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Egypt, blogger sentenced to 3 years

he criticized the militaries

Photo by Filipe Ferreira

Photo by Filipe Ferreira

25 years old Maikel Nabil became the first prisoner of conscience in post-Mubarak Egypt for writing that the army which came on power after the ex dictartor is corrupted and keeps on with his repressive policies.

Several shadows are cast on hte Egyptian revolution. On Tahrir Square an American journalist was gang-raped by people shouting "Jew!". Female demonstrators have been submitted to "virginity tests". Now there is this case which according to Nabil's lawyer Adel Ramadan "represents a warning for all journalists, bloggers and human rights activists that their protest can lead them straight to military jail".

The Egyptian blogger is accused of insulting the military apparatus and spreading false information about the armed forces. The spokeswoman of the Mid-East and North-Africa branch of Human Rights Watch Leah Whitson said it is a "puzzling episode for a government in the post-Mubarak transition".

Egypt: Blogger's 3-year sentence a blow to free speech, Human Rights Watch, 11 April 2011

20 April 2011

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Freedom of expression

against blinkered thinking

Freedom of thought is usually the first of the fundamental rights of the human being to be targeted by authoritarian regimes, and this applies increasingly the closer it gets to the prototype of totalitarian society. Censorship muzzles the press and journalists are prevented from doing their job, 'till the point in which they are reduced to a mere mouthpiece of the state propaganda. Also the other free expressions of thought are under attack, no one is spared: intellectuals, writers, film directors... even figurative arts are under strict control. Repression heavily curbs all forms of individual sovereignty, such as above all opinions, personal ideas, which represent the worst threat for those who want to impose the "blinkered thought".
In fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, in maoist China and in the dictatorships of Latin America like in modern theocracies and new autocratic regimes, troublesome books were banned and even burnt on the squares, and the historian, scientists, scholars, artists who refused to line up were exiled or jailed.
Totalitarianism entered homes and imposed its grip within the family, which was dominated by the fear of being betrayed even by one's dearest ones. A mechanism of self-censorship thus started: in order to survive people preferred giving up not only expressing their views.. but even to conceive them. There was nothing left but settle for the doctrine expressed by the leaders on power.
Those who try to resist, to keep their own individual character and personal freedom, lose everything, but their independence, combined with the resistance of many other in the same conditions, undermines the very foundations of dictatorial regimes, until their collapse.

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