The cofounder of CODEPINK, the Women for Peace organization, Medea Benjamin, was detained against her will on Monday, March 3rd, at the Cairo, Egypt airport. She wasn’t permitted to enter the country even though all her papers were in order. Ms. Benjamin was trying to make her way to Gaza to celebrate on March 8th, “International Women’s Day,” with a delegation of 100 women from around the world, and to also mark a day of solidarity with the women/peoples of Gaza.
Instead of being permitted to travel to Gaza, she was first put into a holding area and later tossed into a cell. She spent a night in the cell with other female prisoners. Eventually, she was able to make contact with the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. But, before they could make it to the airport to assist her, five plain-clothed Egyptian security personnel came into jail, assaulted and injured her, put her in handcuffs, and forced her onto a plane headed to Istanbul, Turkey.
As a result of the abusive and harsh treatment by the Egyptians, the 61-years old, “a very petite” activist, sustained serious and painful injuries to her left shoulder. When she was on the airplane heading to Turkey, a doctor, fortunately, was able to treat her injuries. He put her left arm back into its socket and gave her medicine to relieve her intense pain. This interview took place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Friday afternoon, March 7th. Here is Medea Benjamin’s account of her traumatic ordeal in her own words. Keep in mind, the current Egyptian regime receives $1.5 billion in annual aid from the U.S. taxpayers.
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