No smoke without fire
Warning! This post is very old and may contain information or opinions that are no longer valid or embarrassing.
As a fresh university graduate. It is without a doubt censorship, lack of free speech and security interference exists and is sinking the whole academic fleet of public and private universities.
More than once, in the first two years. When I didn't know about the laws regulating the universities. I was prevented from entering the main campus of Ain Shams University with my medical school ID. And the security at the gate reply was that I have the medical school campus only for me to enter. When I was trying to get to the library. And almost every time I try to enter to get to the university library, bank or administration I get into a heated debate with the security as how they are not allowed to prevent me from entering.
And I have witnessed numerous times how candidates for the student union elections were hand picked and how it was a big game. And heared about all the Amn el Dawla profiling for those candidates.
Meanwhile, Amina Khairy of Daralhayat (and one of the first journalists to mention the Egyptian blogosphere.) gives us excellent example of the worst way to refute anything. She was trying to refute the HRW report about Academic conditions in Egyptian universities.
Please learn from her. This exactly how you shouldn't criticize a report of 107 pages made by field reporters. And probably took several months to write.
Here is my How to:
As soon as you know about a report from an organization you consider controversial. You click on the hyperlink and download the PDF report. Then you print the report with the office laser printer. You then read the report while holding a highlighting marker. Highlight some key phrases. Then place the report several meters away from you and starting quoting it, using a language that would imply a great distance between you and the report.
That's it, you don't get any material from outside the office to counter the claims of a report made by field reporters. And probably took several months to compile.
Well, actually, she did manage to do some more work than you would. She went to interview the exact person who mobilizes the security forces in the university and prevents students from running in union elections. Dr. Hamed Taher who was quoted in Al-Ahram weekly by saying this ironic and confounding statement:
"Simply, clearly and in all honesty, political activity at the university is permissible. What we reject," added Taha, "is the activity of political parties on campus".
He also blamed the opposition parties for asking for additions that would limit the candidates to the elections. Which would hamper the progress of the constitutional amendment.
In the end she managed to interview thousands of students, and tell us that they consider the report hyperbolic.