Here’s my draft letter – any ideas/contributions please send to email@example.com – thanks.
I’m researching a book on Egypt’s 2011 uprising, the historical and symbolic importance of Tahrir Square and the country’s ongoing human rights crisis. I hope to include a section on Western reactions to developments in Egypt and as part of that quote from some opinions and recollections of academics and other people of influence based outside Egypt.
In case you wish to know my qualifications and motivations for this study – I hold an MSc from the London School of Economics and a PhD from the University of Essex and I was inspired to research the human rights situation in Egypt after having spent nearly two months in detention in Egypt’s notorious Tora Prison in 2012, a brutal institution which took the life of a fellow inmate and close British friend.
Since then many observers feel that the scale of repression and injustice inside Egypt has worsened further with numerous gross and systematic human rights violations during the last few months including.
1) Hundreds of extra judicial “disappearances” of government opponents and activists, most of whom were detained without charge and many of whom were murdered by security forces.
2) A tightening censorship of all forms of media and the detention of journalists, bloggers, writers and Facebook admins.
3) Ongoing attempts to ban independent trade unions through new legislation as well as harassment and detention of union officials.
4) Dozens of arrests and prison sentences following entrapment operations against Egypt’s LGBT community.
5) Highly discriminatory laws against women and the ongoing harassment of women’s rights activists by the state including a ban in June 2016 on leading women’s right activist Mozn Hassan from leaving the country.
6) The abduction and murder of Cambridge PhD student Giulio Regeni in January 2016 which has highlighted the commonality of the grotesque forms of torture practiced by Egypt’s security services.
I am contacting you in the hope that you might be able to forward your comments, views and/or relevant memories with regards ANY ONE of the following –
1) If you have any experience or general comments or views which relate to either the 2011 uprising or to the current human rights crisis in Egypt ?
or 2) How did you feel when you witnessed the 2011 images of the crowds in Tahrir Square ?
or 3) Did the reports from the Square inspire worldwide street protests for political reform and social and economic justice ?
or 4) Do you think Egypt’s “revolutionaries and martyrs” have been “betrayed” by Egypt’s elites and “collaborating” Western powers, who ( according to some ) do not want to see a democratic Egypt ?
or 5) What is you view of how the British government has responded to the human rights crisis in Egypt ? For instance do you think it right that Cameron rolled out the red carpet for President Sisi in November when they met in London or that the British government continues to allow arms exports to Egypt or that it took a public petition with over 10,000 signatures before the FCO issued any statement of concern over the abduction and murder of Cambridge PhD student Giulio Regeni ?
Finally, if you are kind enough to make any written contribution please don’t forget to state whether it can be attributed. I will greatly appreciate any comments or relevant memories, whether attributable or not, so please send them either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or if you wish by mail ( addressed envelope enclosed ).