06 May 2007

Two Billion Dollars to Imprison a Blogger

Meet Kareem. Full name Abdel Kareem Nabil, he was sentenced in February to four years confinement in an Egyptian prison. He was charged with and convicted of writing things critical of Islamist oppression and of the Egyptian Dictator, Hosni Mubarak. You cannot read his blog anymore, because he cannot write anymore.

Meet Sandmonkey. Not his real name. There's no picture, and now there's no blog. Recently, the Egyptian Security Service has been asking questions of his neighbors, and odd sounds on his phone lead him to suspect he is being monitored. He fears prison for being a "cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, [and] disgruntled" writer. His fears are well-founded. Just ask Kareem.

The Egyptian government has been jailing critics such as Kareem (already) and Sandmonkey (not yet), as well as terrorists such as members of the the Muslim Brotherhood. Under Islamist oppression, there is no difference between blogging your dissatisfaction and armed insurrection. And an Egyptian prison is not where you want to be. Ever.

We Americans have friends within the Muslim world, and guess what--Egyptian Dictator Hosni Mubarak is not one of them. Yet we Americans give Mubarak's oppressive regime over two billion dollars every year.

So look again at that picture. That's a man who wrote blogs like this one. Do you like what you see? You are paying for it.