“Einmal dachten sie, ich sei tot”

Elektroschocks, Schläge, Schlafentzug: Ein Amnesty-Bericht offenbart den Horror in syrischen Gefängnissen. Der syrische Journalist Mazen Darwish hat das selbst erlebt. Hier berichtet er auf Zeit Online (9. Februar 2017) von seinen Erlebnissen.

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“Die Gefängnisse sind intakt, die Folter geht weiter”

Tausende Tote durch Erhängen: Der Syrien-Experte von Amnesty International beschreibt die systematischen Hinrichtungen in einem syrischen Militärgefängnis. Hier ist unser Gespräch auf Zeit Online (7. Februar 2017) nachzulesen.

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Der Polizeistaat ist zurück

Das Militärregime in Ägypten ist so repressiv wie nie zuvor. Doch noch gibt es Widerstand. Mein Streifzug durch die ägyptische Zivilgesellschaft, sechs Jahre nach der Revolution, ist hier auf Zeit Online (28.12.2016) nachzulesen.

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“Vor Trump muss Sissi seine Diktatur nicht verstecken”

Überwacht, verfolgt, bestraft: Journalismus gilt unter Präsident Sissi als Verbrechen. Die Zivilgesellschaft ist zerstört, sagt der ägyptische Journalist Hossam Bahgat. Ich habe ihn in Kairo getroffen. Hier ist unser Gespräch auf Zeit Online (9.12.2016) nachzulesen.

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Trip to Cairo

In November I visited Cairo for one week. I mainly wanted to see my friends there but also wanted to understand how the situation is right now – one year after I left Egypt, which was home for me for almost three years.


At-Tahrir Square, Cairo, November 2016 ©Andrea Backhaus

It’s quite shocking to see how much the situation has worsened in this past year. The economic situation is a disaster: The Egyptian Pound has almost no value, the prices for daily products have doubled, many shops are nearly empty. Hospitals and drug stores run out of medication and equipment, there are hardly any imported products anymore, beggars are searching for food in the streets. At the same time the police state is in full control of the public sphere: cameras are controlling all the streets in Downtown Cairo, police men and soldiers are patrolling around Tahrir Square, civil police is present in every café and restaurant. Most of the cultural institution have been raided or shut down, most activists have moved to the outskirts of Cairo, the civil society has been smashed as never before. It’s a very sad state Egypt is in. But we shall not forget that there are still a lot of great people trying to fight for the goals of the revolution: social justice and freedom.

City of sounds

And although the situation in Egypt could hardly be any worse, it was, as always, sad to leave Cairo. When I close my eyes I see the golden light and hear the sounds of the bustling city: the honkings of the cars, the shouts of the garbage collectors, the miauing cats in the streets, the frequent calls for prayer. For me Cairo will always have the beauty and special familiarity that only places have which make you feel home.

More to follow soon!


The river Nile in Cairo, Egypt  ©Andrea Backhaus

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Dieser grenzenlose Hass

Ich habe in Jerusalem Dudi Mizrahi getroffen, der als wohl radikalster Hooligan Israels Hass und Gewalt gegen arabische Israelis und Palästinenser schürte – bis er ausstieg. Heute leitet er Friedensprojekte und kämpft gegen Rassismus. Er hat mir seine Geschichte erzählt, die hier auf Zeit Online (5.10.2016) nachzulesen ist.

In Jerusalem I met Dudi Mizrahi, formerly one of the most radical and brutal Hooligans in Israel. He used to whip hatred and prejudice against Arab Israelis and Palestinians – until he quit. Today he leads peace projects and fights against racism. He told me his story, which you can read here.

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Trip to Jerusalem

In September I visited Jerusalem. The last time I came here was in 2014, where I visited the “Hand in Hand School”. To wander through the holy city is always very special, as it reveals so many different layers.


The Old City in Jerusalem ©Andrea Backhaus

People you would meet in one day criss-crossing Jerusalem: Nir, the Jewish artist, who was ultra-orthodox until he realized he wants to live in a gay community, Aviv who was raised in an ultra-atheist family and who now runs projects which foster dialogue with the Jewish ultra-orthodox and the Muslim community, the secular Jew Itay, who, despite death treats, trys to strengthen the tradition of Secular Judaism, Mahmoud from East-Jerusalem who is doing peace projects within his Palestinian neighbourhood in order to raise awareness to deal with the occupation in a peaceful way, or Sarah, who is a lesbian ultra-orthodox Jew, fighting for LGBT rights together with local orthodox rabbis.

And finally you would run into a prayer house where Muslims, Jews and Christians are praying together under one roof and under the guidance of a Muslim Sufi Sheikh, an orthodox Rabbi, a female Coptic and a Franciscan priest.



@Emad Karim

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