Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Egyptian Blogs

I don't think anyone thought of Egypt as a place with freedom of speech, or even opinion. If you say something bad about the state, the politicians or the religion (Islam), you might be picked up by the police and thrown in jail without trial or even a reason.

Where do blogs fit into this picture? Easy. Write a blog, they will find you. If you write something they don't like, they will arrest you. The last in line was Rami Siyam, known on his blog as «Ayyoub».

He had, like many others the past months, focused on how women are treated in Egypt. Women abused on the streets during the evenings, without police doing anything about it. Commenting on this is apparently not a good idea if you live in Egypt.

In Egypt, blogging is much a political issue - it is one of very few ways you can express your real feelings about the government and the state. Or at least it was. According to Amnesty International, the blogs contained criticism of Islam and the governmental religious organization al-Azhar. Criticizing the religion or the government is not accepted in Egypt.

- The governments say the bloggers, among other things, disturb the peace and express religious hatred.

Now Egyptian bloggers are joining forces, criticizing the Egyptian state. Of course, demonstrations, as well as blogging, is not accepted. It's hard to change something you're not allowed to talk about. Many get arrested, thrown in jail without a trial or even a reason.

Lovely circle, ain't it?

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