Thursday, 22 February 2007

The Thought Police Cometh

First Google bowed to Chinese pressure for censorship. Now 'internet policing' has been taken to a whole new level. Egypt - famed for its moderate response to reformers such as Ayman Nour, leader of the liberal opposition, who was imprisoned on trumped-up charges - has become one of the first nations to sentence a blogger. In this case, the unfortunate Abdel Kareem Soliman, aged only 22, who has been given four years in jail for denigrating Islam and one for insulting President Mubarak. I can see the value in anonymity myself...

To express your disgust at his treatment why not try writing to one of your major newspapers or your country's Egyptian ambassador. As Adam B says on the Sandmonkey's blog, 'I think I’ll author a nice little acidic letter to one of our major newspapers… Not much in itself, but if enough people follow suit, it might amount to a nasty slap in the face of the egyptian government around the western world - not a pleasant thought for a culture obsessed with keeping a straight face…! '

Right On!! And lest we forget, I'll leave you with the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller -

'First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for meand there was no one left to speak out for me.'

Freedom of speech is a right, but one that is too easily taken away.

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