Plenty has been said all over the Internet, particularly the Arab blogosphere, with regards to the jailing of Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer for insulting Islam and the President of Egypt (I don’t know which offense is considered worse in Egypt nowadays). So there’s no need for me to launch into some ill conceived rhetoric on freeing a blogger.
Some people don’t care. I mean let’s face it; it’s just a blogger. You’ve never met him. Heck, you probably don’t even like what he says now that you know what he’s said.
I think most bloggers try and stay off the radar. Some live abroad and enjoy specific freedoms, which of course they never miss a moment to
write home blog about. Most will probably agree with the jailing of a writer who insults their religion. Religion is not merely an institutionalized doctrine; it forms the identity of millions of people who don’t react lightly to someone attacking who they are.
But see this isn’t about religion. This isn’t about Islam. This isn’t about Kareem Amer or Husni Mubarak for that fact. These are all variables. This is about cause and effect. Remove all the superficial details and you get a fundamental formula of a citizen met with state violence and persecution for speaking, for writing; words. It’s a formula whose variables are exchangeable and dispensable in the Arab world. A fundamental formula applicable all over the board.
You just fill in the blanks, but the cause and effect remain the same.
Some hope and pray that their country is a little better than the country next door. My answer to that is simply this: ALL Arab nations are in competition with each other over whom is worse when it comes to clamping down on freedom of speech and freedom of expression. They are All shades of black in direct competition with each other over who has a lighter shade, and from a bird’s eye view it is all darkness consuming darkness, consuming darkness.
The irony however is in the history, which all leaders seem doomed to ignore (and which I suspect most Arab leaders never got around to reading anyway).
Whenever silence was imposed on a people by their governments who wanted nothing more than to preserve their status quo, that silence only led to voices become louder and louder until the very thing those governments sought to preserve became eroded from the very core.
Whenever freedom was granted to a people and supported by their governments, the exact opposite happened. Those societies flourished and expanded well beyond their limitations.
Because this is the human race.
It doesn’t matter if your Christian or Muslim or Jewish. It doesn’t matter if you’re from the west or the east. White or Black or all shades in between. This has nothing to do with a specific civilization. This has everything to do with the human spirit which has never reacted well to having excessive limitations on it’s speech and expression.
It has never reacted well to violence.
But it seems these governments are adamant about their policies. Policies that destroy moderates and exasperate the extremists.
Policies that send a nation on a descending spiral and add deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
So I suppose, there’s something good to be said about such policies: when our governments start jailing us more frequently they will also be starting a chain reaction towards something they wanted to prevent in the first place.
Arab governments have a choice to make. This is the information age. An unprecedented population of Arabs who are all informed, all young, all rebellious, all critical, all impatient. Things flow quickly in the information age. Most of my generation isn’t as prepared as their forefathers were with incremental change that comes at the pace of a tortoise, if at all.
Arab governments have a choice to make.
And that’s all I have to say about that.