Monday, April 30, 2007

Sad.

I am very disappointed now. One of the blogs that I read regularly is finished. The Sandmonkey has decided to stop, for his own safety. There have been too many problems in Egypt with the State Security and the bloggers. Here's his good-bye post:

Done
Today is going to be the day that I've been dreading for quite sometime now. Today is the day I walk away from this blog. Done. Finished.
There are many reasons, each would take a post to list, and I just do not have the energy to list them. As anyone who has been reading this blog for the past month, I think it is apparent that things are not the same with me. There are reasons for that:
One of the chief reasons is the fact that there has been too much heat around me lately. I no longer believe that my anonymity is kept, especially with State Secuirty agents lurking around my street and asking questions about me since that day. I ignore that, the same way I ignored all the clicking noises that my phones started to exhibit all of a sudden, or the law suit filed by Judge Mourad on my friends, and instead grew bolder and more reckless at a time where everybody else started being more cautious. It took me a while to take note of the fear that has been gripping our little blogsphere and comprehend what it really means. The prospects for improvment, to put it slightly, look pretty grim. I was the model of caution, and believing in my invincipility by managing not to get arrested for the past 2 and a half years, I've grown reckless. Stupid Monkey. Stupid!
And speaking of the state of the egyptian blogsphere, it has been pretty depressing in its own right. One has to wonder at some point the futulity of being a keyboard warrior in a country where nothing seems to matter to its people anymore. At the same time, there has been those amongst us who have loved the fame and the attention, and are now becoming the egyptian blogsphere's equivelant of Paris Hilton: They are famous for being famous, peddling the same stories and not really presenting anything of value to the debate. And then there is the fact that we are entering the "Iconogrphy" phase : We are becoming Icons. Too much Media attention, too many american organizations claiming to champion our causes while they are cashing out in donation from people gullible enough to believe them, too much hype generated by us and others, so many of us tooting our own horns and even crying wolf at times has made Icons of us. We now have young bloggers who come up to many of us "Old Guard" and tell us how they are such great fans of ours, and how we are their role models and heroes and how they are starting to blog because of our "courageous example". And there are those of us who are buying into it, taking in undertsudies to placate our big heads, hooking up with groupies to feed our egos, acting as if we are the warriors for change we are made up to be and forgetting why we started blogging to begin with. It seems that we are entering a state of transformation, and we should either 1) evolve, take the next step whatever it is, 2) stay the way we are and risk becoming carricatures of ourselves or 3) quit. Not knowing what the next step is, and needing time and space to figure it out, I chose the only other option that made sense: I quit!
So here comes my apology to those of you who read me: I am sorry. I really can't continue to do this. You guys have been the best readers anyone could hope for, altough there are some of you who made me come close to shutting down the comments section many many times. I love you all for everything you have done for me, for all of the egyptian blogsphere. When I asked for your help, you gave us more than a helping hand. You cared. You gave a damn about a bunch of egyptians who had a dream to be free and stood by us in our houres of need. For that you are my heroes, and I can not possibly thank you enough.
May the day comes when I rant once again….
Love you all,
The Sandmonkey

And a news article that I found:

Egypt’s top blogger hangs up keyboard
One of Egypt’s most prominent political bloggers has decided to call it a day, citing harassment by security services as his main reason to quit. The Egypt-based blogger, known only as “Sandmonkey” - a derogatory term for people of Arab descent - posted his last entry on Saturday.
“One of the chief reasons (for quitting) is the fact that there has been too much heat around me lately,” he said. Sandmonkey - who describes himself as “extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian” — started posting two years ago and has since been one of the main animators of Egypt’s vibrant blogosphere.
The blog offered stinging commentary on the Islamisation of Egyptian society as well as virulent criticism of President Hosni Mubarak’s 26-year-old regime. Sandmonkey regularly reported on the arrests of political activists, police brutality and videos recently posted on the Internet of alleged vote-rigging in a referendum for constitutional amendments, which critics say curb civil liberties.
“I no longer believe that my anonymity is kept, especially with state security agents lurking around my street and asking questions about me, since that day,” he said, referring to anti-referendum protests last month in which he participated and several demonstrators were detained.
Egypt’s bloggers came to public attention during the political ferment surrounding elections in 2005 and have since been targeted by the regime, drawing international condemnation. In April, security forces detained blogger Abdel Moneim Mahmud for criticising the government’s human rights record.
In February, an Egyptian court sentenced blogger Abdel Karim Suleiman to four years in prison for insulting religion and defaming the president, a verdict condemned by rights groups as an attack on free speech. [7DAYS]

1 comment:

Cairogal said...

NO WAY! I'm shocked. Hadn't been over there in a while.