Austin Mackell is a freelance journalist, who moved to Egypt in February last year. His courageous journalism has sympathetically chronicled the Egyptian struggle for freedom. His writings have been featured in respected media outlets across the world, including The Guardian, Al-Akhbar, Crikey and newmatilda.
We write this as admirers of the Egyptian struggle for freedom. However, Mackell’s journalism is not just valuable in recording Egyptian bravery. It is also important, because of the West’s hand in oppressing Egyptians, and indeed, much of the Arab world. Mackell’s journalism reminds us of the unpleasant truths of Western foreign policy. The Arab world knows perfectly well the role we play there – it is us who need to learn about it. Mackell belongs to the small category of Western journalists who expose the kind of truths that too often remain uncovered in Western media.
In reporting sympathetically on the Egyptian struggle for freedom, Mackell has reported critically on the at times brutal suppression of protesters by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, currently ruling Egypt. We suspect it is for this reason that Mackell is currently under arrest, facing the absurd charge of inciting people to protest. The mere existence of such a charge shows the importance of continued solidarity with Egyptians in their struggle for their basic rights. It also shows the urgent need in Egypt of a free press, and the continuing need for close media scrutiny to ensure that Egyptians are able one day to speak freely and determine their own futures.
We demand/urge the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Austin Mackell, Derek Ludovici, and their translator, Aliya Alwi.