The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP), the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), and The Freedom Initiative (FI) were honored to have hosted an in-person panel discussion featuring Sanaa Seif on Friday, April 22nd. Sanaa presented insights from the book You Have Not Yet Been Defeated, written by her brother Alaa Abdel Fattah.
Alaa Abdel Fattah is widely regarded as one of Egypt’s most prominent intellectuals and a leading voice in the January 2011 revolution. Alaa has been arrested under each successive Egyptian presidency in his lifetime and spent eight of the last nine years wrongfully detained – solely because of his fight for a free, fair, and representative government in Egypt. Just last week, the Washington Post Editorial Board called for Alaa’s release.
Alaa’s book, You Have Not Yet Been Defeated, was published in the United States on April 19th and Sanaa went on a short book tour in the United States to raise awareness about her brother’s case and discuss conditions inside Egypt’s prisons. You Have Not Yet Been Defeated is a moving collection of Alaa’s speeches, essays, and letters, translated by a collective, which recount the spirit of revolution as well as the repression that has followed since.
Sanaa Seif is an Egyptian film editor, writer, and activist. She is also a former political prisoner who has been detained on three occasions; most recently, she was arrested in June 2020 and served a one and a half year sentence.
POMED Executive Director Stephen McInerney joined Sanaa to discuss these issues. Stephen joined POMED as its Advocacy Director in 2007 and became Executive Director in 2010. Prior to joining POMED, he spent six years living, working, and studying in the Middle East and North Africa – two years each in Egypt, Lebanon, and Qatar.
This conversation was moderated by Nadine Farid Johnson, who serves as PEN America’s Washington director. An attorney and advocate with a focus in democracy, human rights, and governance, she has a breadth of experience across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She is a former Foreign Service Officer whose work spanned the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and multilateral affairs.
Photos by photographer Amir Abdelmalek.