CAIRO: A group of student activists and alumni from the American University in Cairo (AUC) brought the solidarity campaign to campus yesterday in the form of t-shirts and a message.
The group is expected to distribute approximately 100 t-shirts to students with the insignia of “Free Droubi printed on the front.
“I want people to know that this is not just about Droubi, says Bassem Khalifa, alumni of AUC and an activist in his own right.
Ahmed El Droubi was arrested on April 24, during a solidarity demonstration in Cairo. He was detained in Tora prison along with other activists. For the third time since he has been imprisoned, Droubi, along with the other demonstrators arrested last month, have been given another 15-day extension to their prison term.
American and Egyptian students at AUC have continued to grow in their support of their friend and activist as he continues his third extension in prison.
Khalifa, like the other students swarming to Droubi’s cause, says that they hope this campaign will help Droubi as well as bring forward issues he wants people to know about.
“I hope people check out the blog [freedroubi.blogspot.com] and link to other issues that are important, he continues.
Khalifa and another student activist were stopped from entering AUC by the security personnel in front of the library yesterday afternoon, as the proper authorizations were yet to be given.
Turning away, the group headed for a nearby location where they could give the shirts away to people who supported the cause.
“This is probably how Droubi would have wanted things . not to be about him, but to get the message that he is supporting out to the people, Khalifa believes.
A few hours later, the call came in that they were given a pass to enter AUC’s campus with the t-shirts. A small victory in the campaign to free their friend and educate students.
This is the first time in recent months that AUC students have picked up the gavel in order to make their voices heard.
Today, there is a scheduled teach-in on campus at 11 a.m. organized by a group of professors and students to get a substantial amount of knowledge of the issues of the judiciary and struggles that are currently going on in Egypt.
“We want people to know what is going on with the judges, why they are important, Khalifa begins. “But we also want to give AUC students the opportunity to learn about what is going on in the country today.
The t-shirt idea was a joint endeavor by those running freedroubi.blogspot.com as well as current and former AUC students.
According to those involved, this is a campaign to educate. With their friend in prison and many students on campus not knowing the current political situation save for seeing a few protests in downtown Cairo and delays in getting to class, they feel it is their duty to share the message that Droubi has been trying to show the country over the past year. He has paid a price for his activism in his separation from family and friends for more than a month while being behind bars.
Thursday will be the one-year anniversary of “Black Wednesday, the day of the national referendum last year, which put into law the opportunity for opposition candidates to stand for the presidency. Opposition groups claim the referendum was full of fraud and was an excuse by the ruling government to continue a one-party rule.