april 6 youth movement

The Political Education of a Techie Dissident

On a chilly Friday afternoon in November, just weeks before Ahmed Maher would resort to scribbling notes on toilet paper from his jail cell to communicate with the outside world, I caught up with him on the campus of Portland State University in Oregon. Maher, 33, is the co-founder of Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement, a grassroots group that was instrumental in organizing the 2011 overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. I had written about Maher in 2008, when A6Y was little more than a motley cadre of rabble-rousers using Facebook and social media to rattle the regime, and again post-revolution, when the world was intoxicated by that thing called the Arab Spring, and Maher and his peers were on their way to a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

What a difference three years makes. Egypt so far looks like an epic flail. Members of secular groups like A6Y have always known that you can’t snap your fingers and create a civil society. As Wael Ghonim, the former Google executive who helped galvanize public fury toward Mubarak’s thug-ocracy, put it: “Revolutions are processes, not events.” Unfortunately, that process to date has been characterized by economic dysfunction, broken promises from elected officials and military leadership, flare-ups of deadly violence, and, most recently, a ban on public protests every bit as draconian as Mubarak-era prohibitions. Just this week, Egyptian authorities acquitted some of Mubarak’s closest allies of corruption while filing new terrorism charges against deposed President Mohammed Morsi. A cynic would say the revolution has been hijacked. Worse, even: deleted.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

6 activists detained Friday, others missing since Jan. 25

CAIRO: Six political activists were detained early Friday after meeting with Mohamed ElBaradei, according to a statement issued by the April 6 Youth Movement.

The activists include Amr Ezz and Tarek El Khouly, who are both members of April 6 Youth Movement.

“We have no information on who detained them or why,” the movement’s media coordinator, Injy Hamdi, told Daily News Egypt.

The activists met with ElBaradei to discuss the current situation in Egypt and then went to a small café in Fasail where they were last seen, according to Hamdi.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and Vice President Omar Suleiman said that they were willing to initiate a dialogue with the youth protesting in Tahrir Square on Thursday.

“[These arrests] confirm what Ahmed Shafiq said about initiating a dialogue with the youth,” the April 6 statement read.

Suleiman added that all those who have been detained in the protests without any criminal charges would be released promptly.

There have been many reports of missing people since the Jan. 25 uprising in Egypt, most prominently Google Marketing Manager and political activist Wael Ghoneim and the general coordinator of April 6 Youth Movement Ahmed Maher.

However, Hamdi said that Maher wasn’t detained or missing, but his mobile phone was disconnected like many other April 6 members, which made it very difficult to reach him.

The April 6 Youth Movement accused the government of deliberately disconnecting the mobile phones of its most prominent members including Maher and the movement’s official spokesperson Mohamed Adel, to prevent them from communicating with protesters during the protests.

A video posted on Youtube shows Ghoneim being taken by plain clothed police officers to an undisclosed area during an anti-government protest in front of the Journalists’ Syndicate last week.

Many activists have been calling for Ghoneim to represent the anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square through twitter, in a bid to force security forces to release him.