John Greyson Egypt

Toronto filmmaker John Greyson still held in Egypt

Last Friday, local filmmaker John Greyson (director of Zero Patience, Lillies and Fig Trees) and London-based ER doctor Tarek Loubani were arrested in Cairo, Egypt. At present time, Egyptian authorities have not provided a reason for the ongoing detention of the two Canadians. According to a CBC News report, they are currently being held in Torah prison, which is located on the outskirts of Cairo. Currently, the Canadian Embassy in Cairo have contacted Loubani and Greyson in the Egyptian prison facility and are attempting to secure their immediate release.

Understanding the risks of traveling to a country in political upheaval didn't stop Greyson and Loubani from passing through Egypt. In fact, the final destination of their trip was to visit the emergency department of Gaza's largest hospital, Al Shifa Hospital. John Greyson was traveling to Gaza with Loubani in order to research an upcoming film to be set in Gaza. Both Loubani and Greyson are known for taking political risks.

In 2009, Greyson caused much controversy by pulling his film Covered (above) from TIFF over a Tel Aviv Spotlight, a peaceful act of protest that created the space for much needed dialogue and debate, divided many film critics, filmmakers and theorists. In one of his most recent videos (below), Greyson shows his support for Stevie Wonder pulling the plug on his concert for Israeli soldiers and urged Morgan Freeman and Jian Ghomeshi to the same.

As an activist artist, Greyson challenges us to ask questions about how to make the society we live in a better one. For more information about the status of Loubani and Greyson check out Justin Podur's blog, a website maintained by an associate professor at York University who is a mutual friend of the two and who has been the best information about the event since it happened.

Writing by Clint Enns


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