones of the story or, at minimum, acknowledge it with the release of related information.    Such could come from a facilities clerk reading from a roster of who has been checked in.  Simple as that.

The Forouhars’ death was atrocious. Dariush, founder of the Hezb-e Mellat-e Iran (Iran Nation’s Party), was killed in his study on his chair by being inflicted with eleven knife blows. Parvaneh, his wife, was killed with twenty-four stabs. Their bodies were also mutilated. According to reports, Dariush was decapitated, while Parvaneh’s breasts were cut off.

Anne Mahjar-Barducci’s description of one of the Iranian “Chain Murders” (referring to the serial killing of Iranian intellectuals and other opponents in the post-revolutionary atmosphere) will go on to discuss the effects on opposition to the regime: “The serial murders shook the Iranian public opinion and in particular the Iranian students’ movements, which condemned the chain murders by organizing unprecedented demonstrations.”

Sounds good, right?

Didn’t work.

The “Iran Curtain” — the state’s blocking and tracking of cell and web communications — came down on the attempted “velvet revolution” to come (and the regime’s thugs took care of the rest).

Other Egyptian Bloggers Arrested, Past and Present

Alaa Abd El-Fattah (Mubarak Era): “On 7 May 2006, El-Fattah was arrested during a peaceful protest after he called for an independent judiciary.”

Alber Saber (Mursi Period): “an Egyptian blogger arrested on 13 September 2012 on allegations of having shared the YouTube trailer for the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims on his Facebook page.”

Al-Hosseiny Abu Deif (Mursi Period): From the Reporters Without Borders blurb: “died . . . in central Cairo’s El Qasr Al Aini Hospital of the serious head injury he received while covering clashes outside the presidential palace in Cairo in the early hours of 6 December./ Hospitalized in a critical condition after a rubber bullet was fired at his head at close range, Deif never recovered consciousness.”

Bassem Youssef (Mursi Period): ” . . . Egyptian lawyers have launched an investigationinto a popular TV host there, arguing that he insulted Morsi on his Daily Show-esque television program.” Touchy, touchy, all that.

Islam Afifi (Mursi Period): “Reporters Without Borders hails yesterday’s decision by President Mohamed Morsi to request Al-Dostour editor Islam Afifi’s release just hours after a court placed him in pre-trial detention . . . . The press freedom organization also welcomes an announced presidential decree repealing pre-trial detention for media offences. “Mr. Afifi will be released under this decree,” presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said.”

Kareem Amer (Mubarak Era)

Khaled Mohamed Saeed (Mubarak Era)

Mohamed Sabry – From the Reporters Without Borders reported (linked here and also cited in reference):

Sabry’s arrest follows a series of complaints against Egyptian journalists and media, in response to which the public prosecutor’s office has started several judicial investigations despite President Mohamed Morsi’s pledge, shortly after his June 2012 election, that “no one will touch press freedom.

Mona El-Tahawy – This journalist may claim arrests by the Mubarak regime (during the height of opposition to it) and for defacing one of Pamela Geller’s posters in the New York subway system.  Writing, raising hell, or both, Eltahawy lives in the west — base is New York City — and has her own web site.

Wael Ghonim (Mubarak Era — today he’s a Google executive and, from the banner on his Facebook page, appears to be a strong supporter of “Dr. Mohamed Morsy”).

I hope I am clear and accurate, but I know I am not complete.  The pattern of fascist flip-flop, from Mubarak’s military junta to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood fueled new Islamist enterprise, it looks like the state’s scribes, a few at least, take it on the chin.

The Committee to Protect Journalists maintains a page for Egypt, and for this story, I’ve heard they’re looking into it.

I haven’t yet contacted Reporters Without Borders, but that organization also maintains a page for the not-quite-free-press news from Egypt.

A Reflection on an Alternative Explanation

People go batty when the odd and unexplained visits them.

In the regions given over to wild conspiracy theories in which anything is possible, many possibilities may be entertained without particularly the need to explain them.

Whatever the discomfort or evil perceived, it may be for many quite enough to blame the CIA, Mossad, and the Masons.

That’s entertainment!

Moreover, the methods in reason may not be so available or robust as they are to the modern and post-positivism mind.

So, all things considered, I have a different idea about Ahmed Meligy, one tied to the wild improbable question, reasonably grounded: what if the writer made himself disappear?

While putting together this post that includes the arrests of others critical and expressive with regard to Egypt’s governments — both Mubarak’s and Morsi’s — there has been little record, if any — not that I’ve looked too heard, but it’s still the kind of thing that would show up fast on a web search — for not acknowledging the custody of suspects.

Think about that.

The story launched with a text message: “I am being arrested now, they took me from my house without telling me why… I am at the police car now..pray for me.”

Who got it first?

Who posted it to the web first?

From The Jerusalem Post’s first notice: “Meligy had recently informed Post Blog editor Lidar Grave that he would have to take a short hiatus from blogging because he was receiving threats.”

Well, there’s one motive for disappearing.

It doesn’t rule out other motives.

Every life has its troubles.

In fact, for the United States, one web site asserts that “2,300 Americans are reported missing every day.”

That’s a little hard to believe, but it’s a certainty that however many Americans may go missing on any given day — or be missing (about 48,000 reported in the above linked article) — it’s not for being arrested by “the feds” (and the feds keeping mum about it).

What it does tell you is that for many souls, there’s powerful motivation in their lives for not hanging around.

I may take it easy here on this story.

With the theory of the “malignant narcissist” in place and fair explanation for very bad relationships between autocratic leaders and organizations and their critics — artists, bloggers, journalists, press, and assorted (and abundant) representatives of the free — the causes for suppression of political expression seem clear and the patterns of arrests and acts of intimidation practically predictable.

In this instance, we also know we have yet to see a story break about any pattern of disappearances out of Egypt’s political scene, this much unlike what Pakistan and Iran have experienced in their internal agonies.

Whatever the story — personally, I think Ahmed Meligy’s going to show up (some rumors counseled waiting a couple of weeks — well, we’re almost there).

Whatever the story, I’m looking forward to its corroboration, one of those things that happen where the press is truly free and the pack of “professional skeptics” get to do their thing.

Reference

Al Arabiya.  “Anger rises in Egypt over blogger’s arrest; rights groups criticize military trials.”  November 1, 2011.

Anne’s Opinions.  “A tale of two peace activists”.  January 3, 2013:  “Two peace activists have been arrested in Egypt this week, yet their stories could not be more different.”  Anne comments on the arrests of an (alleged) Israeli traitor, Andre Pshenichnikov, and a confirmed “bridge-builder between Israel and Egypt” — Ahmed Meligy.

BBC.  “Egypt court jails blogger Alber Saber for blasphemy.”  December 12, 2012.

Ben Solomon, Ariel and Herb Kenon.  “Egypt extends detention of Israeli ‘infiltrator’”.  The Jerusalem Post, January 2, 2013.

Booth, William.  “Egyptian blogger Alber Saber’s arrest inderlines differences on freedom of speech.”  The Washington Post, September 26, 2012.

Jezebel.  “Writer/Activist Mona Eltahawy Arrested, Beaten, Sexually Assaulted by Police in Cairo.”  November 24, 2011.

Khazan, Olga.  “Meet Egypt’s Jon Stewart, who is now under investigation for satire.”  The Washington Post, January 2, 2013.

Krajicek, David.  “America’s Missing”.  Crime Library.

Mahjar-Barducci, Anna.  “The Chain Murders of Iran”.  Gatestone Institute, December 17, 2008.

Holpuch, Amanda.  “Mona Eltahawy i court over defacing posters: ‘I’m proud of what I did’.”  The Guardian, November 29, 2012.

The Jerusalem Post.  ”‘Post’ blogger in Egypt reportedly arrested.”  December 31, 2012.

Reporters Without Borders.  “Journalist Dies from Head Injury After Six Days in Hospital.”  December 14, 2012.

Reporters Without Borders.  “President Orders Editor’s Release But Concerns Remain.”  August 24, 2012.

Reporters Without Borders.  “Sinai-Based Freelancer to be Tried Before Military Court.”  January 9, 2013.

Zakaria, Fareed.  “No Velvet Revolution for Iran.”  The Washington Post, June 28, 2009.

Related

Committee to Protect Journalists.  “Bloggers imprisoned in mass sentencing in Vietnam.”  January 9, 2013.

Moran, Rick.  “Egypt’s Morsi purges cabinet.”  American Thinker, January 7, 2013: Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi replaced 10 ministers in his cabinet, moving out some who opposed his policies while naming several Muslim Brotherhood supporters to take their place.”
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