Sunday, May 5, 2013

" half the story has never been told..."

“Without freedom of speech there is no modern world, just a barbaric one.”
― Ai Weiwei

   He is accused of mocking Egyptian authorities and was forced to go to jail for "insulting the president." Do you think that's a joke? Sadly, it's a true story. Should it be a criminal offense to parody or express yourself with humor?  Known as the "Egyptian Jon Stewart," Bassem Youssef hosts a weekly satire program, al-Bernameg, modeled after The Daily Show and watched by more than thirty million Egyptians. He is one of nearly thirty Egyptian citizens alarmingly swept up in a controversial new government witch hunt on media freedom. One of those recently persecuted is video blogger Ahmed Anwar, who went to trial May 4. "It's ironic that May 3 is World Press Freedom Day and I'm facing trial the next day just for posting a video," Anwar told an Amnesty International correspondent
Bassem and Anwar's arrest sent a disturbingly clear message to critics- Criticize the government and you could be next.
"You are doing what I take for granted all the time," Jon Stewart told fellow satirist Bassem in a Daily Show interview, "And forget sometimes."
 Many U.S citizens forget every single day that we have the freedom to express, write, say and post what we truly feel. We need to recognize and defend the contributions of the world's journalists, reporters, bloggers and writers, who risk harassment, detention, physical abuse and even death to speak and write their views..

Bassem Youssef  stated that while his case has attracted international attention, there are so many other people caught up in this disturbing crackdown. Support free expression where ever and when ever you can. Even though many of us do, we certainly cannot take freedom of speech for granted.
Below is a link to a news story regarding peaceful protest, social media, bloggers and human rights activism.  "Forbidden Voices" a documentary film released in 2012 and directed by Barbara Miller drew worldwide  attention of the implications of repressing freedom of speech.