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Egypt

Egypt: Metaphysical Walls After State Abduction Of Our Friend

Alaa was taken away by the Egyptian state. Mohamed al-Baqer, a human rights lawyer, was also detained when he showed up to attend Alaa’s interrogation.

You may not make it up. You may never come down.
You may not make it up. You may never come down.
Sarah Rifky and Lina Attalah

CAIRO — On Sunday morning, our friend, the ghost of spring past, was abducted. For the past six months, Alaa has emerged every morning at 6:01 am outside of the Dokki police station, where he spends 12 hours every night. These are the terms of his 60-month probation. Today, he would have successfully completed 10 percent of it. Alaa, a techie, activist, father and writer, has been in prison for five years. In another four, Alaa will have spent the entirety of his thirties locked up, serving his sentences, full and part-time. By 2024, it will have been 10 years since he was convicted of breaking the protest law.

Alaa was taken to State Security Prosecution. Mohamed al-Baqer, a human rights lawyer, was also detained when he showed up to attend Alaa's interrogation. They were both assigned to Case 1356/2019. After hours of waiting, a rushed session concluded with a list of four charges, none of which have been formally confirmed. Despite attempts to report on the case quickly and accurately, what we know is what we are told, and we retell. Through relays of words from lawyers and family, we believe the charges are ones commonly fabricated by the authorities: "joining an illegal organization" and "receiving foreign funding" through said organization, "spreading false news' and doing so by "misusing social media." Both Alaa and Mohamed are being held for 15 days in remand detention. Following the interrogation by prosecutors, they were relocated. Their whereabouts remain unknown today. Families of both men are out looking for them.

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Society

Return To Clay: Why An Ancient Building Material Is Back In Fashion

Concrete and glass are often thought of as the only building materials of modern architecture. But Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African winner of a prestigious Pritzker architecture prize, works with clay, whose sustainability is not the only benefit.

Francis Diébédo Kéré extended the primary school in the village of Gando, Burkina Faso

Clara Le Fort

"Clay is fascinating. It has this unique grain and is both beautiful and soft. It soothes; it contributes to well-being..."

Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize last March, is paying tribute to clay. It's a material that he adores, which has too often been shunned and attributed to modest constructions and peasant houses. Diébédo Kéré has always wanted to celebrate "earthen architecture”: buildings made out of clay. It's a technique that has been used for at least 10,000 years, which draws on this telluric element, known as dried mud, beaten earth, rammed earth, cob or adobe.

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