Before a long day of e-mails from all over the Arab world, before an unremitting flood of calls –Yes, okay, five minutes, okay, let’s talk, okay, good, okay –and before scanning piles of newspapers, he opens his computer first thing in the morning and searches the websites of Al Jazeera and the BBC.
Then he goes through four or five of his favorite Egyptian bloggers’ sites. If he has more time, he will read more blogs. Then he will read al Destour and then al Masry al Youm and then al Ahram and maybe a few more Egyptian newspapers. If there is time.
Gamal Eid is busy. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information in Cairo is one of several human rights groups in the Arab world. But it is the only one that focuses on the freedom of expression and defending that freedom. So, Eid, an attorney, has different interests when he picks up the newspapers, or punches keys on his portable computer.
He wants to know about the law, about human rights, about civil society, about bloggers and anyone else who may become entangled when they speak out. The newspapers may give him some of the news.
“But the blogs give you the real life.”