Top Ten Reasons to Write for Rights

Fall is my favorite time of year: the air is cooler, the leaves are pretty, Amnesty International student groups are back together again, and people start signing up for the Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon.

In this—the world’s largest human rights event—we use letters, cards and more to demand the human rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled. We show solidarity with those suffering abuses and work to improve people’s lives.

Those are some pretty amazing reasons to participate, but in case you need more, here are my top ten reasons to Write for Rights: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Letters of Support Gave Me Strength While in an Egyptian Prison

Musaad Abu Fagr was nursing his daughter Ranad when he was arrested © Amnesty International

To raise awareness of December’s Write for Rights global writeathon, former prisoner of conscience Musaad Abu Fagr tells how letters lifted his spirits while in detention

The struggle of the Bedouins in Sinai to demand their rights started on 25 April 2007, with a continuous series of sit-ins, demonstrations, and conferences. In this context, the Bedouins agreed to a protest on 1 January 2008.

I wrote a report about the protest on my blog and announced my intention to participate in it. On the night of 26 December 2007, less than six days before the date of the protest, Ranad had a high temperature, and my wife and I were making cold water dressings for her. We have always tried to use traditional methods of treatment and avoid anything chemical as much as possible.

I forgot to say, Ranad is our daughter. She was three years old at the time. We spent a long time looking for a name for her. We had two conditions: that the name does not relate to any culture, and that it can be written in all the languages we know without changing a single letter. The name is derived from the rand, a small, sweet-smelling tree that sprouts in the desert. Our ancestors, Bedouins in Sinai for more than 2000 years, made wreaths from it and put them on the heads of their horsemen.

Ranad succumbed to sleep, and at about two in the morning, I heard violent banging at the door. I opened it and dozens of plain clothes security officers stormed into the house.


Matching Gift Challenge Ends Thursday – Don't Miss Out!

“As long as injustice and inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest. We must become stronger still.” – Nelson Mandela

We are shifting into overdrive!

The membership drive is coming to an end, and we’re close to meeting our new $300,000 matching gift challenge, but we haven’t crossed the finish line yet!

We need to raise $94,570 by Thursday or we’ll lose the opportunity to double our funding to $600,000.

I know you won’t let that happen – you are Amnesty. Together we are the defenders of humanity, and we have work to do.

Please donate today – no later than Thursday – to help Amnesty secure a $300,000 matching gift.

More than 13,150 donors have risen to our September challenge, inspired by Amnesty’s successes and moved by an unwavering devotion to human rights.

I am humbled by this tremendous response, and I know the dissidents and human rights activists for whom we advocate are profoundly grateful for your support.

When political prisoner Yusak Pakage was released in July, he thanked you for his freedom. He spent almost six harrowing years in an Indonesian prison for waving a flag.

When Egyptian novelist Musaad Abu Fagr was released this summer, he thanked you for your letters. A featured case in our 2009 Global Write-a-thon, Musaad was detained for speaking out against the demolition of thousands of homes in the Sinai Peninsula.

For the unjustly imprisoned, we must light the candle still.

Facing execution despite significant and persistent doubts about his guilt, Troy Davis is alive today because of your letters and phone calls. In a devastating blow to his case, a federal court recently denied his petition for relief.

As long as there is hope, we will continue to fight for Troy Davis.

Honor their sacrifices. Make your commitment to human rights today with a gift to Amnesty.

Never doubt how powerful you can be when you join your light with ours. Thank you for all you do.

My husband's place is not in prison

egypt-blog-300This post was written by Shaimaa, the wife of Write-a-thon case, Musaad Suliman Hassan Hussein (known by his pen name Musaad Abu Fagr), who has been in administrative detention in Egypt since February 2008.

Two years have passed since my husband Musaad Abu Fagr was arrested. For my daughter Ranad and I, every day that passes feels like 10 years.

Ranad was three years old when my husband was arrested. She used to sleep after he kissed her goodnight and wake up after a kiss from him. He used to drive her to school every day.

Ranad is now five years old. Even though I try to play this role as her mother, Ranad misses her father’s presence in her life. What hurts me is that her father used to do a lot of things for her; he used to play with her and take her to the playground or the sports club.

She always repeats his words, and when she goes to bed, Ranad sends kisses to her father and when she wakes up she asks: “Did Musaad get my kisses?”

Everything she does proves how much she misses her father. When we go to visit Musaad in prison, she does not leave his lap. She touches his face with her little hands, looks at him and asks: “When will you come back with us?”

This question hurts me and her father a lot because she is a child entitled to enjoy having both her parents with her. She wishes that her father is always with her, just like her friends. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Write-a-Thon Series: Musaad Abu Fagr

This posting is part of our Write-a-Thon Cases Series. For more information visit

© AI         Musaad Abu Fagr

© AI Musaad Abu Fagr

A State of Emergency has existed in Egypt since 1981 following the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, but these days the greatest emergency in Egypt is the state of civil society.  Writers, scholars, intellectuals, political opponents and a range of non-governmental organizations are all under attack by the government.

But novelist Musaad Suliman Hassan Hussein, known by his pen name Musaad Abu Fagr, refuses to be muzzled. His courage in face of government oppression offers American activists an answer as to how to promote human rights in the Middle East at a time of declining American influence.

Musaad Abu Fagr was arrested in December 2007 following demonstrations in Sinai against government plans to demolish thousands of homes near the border with the Gaza Strip. A movement founded by Musaad Abu Fagr and other political activists in Sinai, Wedna Na’ish (We Want to Live), led the demonstrations. He was accused of “inciting others to protest,” “resisting the authorities,” and “assaulting public officers during the exercise of their duties.” During the July and December 2007 demonstrations, several thousand protesters clashed with the security forces.