Transcript Of Interview With Philip Rizk

1) How would you define yourself as an activist?

I care for what is out of one's place; I try to expand my concept of self to include the other. I always do and will always fail; I am not sure if this makes me an activist.

2) It seems you have a striking web-presence on www.philiprizk.org. Are you aware of that? Do you feel that this website has helped your cause? Was it present before you got released? If yes, how did that content then differ from the content now?

This website was created while I was kidnapped, which I have opened maybe twice in my life. I think it was very vital during that [kidnapping] period to raise attention to my case. I think the entire online campaign played a huge role in putting pressure on the Egyptian authorities to release me quicker.

3) Who maintains the web-site, mentioned above? How do news-publications aid your cause, in print, and as they are published on the net?

I am not even sure who runs that website, they are more than one. I think a friend of a friend actually purchased the domain. It [website] however was so powerful during my abduction. So much happened sporadically all at once, in a very non-centralized manner, and this is what made its effect so powerful.
I have that much faith in media in general to change the status quo. In individual cases, I think it can raise attention to a particular case.. But day to day, I don't think it (media) really has much of an effect on broader conflicts.

4) Do you feel like your release was largely due to the intervention of people through the online community? Was the community largely of AUCian?

I think the online community played a role, but just as much as people getting on the street, staging protests all over the world. The AUC role was a part of this.

5) Were/Are you involved with pro-Gaza or Palestine clubs in AUC?

I never was a member of the Al-Quds club at AUC, but I was involved in their activities whenever I could be. I think they [Al-Quds club) play a very important role on a campus that is as isolated as AUC.

6) Can you talk a bit about your blog?

My blog used to focus completely on Gaza because that is where I lived and that is what I could offer for most people who couldn’t live there. Very recently I have started shifting my blog to more Egypt-related matters… But because I am busy writing a thesis that I am trying to adapt as a book, as well as, working on multiple video projects at the same time, it is hard to really keep up with everything I want to be doing.

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