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Egyptian Authorities : In Defense of Laughter, in Solidarity with "street Children" group

Egyptian Authorities : In Defense of Laughter, in Solidarity with "street Children" group

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This petition has been created by campaign L. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
campaign L.
started this petition to
Egyptian Authorities
In defense of laughter, in solidarity with “Street Children” group

The fast deterioration of the political climate in Egypt, with
its chilling effect on freedom of expression, is most manifest in the recurrent persecution and arrest of avant-grade artists and writers, and is now even “targeting laughter”, with the arrest of members of the satirical group “Street Children” on Monday 9 May. They are accused of charges falling under terrorism law, in an attempt to make them “stop laughter”, with consequences on freedom of expression and creativity, in particular, and freedom of opinion in Egypt, in general. It is a message from the regime that says “shut up”, not even satire is allowed, or you will be accused of “trying to topple the regime”, a term used now more than ever in the public sphere, without a clear legal definition.

Most of the group members who are being detained for 15 days pending investigations, are in their 20s, with some of them waiting for awards ceremonies from their universities,and one of them with a spot waiting in a Theatre Festival in Paris. Instead,they were thrown behind bars, and are waiting for yet more retaliation just because they used their right to make people laugh.

The signatories of this statement demand the urgent and unconditional release of the “Street Children” group members, dropping all accusations against them, and request a free reign for freedom of opinion, imagination and satire. The signatories demand the most basic of everyday life human rights, the right to laugh, a prominent trait for Egyptians, sourly missed over the last few years, under pressure, intimidation and recurrent blanket statements on countering terrorism and maintaining security.

The Street Children performing group is formed of six “amateur” actors, who met through a workshop about “street theatre” (also known as “social theatre”). They performed in Cairo, in several poor areas, to take the theatre to the people who cannot afford to go to the theatre. One of them, a contemporary dancer and actor, holds a mobile phone to shoot a selfie video, where they sing and satirically
discuss social issues, like any similar performing group anywhere in the world.

They said about themselves, “we are young people working in theatre. We decided to shoot videos on the street, full of crazy ideas. You will find us everywhere, around you and among you. Even if your day is full of anxiety and pressure,
you will see that the street is also full of laughter”.

Signatures from Egypt:

Prof. Emad Abou Ghazy, Previous Minister of
Mohammed Anwar Al Sadat, Chairman of The Human Rights Commitee in The Egyptian Parlaman
Prof. Amr Al Shobaky, The Expert at Al Ahram Center for strategic & Political Studies
Prof. Mounir Megahed, Previous Chairman of
Atomic Energy Commission
Alaa Al Aswaany, Author
Khaled Abo El Naga, Actor
Mohammed Al Agaaty, Researcher & Politcal Writer
Prof. Hanan Sobeea, Head of Humanities Department
at AUC
Rageh Dawood, Musician & Composer
Rawia Sadek – Translator
Prof. Malak Roushdy, Professor of Humanities at
Said Mahmoud, Editor in Chief of Al Qahera
Mona Anis, Journalis & Translator
Karima Kamal, Writer & Journalist
Arab Lofty, Filmmaker
Amir Salem, lawyer & Human Rights Defender
Father S.G. William Sedhom, Jesuit Monk
Adel Wassily, Photographer
Rasha Abdel Monaem, Theatre Writer
Sherif Abdel Magid, Writer & Photographer
Prof. Hoda Lofty, Visual Artist & Professor
at AUC
Salaam Yousry, Theatre Director & Visual
Hesham Ibrahim Aslaan, Writer & Journalist
Ramy Samir, TV Director
Youssef Ramez, Journalist & Researcher
Sameh Samy, Journalist & Researcher
Ahmed Roushdy, Filmmaker
Hany El Metenawy, Theatre Director & Actor
Mahmoud Lotfy, D.O.P
Hala Al Kousy, Visual Artist & Filmmaker
Amman Abou Bakr, Graffiti Artist
Hassan Sharaawy, Cinema Critic
Mariam Abdel Rahman, Visual Artist
Ibrahim Saad, Visual Artist
Nada Rezq, Visual Artist & Filmmaker
Mostafa Wafy, Theatre Artist
Mohammed El Sweasy, Actor
Reham Ramzy, Researcher

Posted (Updated )