Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Emails from Ellen in Egypt

In chronological order, here's what we've heard so far from Ellen:

Date: Thursday, June 4, 2009, 6:31 PM

Please forgive this "mass mailing," but I wanted each and all of you to hear our news.Report #1, Cairo, after landing, getting our affidavits, riiding the bus to & from the pyramids, a quick visit to the Egyptian Museum and almost figuring out the cell phone, etc. in weather that was over 100 degrees yesterday! 6/4... TODAY! After 2 CUPS of Egyptian coffee, Paki and I hooked up with Medea Benjamin and other CP ers to go to the Embassy to deliver Yussef's letter from Hamas to Obama. The place was in high intensity mode! TOP SECURITY!!! We then helped form the group of about 12 code pink members and friends who held banners and chanted, "No money for Israeli war crimes," and "Justice for Gaza" at the University of Cairo today. President Obama's motorcade drove past the protesters who stood for 5 hours in the Egyptian's midday sun. The crowd listened as we chanted and Medea Benjamin reported on her recent time in Gaza, from where she returned yeaterday..

Our protest was to remind President Obama to do what he can diplomatically to stop the suffering in Gaza. This includes cutting the funding to Israel for weapons which it uses in violation of International Law and to support justice for the Palestinian people.
The Egyptian and U.S. security was very much in evidence. There was intimidation of Egyptian activists who initially stood with us. They were not detained but certainly, they were not afforded the privilege of the 1st Amendment we exercise. I spoke with one woman this evening who expressed deepest appreciation for our presence (I thank you for your helping make this possible). The Egyptian authorities were initially heavy handed, but they backed down, allowing us to gather at the main entrance to Cairo University. It seems the President consequently entered through another entrance. Perhaps in keeping with the good will engendered by President Obama's visit, after about 4 hours in the midday sun the Egyptian authorities brought us water, juice and cookies. This sustained us to continue our protest as the crowds filed out of the hall following the speech. They seemed both bouyed by the visit of our President and supportive of our cries for just peace.
Tomorow we plan to leave for the border.
Love and Hugs to all .. Ellen

June 7 - Hi I am now in a little town called La laresch (in english).. but everything is in Arabic here as it was in Cairo..we are with in 10 miles of the border waiting for others to join us, before going tomorrow for our first try to cross..There are Chistian from Lisbon, Jock who is French, David from Italy Omar and Micheal fom England, Don from Ohio and Paki and I and we are being join by 10 others tomorrow from New Orleans... Many others are due in I hope inthe next 2 days..at that point we go.. Before we left Cairo Paki, Chistian and I had a wonderful 4 hour conversation with Nada... One of the leaders of the Kaferfa Student Organization.. She was with us at the University until the the government security made her leave and tried to arrest her.. The conversation was about everything.. which I will share when I get back.. The police in this little town are always with us and watching.

Later in day the day.....
I am using a computer at a net shop!! and the letters are all in Arabic!!(painted over the English) so anyway the place we stayed last night was too expensive,, There were police sitting in the lobby and standing around the desk .. We moved to some rooms in a house (friends of Nada) The
police asked the taxi driver where we had gone.. and now the police are sitting in the drive way..So for their safety we are moving back... I have been unable to get on the blog because it is Arabic.. But will try again,, Peace and Hugs... Ellen.

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