This Sunday I’d like to shout out to bloggers across the world.
Little has been said over the arrest on Washington’s birthday in Egypt where an Egyptian blogger Abdul Karim Suleiman was sentenced to four years in prison for messages posted on his personal website. Suleiman, who blogs under the name Kareem Amer, was a student at Cairo’s al-Azhar University when he posted comments deemed by Egyptian authorities as blaspheming Islam, inciting sedition, and insulting President Hosni Mubarak. Here’s his blog (in Arabic)
Now how many blogs out there criticize President G.W.Bush? A simple Google search lasting .10 seconds shows over a million sites have the words “anti-bush”. Freedom of speech is more than a luxury, it’s a privilege that other bloggers don’t have. Blogging freely would seem like a benchmark for progress and a given among all democracies and republics… right?
Looking at the newly liberated and democratized Iraq, there are 241 blogs with 128 of them active according to Iraq Blog Count. That’s awesome! According to the Suleiman article, Iran has more than 75,000 bloggers posting on the internet. So what’s Egypt’s hang-up? Why is Abdul being penalized in (last I checked) a republic based on English Common Law? Perhaps there is more to it then the media tells us.
What we know thus far is that the war on Terrorism is primarily ideological. A group of people who are acting under a self-serving religious authority want total control are fighting another group (that’s us) who want Group A to fail. Who’s left out? The people in the middle or “non-combatants”. If it is true that the war is ideological, then it is a war of ideas, not of physical power or endurance. The fight should evolve to open up the public sphere and let all people express what themselves.
On the T.V. all I see is politicians tell me what the Terrorists are thinking and they’re going to do if we pull out like they’re the experts! I highly doubt they have interviewed and polled thousands of terrorists, or freedom fighters, or even citizens in Damascus (Syria), Tehran (Iran), Basra (S.Iraq), or Mosul (N.Iraq). In fact, where are these Iraqi’s we hear about? Why aren’t they on T.V. talking to Brian Williams and Tim Russart?
Truth is occupation, historically, has always been looked at negatively and left scars on societies for generations. Look at Japan after WWII, the scars are still there after 60 yrs. It’s time that we step back and listen, and if we can’t here anything then we need to work towards getting some noise out there to listen too. This means letting the debate happen over Arab & Persian radios, T.V.’s, and Blogs.
In Egypt, on Feb. 22nd, the noise went silent! Abdul is getting penalized, by a Republic America supports, for expressing his opinions about Islam and the government, for making some noise! and America and our congress are not going to condemn it or even acknowledge it?! What kind of pick-and-choose policy are we supporting here?
We’re bogged down into trying to “address the issue”… what’s the issue? The issue is not the troops redeployment, or the terrorists, or Iran, or the billions of “domino theories” and “slippery slope” arguments about withdrawing; The issue is freedom. With so much power and influence… we should fight to keep Abdul out of prison, we should fight to make Arab & Persian bloggers, and bloggers world wide, free to express themselves without the fear of being arrested and put in prison. We should fight the good fight for what Superman fought hard for: