(UPDATE: Arrested, then Released) Cairo Exclusive: Interview with 'Sandmonkey'

(UPDATE: The Guardian is reporting that Sandmonkey has been arrested, a contact reports that he was subsequently released. His blog is currently down. Look for updates at The Tatler.)

"Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled. sandmonkey."

The man who wrote those words -- the witty and courageous Egyptian blogger "Sandmonkey" -- is currently in hiding in his native city of Cairo, moving from one friend's apartment to another, as supporters of Hosni Mubarak pursue him and other democracy demonstrators.

I had been trying to reach "Sandmonkey" -- who has written for Pajamas Media -- ever since the demonstrations broke out, because I suspected he would be in the thick of things. But as most know, the Internet was cut in Egypt until Wednesday.

When I finally got through to him late Wednesday night Pacific time, I discovered that, boy, were my suppositions ever correct. "Sandmonkey" was indeed in the thick of things and his on-the-ground observations that I recorded in this Skype audio-only interview were in many ways surprising and contradicted what we are hearing in our media:

[blip.tv ?posts_id=4734986&dest=-1]

  • To download an MP3 of this interview to your PC, Click here to listen to this 20 mb file.
  • For a 2.5 mb lo-res MP3, click here.
  • For a streaming audio-only version of the interview click here (takes you away from this page).

  • Some of things that you will hear in more detail in the interview are reassuring, but others decidedly not. On the reassuring side, "Sandmonkey" says the the Muslim Brotherhood is not a heavy presence at the demonstrations and that for the last four years they have been in a weakened position in Egypt, the least powerful of five Islamic organizations (although the most violent).