Thursday, May 11, 2006

Free Speech in Egypt (1978)

1978 Dry Bones cartoon - Free Speech in Egypt

In May 1978, Egyptian opposition to the search for peace with Israel led the Egyptian government to enact a law that branded "progressive" politicians and activists as "unbelievers" and "communists".
In the cartoon I showed Sadat as the Sphinx, raising his front paws to reveal Free Speech and then lowering his paws to snuff it out again.

I chose to show this Golden Oldie from 1978 because of what's happening to Free Speech in Egypt today. Let me explain.

For close to a year I've been regularly reading Egyptian and other Arab blogs. One of these brave, free, and informative blogs is called Egyptian SandMonkey.
But now the Egyptian government has moved against Egyptian bloggers in a clear attempt to squash Free Speech ...And to crush those bloggers who dare to speak freely. Below is a quote from SandMonkey's plea for help.

As you may have heard by now, Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fatah has been arrested alongside 10 others while demonstrating in support of the independence of the Judiciary in Egypt and the release of previous demonstrators who were detained 2 weeks earlier. The Police entrapped them, cordoning off their peaceful protest and then proceeded to handpick the demonstrators that they wanted to detain, beat them, and then arrested them.
Alaa and those arrested with him are now arrested for 15 days "pending investigation", which could be renewed indefinitely if the state so wishes. He and the men were sent to the infamous Torah Prison and the girls to the Qanatir prison for the duration. This makes them hardly safe, because stuff that goes on in Egyptian prisons on the hands of the jailors: beatings, sexual assaults, torture of all kinds.
A campaign is now being mounted to demand the release of Alaa and the others. Demonstrations, email campaigns, petitions, etc. It's being run out of a special Free Alaa site. These people need our help! ...And we need to help them.

Please click to Visit the Free Alaa Site.

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