Friday, March 1, 2013

Egyptian Freedom of Speech?

It is understandable that people who are part of the great majority will be upset when someone openly displays something that is against what they believe, but to have a man be arrested by the government for such an act is violating basic human rights. Not only is his freedom of speech being hindered by both government and other members of society, but his and his family’s right to a secure and lawful environment was completely eradicated. It pains me to hear that the society in which Alber Saber is not accepting of his expressions, but unfortunately, the Egyptian Muslim culture is not similar in comparison to what the Western culture is.
Although I’m not completely aware of what the Eastern cultures’ view on freedom of speech is, I do know that it is partially incorporated into government constitutions or promised by these governments (including Egypt) through being signatories in international pacts such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
This, however, brings up the difference between the political aspect of a law and the social aspect of a law. Though the law may be established, the people do not necessarily have to abide by it, and if there is no strong judiciary system to back these laws, then, for all intents and purposes, there might as well not be a law. So how does one change the social aspect of a law to match the political purpose? I believe that education of the people is generally the manner to do so, but in this example, not even the government is willing to take the law seriously, only reinforcing the people’s decision to endanger Saber and his family.
Though in the short run we know that this is not what the world wants to see, it is perhaps better in the long run because if it was not Saber, it could have just as easily been someone else in which case the matter would have risen up again; but now that this problem is up in the air, the world can pressure the government in Egypt to pardon Saber which should serve as an example to the population that freedom of speech, even if the speech is in disaccord with the majority of the population, is not a criminal act.

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