The writers’ revolution

September 11th, 2012

Egyptian intellectuals and leftists have been staging demonstrations to press for protecting rights and freedoms – Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Ahmed Morsy, 6 – 12 September 2012.

Over 5,000 protesters staged a demonstration at downtown Cairo’s Talaat Harb Square on Friday evening to press for five demands and against the Brotherhoodisation or Muslim Brotherhood domination of state institutions. The protest, which toured the streets downtown for several hours, included leftist parties such as Al-Tagammu, the Egyptian Socialist Party, the Kifaya movement and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party as well as revolutionary socialists and activists.  

On Sunday, 200 Egyptian writers and intellectuals gathered outside the Shura Council in downtown Cairo demanding “a civil constitution”, and stressing that the country’s draft constitution must guarantee civil freedoms and represent Egypt’s broad diversity. The protest was planned mainly by the “Constitution for All Egyptians” campaign and the National Committee for Defending Freedom of Expression and Creativity, which both consist of intellectuals, writers and artists.

“The demonstration is supported by the Writers Union of Egypt, the Egyptian Creativity Front, Egypt’s Society of Writers, and the Press Syndicate, along with the country’s acting and film associations,” Yehia Qallash, spokesman of the National Committee for Defending Freedom of Expression and Creativity, said during Sunday’s protest. “Today’s protesters express fears and concerns regarding the public freedoms in the constitution currently being drafted, especially freedom of expression and creativity” … //

… Assurances that the constitution will guarantee freedoms for all and will sustain the civil identity of the country were lately announced by the spokesperson of the constitution writing assembly, Wahid Abdel-Meguid. In addition, he emphasised that there is a strong tendency towards offering a constitutional guarantee for the preservation of economic and social rights.

Asked why there is no trust in response to such assurances, former chairman of the Press Syndicate, member of the Supreme Press Council and columnist Galal Aref said, “there is a dispute within the assembly and therefore the assurances are not guaranteed. We have to
exercise pressure to have equilibrium in the coming constitution. There is no democracy without freedom of thought” … //

… For his part, Shokr emphasised that “this isn’t a continuation of the 24 August protests and we as revolutionaries do not mix our cards. The latter was called for by elements that had supported former presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafik who only took to the streets to protest against the Brotherhood. They have allied themselves with SCAF.”
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