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Amani Massoud
Outreach and Education Director
We're Civil Society, Hear Us Roar
12 December 2011
Twelve hours into the deadly attack by Central Security Forces on peaceful protesters on 19 November, Major General Mohsen al-Fangary, member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), indirectly implicated Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the current state of unrest. The interview, which was conducted by telephone with Al-Hayat satellite channel, abruptly went from his meeting with families of the revolution martyrs and the wounded to the representatives of CSOs he says were present during the meeting. Besides the fact that such references to civil society was out of context, Fangary urged viewers to reflect on their understanding of the supposed role of civil society. He then blatantly accused civil society of working "for the interest of the people." Guilty as charged, Mr. Major General? The esteemed member of the ruling military council expressed his deep shock at the realization that the concept of civil society as understood by those constituting it, was that they were there to "support the citizen" even if it meant opposing the government. Apparently he was misled, up until that moment, to believe that civil society was the government's unfaltering wingman.

The affinity of officials to blame civil society for all things gone wrong is not new in either pre- or post-revolution Egypt, and for good reason. First, repressive regimes,...
A Brief History of Field Hospitals in Tahrir Square
27 November 2011
Statement no. 84 by the Supreme Council of Military Forces on 24 November

announced the establishment of a military field hospital in Tahrir Square to provide medical assistance to protesters wounded as a result of state-induced violence. The step, which was both too late and unwelcomed by Tahrir protesters, came five days into the deadly attacks on protestors that left dozens killed and thousands wounded by central security and military forces.

Since Saturday, 19 November, more than 12 makeshift hospitals have been established in the square and floods of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals have swarmed in to offer their services. The swiftness and efficiency with which the hospitals are established and managed bears little resemblance to the make-shift hospitals characteristic of the initial uprising in January. Nine months of experience that followed the beginning of the revolution has made hard-core emergency medics out of young doctors. Alongside the field stations of the Arab Medical Union's...
On AIDS-activism, Stigma, and the Struggle for Change
26 June 2011
I wanted to write about Magid even before he became a star. At this moment I'll hardly be the first one to have written about him but at least now I can justify why I wanted to write about this young man from Alexandria other than simply having immense admiration and respect for his character.

I met Magid almost a year ago when we started working together through a civil society coalition, the Forum to Fight Stigma and Discrimination Against People Living with HIV/AIDS, of which our respective organizations are members. Magid is a 31 year old Egyptian man living with HIV. Now typically in most Arab countries that doesn't make for a star. People living with HIV/AIDS in Egypt have long been shun from society and harshly discriminated against. So bad was the stigma that never has anyone living with HIV been able to make a public appearance announcing their status. Which is precisely what makes Magid now a star.

Only a few weeks ago Magid stood up at a podium in front of a room packed with press and journalists and publicly spoke of the burden of carrying a virus not-as-deadly-as- the-world -originally-thought and begged the audience to take a moment to reflect on the myths and misconceptions that surround it. The press conference was organized by the Forum which brings together 14 different organizations that work on issues related to HIV/...
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights encourages freedom of information.

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