Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
1 comment

OpEdNews Op Eds

Even Great Journalism Leaves Questions!

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H3 3/6/11
Become a Fan
  (11 fans)

A lot of the news coming out of Egypt these days is truly professional journalism at its best. And because it is at its best, it is also heart-breaking and maddening.

But regardless of how excellent some of the reporting has undoubtedly been, readers are left with nagging questions that just won't go away. And maybe that's as it should be, because it draws us in for more answers.

Last week, two of the best journalists covering the Egypt story filed spine-chilling accounts of former political prisoners and their relatives rampaging through the Ministry of Interior -- which ran the security police and made the life and death decisions about torture -- looking for the files of their loved ones. Some of those loved ones has been secretary executed. Some had been tortured until they died. Many had been "disappeared" and would probably never be heard from or about again.

Those journalists are Hannah Allam of   McClatchy Newspapers and Andrea Bruce of The New York Times.

Here's how Hannah Allam begins her piece, which is datelined Cairo:

"Trudging through dungeon-like cells and mounds of shredded documents, hundreds of Egyptians on Saturday surged into the Cairo headquarters of the dreaded State Security apparatus for an unprecedented look inside buildings where political prisoners endured horrific torture."

"Some former prisoners sobbed as they saw their old cells, recalling electric shocks and severe beatings. Families held passport photos of missing relatives and were desperate to explore the dank chambers for clues to their fates."

How could you not read on?

Allam continued: "Dismantling State Security, the shadowy and all-powerful intelligence force, was a key demand of protesters who forced the resignation last month of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. When the military-led interim authority failed to dissolve the agency immediately, protesters in Cairo and the port city of Alexandria descended on State Security offices this weekend to seize files they hoped would cement Mubarak's legacy of prisoner abuse and disappearances.

"I thought my brother would be found there," said Leila Mahmoud, 47, who was distraught when she learned the buildings had been evacuated. "He was taken on April 2, 2005, and we've been looking for him since then. We haven't heard a word from him since. Not a word."

"Security forces and the police routinely torture or ill-treat detainees, particularly during interrogation. In most cases, officials torture detainees to obtain information and coerce confessions, occasionally leading to death in custody."

"For those who jailed at the complex, the memories are haunting," she says.

"I saw people's nails being ripped out and people hung from the ceiling by their arms or legs," said Adel Reda, 39, trembling as he recounted his nine months inside the complex.

"They would throw our food in sand before giving it to us and splash us with cold water day and night. Sometimes it was so dark you couldn't see your hands."

When asked whether he was ever allowed access to an attorney, Reda raised his hands heavenward and replied: "My lawyer was God."

Allam's piece goes on recounting citizen after citizen telling their stories of loved ones snatched from the beds or their offices or their cars, whisked to this torture factory, in all likelihood disappeared as if they had never lived.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Silence of the Sheep

Liberties Lost Since 9/11

Law Professors Outraged by Senate Vote on Indefinite Detention


Feel Safer Now?

The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable -- A Must-Read.


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Well, we hope so. But Egypt needs to know a l... by WILLIAM FISHER on Sunday, Mar 6, 2011 at 9:43:28 AM