Abdel-Karim Nabil Suleiman, the Egyptian blogger from Alexandria was this week, sentenced to four years in prison for what he wrote in his blog. He was first arrested in 2005. A blogger and a law student in Al Azhar (world’s second oldest operating University), Karim’s blog was critical of the University which he termed “was promoting extreme ideas”. Point to note is that he was a casual blogger who commented on issues around him occasionally. Karim’s post accusing Muslims of savagery during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Alexandria in 2005 titled “The Naked Truth of Islam as I Saw it” created an uproar in the Sunni fundamentalist circles.

Excerpt :
“It is worth mentioning that although some people may think that this Christian-owned liquor store was particularly targeted because the owner is selling the forbidden alcoholic beverages that is forbidden in Islam, but another liquor store in front of the Christian-owned store happens to be owned by a Moslem merchant, and none of the thugs dared to attack, as they did with the Christian-owned store. Now you can see the hateful sectarian actions.”

Karim’s criticism of Papa Bear Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president since 1981, “likening him to the dictatorial pharaohs who ruled ancient Egypt” is cited as yet another reason to jail him – as criticizing the President put “National Security at a higher risk”.

Egypt, an Enemy of the Internet is a long way away from individual freedom. A country where the supreme religious leader, the Grand Mufti is in favour of reconstructive hymen surgery for women who lost their virginity before marriage cannot be expected to be a beacon for secular progressive forces; and its not.

The fate of Abdel-Karim Nabil Suleiman does not bother me, if it bothers you, you might find something here. What bothers me is the fact that Egypt is arguably the cradle of human civilization, man and his intelligence has constantly worked wonders by the banks of the Nile.
If what Egypt implies is that individual freedom and human progress are not directly proportional to the age of civilization, then they should be products of certain choices the society makes as a whole. We need to find those choices; We need to make those choices; We cannot afford to be Egypt.

As for Egypt, USA’s Man Friday in the region, you can wait by the Nile , looking upstream till Uncle Sam sends you a wooden basket down the river with Nile’s gift of democracy. This will take some time of course and Egypt being obedient to US is not helping things at all. If you are obedient, you don’t get the democracy gift – see Saudi, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan. All the prodigal disobedient kids got democracy – see Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan. The whole point is obedience.

Good Night and Good Luck !