Some bad news. Via e-mail: I have urgent news to report back to everyone . . . unfortunately it’s not good news.
Today I spoke with Kristen Coughlin Carr, the aunt of one of our dear GFMers, Shannon Hughes (who was staying at Select Hotel). She informed me that Shannon is missing in Egypt. It has been reported to the US embassy, and they have declared her ‘missing or abducted’ and described the situation as ‘dire’. Here’s the details she shared with me:
Shannon was last in Jerusalem. She was traveling with a friend. Her friend returned home to the US. Shannon had planned on being on a flight from Cairo to NY today, Friday January 22, 2010. She did not get on that flight.
Earlier this week, Shannon called home. She told her mother: “I need money, I can’t talk.” Her family sent her $200 US. That was in Taba, Egypt. She had planned on taking a bus from Taba back to Cairo to fly home. The next thing her family heard from her were a series of weird emails in which she said she was taking a cab to Dahab. Shannon began withdrawing money from her bank account in small increments in Taba, and the bank has her taking the last of the money from her account in Dahab.
Her family has contacted the US embassy in Egypt. The US embassy has declared Shannon missing or abducted after seeing the emails she sent. They were advised not to deposit any more money in her bank account and hope that she will soon call home for more. They have not heard from her in 3 days.
Kristen Coughlin Carr, her aunt, has asked that anyone who is still in Egypt, or who might know anyone still in Egypt, contact her via Facebook, by adding her as a friend. They are hoping that Facebook/Twitter will greatly increase the chances of finding her. She can be contacted directly through email email@example.com. I have attached a recent photo Kristen shared of Shannon. Please spread the word, especially to any media contacts in Egypt. The media was so good to us in Egypt, there is no reason why they wouldn’t help us now.
Our prayers are with Shannon and her family for her safe return home!
* * *
After a multi-pronged effort, we now hear that Shannon Hughes is on a plane (probably deported by either Israel or Egypt, although this is speculation) back to the United States. Good. From her aunt:
Thank you for following Shannon’s story. We don’t have many details now but we know she is safe, we know she did have issues with her visa/passport. Shannon is on her way home.
Our family would like to thank everyone who pulled together and took their personal time and energy in to seeing Shannon’s return. People who do not know Shannon printed pictures of her and walked the streets of Taba, Dahab, Cairo and Jerusalem for the last 3 days looking for her. Activists all over the US, Egypt, Israel and all over the world joined together to see her return.
Shannon traveled to Egypt and Israel on a mission for human rights, freedom for all and for peace. Our family hopes this small discomfort we have experienced the last few days will help open the eyes of the world to the inhumanity in Gaza specifically but also to any part of the world where people are experiencing oppression.
In peace, love and solidarity,
Kristen Coughlin Carr
Max Ajl blogs on climate change and Israel-Palestine at www.maxajl.com. He is one of the core organizers of the Gaza Freedom March. This article was first published in his blog Jewbonics on 23 January 2010; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.