Friday, February 23, 2007

Blog like an Egyptian

The next time one of the liars who lead us claim that they are fighting the war on turr to defend our "values", remind yourself that shoulder to shoulder with us in that fight is Egypt.

Abdel Kareen Soliman is a blogger. He was a uni student until his uni expelled him. It expelled him for having a bit to say about his uni and about Hosni Mubarak, the hardman who runs Egypt. Standard stuff, you're thinking, the grist of blog mills the world over. Yes, but in Egypt, you get four years' chokey for it.

A couple of facts about Egypt: it's the kind of place in which the coppers can rape you with a stick, and you get punished for it --three months for resisting arrest (a novel method, to say the least, to use your arse to prevent the copper from giving you a righteous clobbering with his truncheon, as is Egyptian policemen's wont); it's also the kind of place the US thinks should be supported with $1.3 billion of military aid a year, and another $800 million of other aid.

Still, at least Mubarak believes in democracy. Hooray! Well, he has elections at least. Until recently, the choice was between Mubarak and Mubarak, with Mubarak winning, but sniffing the wind of change, he allowed others to stand against him last time. He didn't allow their votes to be counted, but hey, let's not quibble over the details.

Here's what I want. We do not prop up governments that imprison bloggers. We do not give torturers weapons. Go to these places and build roads: yes. Train people to maintain the roads: yes. Pay vicious crooks to keep the peace: no. But what I want is a mirage. The people who paid to put W in power do not care about human rights. They have no dollar value.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Sour Grapes said...

And unfortunately the market for torturers' weapons is a huge and very lucrative one.

In an interesting parallel, you may recall that it was vicious repression by the Egyptians that gave the first real impetus to the Muslim Brotherhood and the followers of Sayyid Qutb. So they're basically hated from both ends of the spectrum.

February 26, 2007 at 11:34 PM  

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