Friday Prayers for Egypt: Travel Bans and Protest Law

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Who is free to come and go? Who is free to stay and protest? Who is authorized to define these rights? Who is permitted to defend them?

This week Asmaa Mahfouz, an original January 25 activist, was prevented from boarding a plane leaving Egypt. But Amr Hamzawi, an original liberal intellectual voice, had his travel ban lifted.

As recognizable names and faces, each has been accused of various offenses against the state in the effort of some to discredit the original revolution. Or, each has committed various offenses in the effort of some revolutionaries to discredit the original state.

Do Asmaa and Amr fall on different sides of this question? Both have certainly called for the right to protest, and engaged in the same.

And as pressure mounts on the government to amend the protest law – six political parties lent their weight – pressure mounts on the government despite it – pro-Morsi protests have ticked somewhat higher.

And within the mix, at least 26 army conscripts were killed as a car bomb hit their checkpoint in Sinai.

God, bring peace to Egypt. Establish a nation in which the right to protest exists with little reason to do so.

Establish a nation in which people are free to come and go, but far more want to come.

Establish a nation in which institutionalized authorities establish liberty, held accountable by a civil society with little to need to defend it.

God, bring Egypt through this phase of struggle and doubt, violence and conspiracy.

Weigh the cases of Asmaa, Amr, and all beside. Judge justly between them and the state.

But give vigilance and integrity to those on both sides of inverse principles. Order and stability, rights and freedoms – for both are social necessities.

Resolve the current conflicts, God. May the struggle be beneficial and all be worthy of respect.

May Egypt prove similarly worthy, God. Honor her among the nations. Honor her among her people.


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