The Gulag state

Few days ago, ikwanweb posted a story about Egyptian policeman Mohamed Khalaf Ibrahim (picture) who was referred to martial court after refusing to guard the Israeli embassy in Cairo as a sign of protest of the brutal Israeli crimes against the Palestinian and the Lebanese people. Mohamed Ibrahim was sentenced to 6 months in prison for his action and the government is going through his files preparing a smear campaing to tarnish his credibility.

Interestingly, I came across a similar headline published by the BBC in April 2006 on a British Muslim police officer who was excused from guarding the Israeli embassy in London. Scotland Yard declared that the Muslim officer was excused from his assignment as he felt “uncomfortable and unsafe” being from Lebanese origins and with the ongoing war waged by Israel against Lebanon back then.

After reading both stories, i had to ask myself if is there any value at all for the Egyptian citizen in his own country? Is the Egyptian regime’s role is to humiliate and oppress the same people it should serve and protect? Are we being gradually transformed into a “Gulag” state in which Egyptians are being deprived of their basic rights and freedoms?

These questions may sound a bit naïve in light of all the ongoing state corruption on all levels, the crackdown on all opposition factions and putting almost 27 million Egyptian under the poverty line due to failed economic policies.

Compared to Britain which recognized and respected the right of one of its Muslim citizens to express his personal concerns and its implications on his life, Egyptian government has a complete disregard for the welfae of its citizens and harshly deals with anyone who dare to voice an opposing view to that of the state. The policeman, who has been on a hunger-strike since his detention 15 days ago, represents a part of the Egyptian society which firmly voiced and expressed its refusal for an Israeli diplomatic presence in Egypt as long as the occupation is committing its crimes against the Palestinian people.

Humiliating and prosecuting the police officer is no different from the oppression, disrespect and tyranny the regime practices against the Egyptian society every single day. This incident shouldn’t be isolated from other state practices…looking at the big picture, this is a regime strategy against any form of peaceful dissent. The fact of being part of the regime didn’t save the police officer from the same fate Muslim Brotherhood members have been facing in military courts. This is the fate of whoever thinks of expressing his opposing views in Egypt under Mubarak’s rule…however, the police officer is still on a hunger strike and the Muslim Brotherhood is still carrying on its message of peaceful reform in a clear message to the regime that the people’s will could never be defied.