April Fool: Egyptian Gov’t Affirms the Right of Its Citizens to Free Speech
|Tuesday, April 1,2008 16:19|
|By Khaled Salam|
An old Chinese Proverb says “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”, however, the Egyptian government has been fooling a whole country for over half a century, so shame on us.
On April 1, during a meeting of the Defense and National Security Committee in the Egyptian Parliament, General Ahmed Dya’a, Deputy Interior Minister, confirmed that the Egyptian government respects the right of its citizens to freely express their opinions and that the role of security forces is to monitor society for any violations of the laws without undermining the people’s freedoms.
The Deputy Interior Minister must be fooling himself or members of parliament on April 1st, or the man must be completely detached from realities in Egypt. Egyptian government does not recognize, respect or protect any form of freedom for Egyptians other than the freedom to live in poverty, oppression or both. A country that has been ruled by Emergency laws for over 26 years, does not know freedom or how it feels to be free. A government that is violating sanctity of the judiciary in every single day cannot be trusted with upholding the law.
Egyptians have never been so oppressed, even when they were under foreign occupation. Prices are skyrocketing, a month worth of salary for most Egyptians is not enough to buy a pair of shoes, political opponents, journalists, judges, students, are being crushed for daring to “express their opinions”.
Harassing, intimidating, and arresting citizens who never violated any laws, and depriving them the opportunity to serve their country by running for public offices, or trying them before military tribunals when they were acquitted four times by civilian courts, is not how the regime can define its respect for people’s rights and free expression.
It is pathetic for the Egyptian government to talk about freedom for its citizens when the entire world witness first hands how Egyptians are being oppressed and violated in every possible way. European Union, White House, Human Rights Organizations, all condemned and criticized the Egyptian government’s disregard to the rights of its citizens including the right to freely choose their representatives and their form of government.
The Egyptian government should never underestimate the power of the people, because one day, the oppressed will want to be free, and when that day comes, there will be no more April Fools such as this one.
Acting Chief Editor, Ikhwanweb