My views, observations, questions about everything in this world ....and that country they call Egypt.

24 January 2007

But Someone's Listening In

There’s an Egyptian blogger who is being accused of “insulting the president”, “inciting sedition”, “disrespect of religions”, and "harming national unity". More information can be found in found on Freedom For Egyptians' post. Karim Amer's blog is in Arabic. I’m sure this news makes Egyptian bloggers a little uneasy. That’s the whole point isn’t it? To make bloggers think twice before hitting that publish button. It does make me a little uneasy. And it makes me sad knowing that Egypt is still that far behind on human rights.

We have no choice but to voice our opinions anyway, regardless of whether or not it is well received with those who have power. If this news makes us bloggers resort to self-censorship then there is no point in writing. Whatever your opinion is, speak it! If my opinion insults the president, so be it. If it incites sedition, so be it. If it disrespects religions, so be it. If it harms national unity, so be it. I just promise that it won’t be baseless. The difference between saying “you are stupid” and “it was stupid to make this decision, because…” is never very fine. But I promise to be more on the latter’s side than the first.

The concept of free speech, on certain topics, seems to be non-existent in Egypt. Freedom of speech is constantly challenged by the government, the Muslim Brotherhood, or the people themselves. You can ask Abdelwahab about how his last masterpiece, Men Gheir Leh, was banned for its lyrics. You can ask Mahfuz about his novel Children of the Alley. You can ask Farag Foda. Now it looks like the Egyptian blogger Karim Amer is being accused of speaking his mind on religion, the government, and minorities, which are no-nos in this country.

I was not very familiar with what Karim wrote before I heard of this news. I read his last post before he was detained, and I have to say it’s very powerful. I have respect for anyone who speaks their mind when the price could be as high as their life. That is what separates heroes from bloggers like you and me. How far are you willing to take what you believe in? Fortunately, you don’t have to pay such a high price for saying your opinion; publishing your opinions on an anonymous blog should be safe.

It is very important that Karim does not spend the next 9 years of his life in jail because he exercised basic human rights; to think, question, and speak. One thing that we can do is get this some media attention. If you can think of ways to do this, why not take it to action? It won’t cost you much, but could mean a lot to a brave man.


Anonymous ratherdashing said...

For those interested in more detail, here are a few more links to Kareem Amer's story :
lgf: Egyptian Blogger Expelled from Al-Azhar
abdelkareem nabil soliman - modren disscussion
Blogger: User Profile: kareem amer
Free Kareem!
Free Kareem Amer! - Opinion
YouTube - Interview part 2 Abdelkareem
YouTube - Interview with Abdel Kareem Nabil Soliman

5:38 AM

Blogger Will E. said...

If millions start saying the same thing, they can't arrest them all can they?

This feels like a book, the thought police..

I don't know what a right is anymore.. Luckily I can say whatever I want on my blog without triggering any attention..

3:07 AM

Anonymous xodar said...

A certain amount of fear will keep people from just writing nonsense to entertain themselves.
We've got much of that in the US, where people resort to conspiracy theories because they actually have little to fear from the government.
So many people can't deal with freedom and seem to want someone to curtail it so they can have the structure and meaning they are too idiotic to create for themselves.
Of course, I don't want people punished for expressing their opinions -- but I have self-discipline, am reasonable, and rational.

10:35 PM

Blogger HalalHippie said...

It's an uphill struggle, but it won't be in vain. You just have to be a little braver than the rest.

Good to know there are Egyptians like you.

1:25 AM


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