Archive for October, 2009

Freedom of Speech

Do we not all have certain Human Rights, which are applicable to all human beings?? Do we not have the right to speak what is on our minds as long as it is not offensive to anyone? “Human Beings shall enjoy freedom of speech,” is what it says in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Then what is this chaos we are living in in Egypt?

People accuse us of being too “Americanized” and open minded for Egyptians. Is this really true? Or is it only a prejudice? Because, when it comes to saying what is on our mind, we have to keep it on the low. Issues such as criticizing the government or any authorities are of course known to be completely taboo. But since when has talking about the President’s health condition become such a sensitive topic?

Even in universities and schools students are barely allowed to say what they want. Here at the American University in Cairo (AUC) the case might be slightly different and usually avoided topics are totally fine to be talked about because we upon entering AUC the students know that they are entering a different environment that the typical Egyptian one.

This is not only the case at AUC but in all private schools and universities; in fact in those, students may speak freely about anything, even political issues such as the Arab Israeli conflict and they can freely be pro Israel knowing it won’t harm them in their educational environment and knowing they don’t need to be afraid of any harm. Yet even those know that when they are outside that educational environment, they need to take certain precautions into consideration, in order not to get harmed.

Symbol Freedom of Expression and Press, Democracy

But what about public schools and universities? In their case it is a different situation. They have so many restrictions and can almost never state their opinion because of their fear of authorities and parents at home. When was the last time you heard about a girl from rural Egypt opposing her parents or teacher on their point of view on Women’s Rights for example? This is a very important issue in Egypt that needs something done about by people who know what the real world is really about.

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