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Freedom of expression in Egypt following the Tahrir revolution

Repression censures artistic manifestations. Many authors see limited dissemination of their works

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Freedom of expression in Egypt following the Tahrir revolution

Filmmaker Tamer El Said (Cairo, 1972) has spent 10 years of his existence filming everyday life in capital of Egypt. The fruit of his work is summarized in feature film in Last days of city, which summarizes dates prior to revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. It was scheduled to premiere last year at Cairo film Festival, but official censorship has not yet granted exhibition permit. "I dreamt of watching movie in a room in Egyptian capital, after having projected it in 120 festivals and competitions [such as in loot center of Santander] in some 80 countries, and having premiered it commercially in a dozen nations successfully of "Public and Good Review," recounts director of film. "That's why it's painful for me not to be seen in same place where it was filmed: it's like having an open wound."

"This regime is most restrictive in terms of freedom of expression in modern Egyptian history," said lawyer Gamal Eid, director of Arab Human Rights Information Network (ANHRI) recently in Egyptian press. "But despite fear of civil society, re are still people who have courage to express ir ideas."

Restrictions on freedom of expression do not only reach intellectuals or press, who have seen authorities have closed or blocked 400 critical websites with government of President Abdelfatá Al Sisi. They have also suffered harassment of relentless censorship of popular artists such as singer Sherin Abdel Wahab, who dared to joke about health of waters of Nile and has been indicted for it, or pop star, Shaimaa Ahmedo, better known by artistic name of Shyma, who was arrested for depravation and attack against modesty for having eaten a banana in a promotional video.

"I was born and live in Cairo;" "That's my identity," argues director of in last days of city. "For a long time I wanted to show in pictures my relationship with this mega-city, about how we feel its inhabitants, in a great moment of historical change." The so-called Censorship authority has not formally rejected or accepted tape. "We were asked to remove part of soundtrack in exchange for an automatic authorization," he says, "and we admitted it because it wasn't something important and we wanted people to see film here as well." "But you never got exhibit permit."

Filmmaker Tamer El Said refuses to undertake path of cultural exile despite wide international recognition that his film has received. "I don't think I have to leave Egypt to do my job." Outside I always feel like a tourist. "This is city I know and where I can best express my ideas."

Economic stability

Comedians, writers, singers, journalists ... no one seems to be safe from harassment of censorship and repression in Egypt. The arrests and prosecutions affect all types of artists and intellectuals alike. According to a European diplomat who declines to be quoted, progress in achievements of economic stability program being obtained by Al-Sisi's government does not correspond to growing setback in public liberties.

"With Mubarak policy of stick and carrot was exerted;" Now re is only stick, "summarizes his pessimistic vision of Egypt after spring of Tahrir, analyst Wael to be." With between 40,000 and 60,000 prisoners detained for political reasons, according to humanitarian NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, and with some 450,000 citizens pending trial, accused of belonging to outlawed Muslim Brorhood, majority of young people — two thirds of 104 million Egyptians are less than 30 years old — y turn ir backs on political activities. "For now y are immunized, although many have nothing to lose, without work or future," he apostilled "but we had a revolution not long ago."

Moderate Sufi Muslims plant face to terror

Sufis, followers of a moderate Muslim rite, have proclaimed that terror in Egypt would not silence public expressions of ir worship. This Islamic community was target of terrorist attack on Friday cut lives of 305 people, including 27 children, and injured 128 in Al-Raudá Mosque of Bir al Abed, a population of norrn Sinai Peninsula where this current Muslim Mystic is majority. The Supreme Council of Sufi orders of Egypt announced yesterday that it will maintain program of ceremonies planned this week throughout country on occasion of celebration of anniversary of birth of Prophet Muhammad, reports agency EFE. It has only been cancelled, for security reasons and "in mourning by martyrs of Al Raudá", religious procession that had to start in Islamic temple of Salah al Yaafari of Cairo and that usually ends in great Mosque of Al Hussein , dedicated to grandson of prophet and one of most sacred places for Islam in Egypt.


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