Now Where’s That Paddle? (BUMPED and UPDATED)


Look into the face of ignorant naive fear. These American students were arrested in Cairo, Egypt in Tahrir Square for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at Egyptian security forces as Egypt continues its slide into whatever the hell it ends up being.

Three Americans studying at the American University in Cairo have been arrested and accused of participating in the violent demonstrations that are sweeping this capital city.

The protests, now in their fourth day, are posing the greatest threat to Egypt’s military leaders since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak last February, and could jeopardize parliamentary elections scheduled for Monday.

A video broadcast on state television showed the three Americans lined up against a wall, with identification cards from the American University in Cairo, credit cards and an Indiana driver’s license spread out on a table.

A spokeswoman for the American University in Cairo identified the detained students as Derrik Sweeney, 19, a student at Georgetown University who is from Jefferson City, Mo.; Luke Gates, 21, an exchange student from Bloomington, Indiana who attends Indiana University; and Gregory Porter, 19, of Glenside, Pa., and Drexel University.

The state television broadcast said the three are accused of throwing flaming canisters at Egyptian security forces, part of what Egypt’s military generals are calling foreign efforts to stir the anti-government protests. American University in Cairo President Lisa Anderson said the university is working closely with the U.S. Embassy to free them.

“The three boys were throwing molotov cocktails and had no passports on them when they were picked up,” Adel Saeed, a spokesman for Egypt’s general prosecutor’s office, told CNN.

Derrik Sweeney was an intern for Republican Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of MO’s 9th District according to his Facebook page. That doesn’t mean he’s a conservative necessarily, but he doesn’t seem the Occupy type from a cursory glance at his FB page (not determinative I know).

I don’t know if these guys were in the wrong place at the wrong time, nosing around where they shouldn’t have been or drank the “Arab Spring” Kool-aid, but they are in a peck of trouble. I always tell students when they head overseas that if they listen closely as soon as they leave U.S. territory they can hear a slight rattling sound and that is the U.S. Constitution rolling up like a window shade.

I hope for their sake and the sake of their friends and family they were innocently in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught in the general sweep that often happens at these things. Foreign protests are not tourist attractions and Egyptian justice is rough justice — and despite what one hears from American Occupiers and their media enablers — a facial of pepper spray is pretty damn tame compared to what these boys might encounter — if they haven’t already.

If they were there under some naive Occupy sentiment, then God help them because the government — such as it is — might not be so inclined to let them go.

UPDATE (11/24): According to this report from FOXNews these three have been and/or are about to be released.

18 comments to Now Where’s That Paddle? (BUMPED and UPDATED)

  • Mighty Skip

    I guess there are a couple of possibilities. The incoming Egyptian Islamic Regime (in whatever form it takes) is none too happy with Americans. This could be part of a propaganda effort during a general sweep. Wrong place wrong time guys.

    Then again, these guys are kids. Some hottie promises a little somethin-somethin’ if they show their anarchy credentials. Come on! It’s college and everybody is doing it! Not to mention the constant drumbeat from Progressives to join the fight! Doesn’t really matter what the fight exactly is, just fight and we Progressive masters will figure out the rest. Even if they believe they are conservative or Republican the ideological tilt of campuses is so far left it impedes any rational questioning of the belief system.

  • kishke

    They’re lucky they weren’t shot.

  • Rufus

    Why would you be a foreign exchange student in Egypt right now?! This doesn’t seem to be the first time they’ve failed to exercise sound judgement.

    Floyd, your point about the Constitution is well said. I really enjoy traveling abroad but that’s always in the back of my mind.

  • JimmyC

    “I don’t know what happened, man. It looked like there was some kinda rave going on, they told us to come down and join ’em, that there would be cocktails, and things just got weird.”

  • Tink in Cali

    This will be another horrible lesson learned, if they make it out anytime soon and in one piece. When will Americans get it through their heads that foreign governments/laws are not to be trifled with?

    • JimmyC

      Most Americans understand that. It’s young, dumb college kids that don’t. Walk into any youth hostel in Europe and you’ll find a dozen punks who could be the next Billy Hayes or Schapelle Corby, but people over 30 have traveled enough (and grown up enough) that they know to keep their noses clean.

      • Tink in Cali

        That is true. I shouldn’t have painted everyone with the bonehead brush.

      • and journalists working for Al Gore. All the hubbub over those women “trapped” in a North Korean prison. What did you expect? We’re the only country in the world that refuses to police its own borders. Not even North Korea is that stupid.

  • I’d like to think I’d stay out of trouble spots, but further evidence for me to visit all the US states before considering a trip overseas.

  • kishke

    When my kids were studying in Israel, I wouldn’t let them take any flight that stopped over in Turkey or Ukraine or the like, even though they were sometimes hundreds of dollars cheaper. Only Western democracies.

  • -fritz-

    If the Egyptian cops posed this shot, either they or the boys, or both are pretty ignorant. Molotovs only work if glass bottles are used. Plastic water bottles won’t break and spread the firey mess effectively. Don’t ask how I know since I’ve never tried it, but simple logic will tell you that a nearly impervious plastic bottle isn’t going to rupture on any kind of impact.

  • kishke

    They were all brave when tweeting about charging and retreating, and hoping they die there. Once they were caught, not so brave.

    One of these idiots tweeted asking whether he could renounce his US citizenship on Twitter. How much you wanna bet his first call from the police station was to the US embassy?

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