“Flood the Jail with Mail”

March 26, 2008

Free Kareem and the Committee to Protect Bloggers have announced a joint mail campaign in support of arrested Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer.

From April 7 through April 21, both organizations are encouraging their readers to go analogue and write Kareem a letter or postcard.

There are several reasons for another analogue campaign, as I’ve pointed out in the post I wrote for Free Kareem:

First, we’ve organized demonstrations and public outreach events all over the world but nothing that targets Kareem directly. It is time for a campaign that focuses on him in personal way! He really enjoys letters and they make a difference to him, as he has stated before. Second, a sufficient amount of such mail will remind Egyptian authorities that Kareem, bloggers in general and prisoners of conscience over all, are not alone. Remember, when Kareem was being tortured several months ago, the focus of international media was instrumental in stopping it. And finally, this campaign means an opportunity for us to really do something directly for Kareem.

We have asked you to write to Kareem before, and by all means continue it! But now we are especially asking you to send him at least one letter between April 7 and April 21. During this period, let’s “flood the jail with mail”!

Below you find the address in English, followed by a picture of it in Arabic. It goes without saying that both versions (if you are writing from a non-Arabic country) must be on the mail to assure that it gets delivered.

Borg Al-Arab Prison
Room 1 Section 22
Prisoner Abdul Kareem Nabil Suleiman
The Arab Republic of Egypt

Kareem’s address in Arabic (mandatory to be included on the envelope)

Please also have a look at Alexandra Sandels’ article about this campaign at Menassat, which includes statements by both Free Kareem Founder Esra’a Al-Shafei and Egyptian blogger Wa7damasrya as well as some background information. The campaign has also been covered by Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb.

If you need more information about the “Flood the Jail with Mail” campaign, please feel free to contact the team of Free Kareem.


Rallies and Articles for Kareem Amer

February 17, 2008

Kareem AmerOn February 22, it’s the first anniversary of the jail sentence against Egyptian Kareem Amer ((Blogger for Freedom » Arrested bloggers: Kareem Amer)). Arrested since November 6, 2006 the blogger was sentenced to four years in prison for defaming Allah and President Mubarak. He shall not be forgotten: It’s time for new rallies.

Since his detention, Kareem has suffered in prison. He has been threatened, even tortured ((Free Kareem! » Kareem is being tortured in prison)) – and still says that “prison didn’t change him” ((Free Kareem! » Prison didn’t change me: Kareem Amer)).

The “Free Kareem” campaign ((Free Kareem!)) is for sure the most famous of numerous groups supporting arrested bloggers. Dozens of rallies have been held worldwide, attracting a high media attention on the young Egyptian’s case. To keep up the good work, they call for an “op-ed day” on February 22 as well as for another three rallies in support of Kareem.

“Op-ed” stands for opinion / editorial – and that’s the part of a paper we’re as many as possible articles on Kareem shall be published on February 22. The Free Kareem! group, lead by Esra’a Al-Shafei of Mideast Youth ((Mideast Youth – Thinking Ahead)), is trying to convince journalists and authors from all over the world of writing an article on Kareem Amer. But also bloggers are called for participation – every supportive word is needed.

But words are just one part of the protest: There will also be rallies in three different cities. In Washington D. C., London and Paris supporters of Kareem Amer will hold demonstrations for the freedom of the young Egyptian and, through that, the freedom of expression in Egypt and all over the world. They wont be the first and they hopefully wont be the last demonstrations for Kareem, continuing a long row of rallies in more than a dozen cities of the world.

What can I do

No matter where, you can publish an article on Kareem’s case. If it’s your blog, a student paper or an internationally published magazine – every single word counts.
You may also attend one of the three rallies held for Kareem Amer in Washington D.C., London and Paris.

RSF awards to Democratic Voice of Burma and Kareem Amer

December 8, 2007

Wednesday, Reporters without Borders presented the winners of their annual human rights awards ((rsf.org: The 16th Reporters Without Borders – Fondation de France prize awarded today in Paris)). Among those chosen by the jury were TV and radio station Democratic Voice of Burma and Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer.

Blog4BurmaDemocratic Voice of Burma ((Democratic Voice of Burma: Official site)) was awarded the prize in the category “media” mainly for their role on the failed “saffron” revolution at the end of September. The station was founded in 1992 by democratically-minded Burmese students who escaped the massacres of 1988. With growing success and more professional structures the DVB – based in Norway’s capital Oslo – soon became known as one of the few independent news channels available in Burma. Since 2005, satellite television broadcasts are being aired regularly. Together, DVB TV and radio reach millions of listeners with their program, being transmitted in Burmese and several local languages. It is the first and only free station in Burmese language ((Wikipedia: Democratic Voice of Burma)).

During the demonstrations and the following crackdown Democratic Voice of Burma was one of the most reliable sources on the topic, transmitting uncensored recordings submitted by underground correspondents. Together with bloggers like ko htike ((ko htike’s prosaic collection)) it was instrumental in attracting attention on the revolution, something what did not occur in 1988, when thousands were murdered by the junta.
The DVB’s work was and is marked by four primary goals:

  • the provision of “accurate and unbiased news to the people of Burma”
  • to “promote understanding and cooperation” among Myanmar’s religious and ethnic populations
  • to “encourage and sustain independent public opinion” and to provide for “social and political debate”
  • to “impart the ideals of democracy and human rights” to the Burmese people

Ideals, which were honored by being awarded the Reporters without Borders’ prize.

Free Kareem! Another prize winner is the Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer, who was awarded in the category “cyberdissident” ((FreeKareem!: Reporters Without Borders awards Kareem)). The 23 years old student, who was sentenced to prison because of insulting Islam and president Mubarak in February, mainly owes this to the “Free Kareem! Coalition” ((Free Kareem!)). Since Kareem became arrested in November 2006, they are working to attract international attention on his case.
As representative of Kareem, his lawyer traveled to Paris and got the prize, which includes 2500 €uros, in behalf of him. The money is a not to be underestimated help to the arrested, because he has been expelled from his family and depends on donations for his basic necessities.

The other prizewinners are Seyoum Tsehaye, an Eritrean journalist arrested since 2001, and the Journalistic Freedom Observatory from Iraq. Also, the Reporters without Borders awarded a special prize to husband-and-wife human rights team Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan. Both are currently under house arrest, but still doing their best to inform the world on human rights abuse in China, especially when dealing with next years Olympic Games in Beijing ((T-Shirt showing the Olympic rings as handcuffs, stating “Beijing 2008”)).