Among the Human Rights Defenders speaking this morning is Saad Eddin Ibrahim of Egypt. (See his recent Washington Post op-ed Egypt’s Unchecked Repression.)  Summarizing:

What is a mass atrocity – 100?  !000?  Asking this becomes a way of delaying action, like the definition of terrorism.

A journey of 1000 miles starts with one step.  Mass atrocities usually start with single atrocities.  The immediate situation in Egypt – a country with a political regime that has been committing atrocities, singular ad mass, but skating under the radar screen.    Eqypt’s president has been in power 26 years, 3rd longest time of any leader of Egypt in thousands of years.  After Ramses II…

Arab rulers have learned art of survival, and corruption and putting a legitimate face on everything. For the sake of stability they get away literally with murder. 

I blew the whistle and ended up in prison for three years.  I got out of prison and my first appearance was at this forum in a previous session.  Now I am wanted again, so this could be my last public appearance.  Arrest warrants are waiting for me.  I am taking advantage of this great audience here to ask to be ready to intervene somehow on my behalf and my center’s behalf.  There is an arrest warrant when I arrive at the airport.

What did I blow the whistle on recently that earned me this notorious honor?  Journalist Reda Hilal disappeared 4 years ago.  Despite multiplicity of security agencies in Egypt, disappearance not solved.  Same with Libyan journalist, disappeared in Cairo, not solved.  Both were doing work looking at death squads.  Government has never revealed anything, disappearances forgotten.  There are hundreds of cases of disappearances not resolved. 

Now more recently two elected parliament members, nephews of Anwar Sadat, arrested on trumped up charges, put in prison.  On the anniversary of their uncle’s assassination in a military parade.  The military never had an investigation.  I was put in prison for asking why military never investigated.

I asked about these, put me on wrong side of Hosni Mubarak regime.

The Mubarak regime began a hate campaign against me in the state-controlled media.  I established an Arab Democracy Foundation.  I attended a human rights conference in Prague and was the only Egyptian.  president Bush dropped in.  Then US House suspends 200 Million from military aid to Egypt.  The Egyptian press blamed me for this, said I was conspiring to change the regime, and undermine national security.

So now arrest warrants wait for me, please be on alert in case I get thrown back in prison when I get back.