Thursday, February 22, 2007

Express yourself

Tony Blair's an arse! The Queen's a crack ho! Christianity smells! God's a bastard!

Now I like the fact that I can say and write these things, even if they're insulting to people. I like the fact that I can write them as my honest opinion, or as a joke. I like the fact that I can criticise people or institutions that I don't agree with. However, I might think differently if I was in Eygpt, as a blogger who expressed his opinion has just been sent to prison for four years. His crime was "for contempt of religion, insulting the president and spreading false information.", or basically speaking out against an establishment he felt was deserving of some criticism. This type of state censorship/punishment isn't limited to Eygpt (see the UK religious hatred laws for example), but I hope that it wont spread too far and too wide. There's a huge amount that has already been written about freedom of speech and civil liberties, but I just thought I'd bring up this case as a recent example of where things can lead. You can see more about the Egyptian blogger Kareem here.