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July 24, 2005



this kind of terrorist attack holds perhaps the greatest dangers for democracy protestors. It gives the Mubarak regime any excuse it might need to crack down, while making dissent and anti-government protest seem unpatriotic.

My first thought (or maybe first coherent thought) upon hearing the news. Not that I think Mubarak had a hand in it - at all - but knowing how things go in Egypt, this will be a perfect pretext for terrible, unjust repression. If I were a journalist, a dissident lawyer or any other activist - or even go-along protester - I would be checking my passport and exit visa, or at the very least going to all my family connections in government to shore up my position.

But even family connections might not help - Sadat arrested the creme de la creme of Egyptian society in his crackdown on "Islamic militants", including the feminist beloved by Americans, Nawal As-Saadawy. She was abused terribly in 1980 (I think) just before Sadat's assassination. When I was in Cairo in 83, people still talked with horror of the numbers of intellectuals who were imprisoned and silenced. Many more just left the country for good. All in the name of repressing Islamic extremists, of course. (Most who I knew of were secularist, Westernized intellectuals)

And I'm sure Ben Laden and/or Ayman Al-Zawaihiri are quite aware of this and don't give a shit, because they want all those centrists cowed or disappeared, too.

I'm very, very sad about all of this.

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