Rizk’s abduction and interrogation is not an isolated incident. As the Times reports, others who have challenged the Egyptian government’s policies and its stance regarding Palestinians have also been targeted. According to the Times:
The crackdown on bloggers and Facebook dissidents has intensified over the last 18 months. The Egyptian government, skilled at using detention and intimidation to silence its opponents, charges that certain bloggers endanger national security. The cases of Rizk and the other Palestinian sympathizers expanded the Egyptian security forces’ battle in cyberspace from labor unrest, radical Islam and economic problems to the larger Arab-Israeli conflict.
Rizk was an occasional contributor to the God’s Politics blog, updated by Jim Wallis of Sojourners/Call to Renewal and friends. He wrote about life in Gaza and the plight of the Palestinians, including the murder of Gaza Christian bookseller Rami Ayyad.
Rizk’s is a story worth paying attention to. Over the next few days, hopefully we’ll hear more about what happened to him while he went missing. According to freephiliprizk.org, he’s now home safe with his family.
Rizk’s imprisonment was also the subject of a massive web-based awareness campaign that included Facebook, MySpace, Jaiku, and other sites. Should this kind of social network activism prove successful, perhaps it could help in the case of Lori Berenson, an American imprisoned in Peru for over 13 years. DisciplesWorld contributor Heidi Bright Parales wrote an update this week on Berenson’s situation, which was also the subject of a 2001 Disciples of Christ General Assembly resolution calling for her release.