"To the impartial eye, the world not only seems an unlikely one-off phenomenon, but a constant strain on reason. If reason exists, that is, if a neutral reason exists. So speaks the voice from within. So speaks Joker's voice." - Jostein Gaarder

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Freedom of Speech, Massacred and dragged through the streets of the Middle East

What is happening in the Arab World is scary.

Reading this, made me go into real melancholy.

And the fact that there was absolutely no publicity about it makes it even more painful. Why do we have to be so selective in what we chose to fight for. Why was Kareem on almost every single blog, all through his trial, and sentence. While I struggled to find any mention of Mohamed Rashed al-Shohhi's case. And was it not for Amira slipping me a link to this small roundup from Sami Ben Gharbia on GlobalVoices I would not have even heard about it.

While Egyptian bloggerKareem was on trial because of things he chose to write, Mohamed is sentenced to 1 year in prison and $13,600 fine for an anonymous comment on an online forum he happened to run. [You think there might be a connection with the decision to ban comments on Syrian sites earlier this month?! Hmmm...].

Mohamed is in prison, and he literaly did not do ANYTHING.

It is not a blow at freedom of speech. No, this a serious well-planned decision that can only be described as mental-terrorism. This is not aimed to keep him from practicing his right to express himself (Again, the guy did not do anything), rather this is a warning to anyone who might even think of raising a voice. Whether against totalitarianism, corruption or repression... all of them are a common characteristic of our Arab World.

Again, in a very similar case, Kuwaiti blogger Bashar Al-Sayegh was arrested [He was released today] yesterday for an anonymous comment left on his forum.

If you read this, please help spread the word. Let's not be selective in what we chose to rally for.

The latest chunck of news coming from our Middle East does not look good.

Blogspot is still banned in Syria, contrary to earlier reports about the ban being lifted.

By decision from the Ministry of Communication, anonymous comments of Syrian sites are now illegal.

Wordpress is banned in Turkey.

UAE imprisons a webmaster and suspends the website over anonymous comments on his forum.

Kuwait detains a blogger over anonymous comments on his forum.

And, Egypt, Tunisia... Where to start exactly?!

A letter from ex-PM Riad Seif regarding the continuous refusal to allow him to leave the country for medical treatment. (From Syrian Brit)...
More than two months after medical examinations and tests established that I have an advanced stage of prostate cancer, and after ascertaining that the necessary and viable treatment for such a situation is not available in Syria while it is available in some developed countries with the possibility of successful treatment as high as 90%, I submitted a request to travel for treatment outside the country to the Syrian authorities. So far, all of my attempts have failed and I have received nothing from the security authorities but delays and postponements, despite the advanced stage of the disease and fears that it might metastasize to other parts of my body.
I was subjected to a similar ordeal previously during my time in prison, when the coronary angiogram I had on 2/7/2005 showed an occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery, which required open-heart surgery to bypass the occlusion. After I was released on 1/18/2006, I filed a request to leave the country so that I could conduct the necessary surgical work, but this request was also denied.

Now that I have run out of options, I can find no alternative but to present my state of health to all those who are interested in human rights issues in Syria and in the world, with the hope that I will procure assistance in obtaining my natural and legitimate right to receive necessary treatment abroad that could let me spend the rest of my life in a natural way.

Damascus 13/8/2007


Blogger Abu Kareem said...


I have reposted on my blog. Thanks.

August 23, 2007 8:33 PM

Blogger abufares said...

I feel so anonymous being part of this obscene reality.

August 24, 2007 4:16 PM

Blogger The Syrian Brit said...

I hope you don't mind me taking the liberty of re-publishing your post on my Blog..
Despite my moments of despair, I agree with your comments on Abu Kareem's blog, that the pressure that the free word is exerting on the tyrannical Regimes must be achieving something.. otherwise why would those Regimes respond with such heavy-handedness?..

August 24, 2007 8:18 PM

Blogger Yazan said...

Thank you all.

August 24, 2007 8:45 PM


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