When books lead to prison

prison 545

It’s not an invented story... This is the true face of the power of the soldiers that strains the Egyptian people and the Arab region since 1952... It all started when a sergeant seized power jumping on a vehicle, and then wrote a booklet which was later turned into the new constitution, upsetting the lives of Egyptians, and transforming these calm and hopeful lives into an experiment field. He also locked up intellectuals and writers in a prison called Salah Nasr ... Ah, if you knew what Salah Nasr was with his progeny of terrible soldiers? !!

Today, the same scenario is repeated. Security services arrested a student who was carrying George Orwell’s novel “1984”. Unfortunately, the military did not know that the novel was already in circulation, having been translated into Arabic since the 1940s. But what had to happen, has happened, and the student was arrested for his crime: carrying a book that he wanted to read, in this age of widespread ignorance, in this internet age.

The event has prompted covertly ironic reactions by intellectuals and bloggers on social networks. The most original comment was that of a student named Ihab Hassan, who imagined a dialogue with one of his companions, in which he invites him to read a novel that he hides under his coat:

• I have a novel... Do you want to come and read it with me?

- Oh no! Do you want us to get arrested?

• Oh come on old chap, don’t be such a coward! I know a place frequented by certain types where they read novels, and where the government will never set foot! So? Are you coming?

- Frankly, I always wanted to try, but I'm afraid of being arrested. My dad would kill me if he finds out!

• Don’t be afraid. He’ll never know.

- How? My father has a habit of smelling my breath every evening to understand if I read novels.

• “Quick guys... they are coming!”

- Throw away the novel and pull out the hashish. Pretend that you're making a joint!

A few minutes before the arrest of the student for possessing Orwell's novel, Sameh Samir, another satirist wrote on Facebook: “Panic reigns in the subway after the discovery of the novel “Animal Farm” under a seat.”

Ah yes! Hashish seems less dangerous and less compromising than the possession of a novel in a country of 80 million inhabitants... a country considered to be the “beating heart of the Arab world”, “the mother of the world”, “the father of civilization, history and cultural heritage, which carries the banner of evolution”, “the barometer of balance in the MENA region”.

Yes, the word has become a weapon that shakes the sleep of the military that is back at power, exactly as it was in the past. The fire in the voices that oppose, the words that denounce! At fire! Just as it once was in the cells of torture and behind bars of Salah Nasr.

One question remains pending: Will the flames burn again the whole country and the whole region, as it did during the war in Yemen that has devoured the bodies of 20,000 Egyptian soldiers? And as in 1967, at the border with Sinai, when other soldiers were sacrificed on the altar of a poorly calculated adventure? Then we had lost the Golan Heights and the West Bank, and we were compelled to ask a return to the 1967 borders with the peace agreements. Will we hear again the same emphatic slogans that harbored the hope of the crowd in a period of “damned nationalism” that had deprived Egypt of the solidarity of other nations?

Among terrorism that became the cause of all the problems and fears for the safety of neighboring countries, all we need to wait for is a new book by a new general for a new constitution... Until then, and apart from this work written by the president, all other books remain the shortest path that leads to prison.

 


 Abed / Arablog

 EB ver ara ENG

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts

Artellewa Artist in Residence Program, Cairo

18/01/2010

Artellewa Artist in Residence Program, CairoTha Artellewa Art Space dedicated to contemporary arts in Cairo has opened a call for applications for a 2 to 3 months residency. Deadline 31st January 2010.

7ayy! – Alive!

05/10/2005

7ayy! – Alive!Al Azhar Park, Cairo, 13 to 27 October 2005 7ayy! “Alive!” at the Al Genaina Theatre in Al Azhar Park is a two-week celebration of contemporary Egyptian culture, with a focus on pop culture and colloquial expression. The program includes colloquial poetry, sufi chanting, folk music, story-telling, puppets and circus. It also presents, among other, two of Egypt’s best story-tellers: Sayed Ragab and Ramadan Khater.

On Giulio and the cost of doing business in Egypt

11/02/2016

giulio-regeni 110The death of Giulio Regeni exposes the continuous human rights violations that critical voices, activists, journalists are facing under the government of General Al-Sisi. Foreign diplomats and intelligence officers in Egypt “understand the dirty politics, the abuse, the broken bodies and shattered lives that keep Egypt ‘open for business’… But until now they have not appeared to care” writes Mada Masr.