Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Egypt's shame---who is silent over this attack on freedom of the press? Is there a 'bigger target?'

The people of Egypt poured into eh streets during the Egyptian Spring, their hearts full of hope for a better future, one in which they could express themselves and be free from state sponsored tyranny. We saw the demise of the Mubarak regime, then this was followed by an elected Government, comprised mainly of the Muslim Brotherhood. It seemed that this Government was going down the same road as its predecessor, so the people came out onto the streets again, only this time the army intervened and it looked for a while that stability and at least a 'nod' towards freedom was going to be achieved.
Alas, this did not happen and now we have the spectre of a Government at war with its people and basic human rights being consigned to the rubbish bins of lost dreams. We also see an attack on the freedom of journalists to report the news, and their subsequent arrest and court appearances. Of course such practices are not limited to Egypt. One only has to look at Turkey to see the same actions, on  the part of the state.
The Aljazeera journalists who have been sentenced to a seven year prison term under the pretext that they were supporting the Muslim Brotherhood is shear rubbish and that the Government is 'leaving it to the judiciary,' only exemplifies the fact that the judiciary has got things very wrong.
The USA suspended military aid for a while but then we hear that they have released the half billion dollars while at the same time, criticising Egypt for its actions. Other western countries and some Asian, have made their positions clear. What is not so obvious are the voices of discontent from other major nations, including most of Africa, China and of course Russia, because they too have policies that detract from the freedom of the press.
The UN has been critical of Egypt as has the EU, but not the afore mentioned countries. OK, we can see the reason for that---they do not allow or value freedom of the press, but the family of nations who do---should unite and pressure Egypt and hold back on giving aid: humanitarian, military or any form of cultural exchange, until Egypt releases the journalists. It would be na├»ve of me to assume that Egypt will make any real changes to improving the freedom of reporting the news, but at least we can influence the fate of the 'three.'
To be consistent, we need to extend sanctions on all countries who flout that most basic of freedoms relating to the press, but that is not going to happen because economic concerns overrule human rights in the bigger picture.
In writing this blog I am acutely aware of the double standards re the issues I have raised. Basic human rights are trodden on in most of the world and little is done to bring that to an end.
THUS---this is a very strange blog in that the writer is almost saying that he is uncomfortable with his stance---Egypt is an easy target because that country has little influence on the world economy, apart from its strategic position in the Middle-East.
Let therefore the anger that is being fired at Egypt, take a wider target and let the fight for freedom of the right to report the news be expanded along with the far bigger issues of poverty and----get the picture? There are many battles to be won, so we find targets that are more accessible and easier to hit! Egypt---you are the target of choice at the moment.

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