Ramadan Nights – 3 –
Tonight’s night is dedicated to the hunger strike that mourns what’s left of Lebanese freedom of speech.
For those that haven’t been following the main stream trend of dilemmas that keep thundering our heads: The Government wants to pas out an E-law that is vague enough to be anything they feel threatens their “kingdom” .. the e-law at the time was managed by brave and dedicated group of people to try and explain to the people responsible for the Law how to the internet works, what we need internet laws for, how we need the governments aid in improving the internet quality in Lebanon, but that only made them delay the Law a month to “think it over” .. more details on the controversy in the following youtube videos from Future TV:
Meanwhile, a series of arrests have been very notice-able first the “Facebook arrests” (read more on trella.org) regarding some teenagers posting swears on the President Michel Sleiman’s Facebook fan page, because thats just smart PR!
A while later threats started reaching out to bloggers that are voicing out their opinions online throughout the blogosphere…
The problem is following… several arrests have taken place, only to reveal that they are motivated by personal conflicts with the detainees, from politically powerful characters. The law and power are being abused by the corrupted sickness of the officials (ka2ano shi jdeed) that are hunting down people that oppose them online … (dictator ship much?!) .
Freedom of Speech is really THE ONLY thing that Lebanon owns that is a breathing space for the rest of the Middle East… (i would love to point out something, some countries that don’t exactly promote freedom of critical speech actually deal with their problems internally, not by arresting people, but by bringing justice, you can complain and authorities will listen and fix things! so u don’t really need to scream, inno shi w minno, 2a7san min balla) freedom of speech in Lebanon means u can demonstrate and protest 2 years in the streets and no one will even blink your way, because they simple don’t care or have any sympathy with the peoples demands! viva la democracy!
The hunger strike! was sparked 2 days (3days, will be done today afternoon,14 August) ago after the Defense Minister’s response to a journalists, Hassan 3leeq, article , which meant that the journalist gets dragged out of his newspaper’s office to be investigated with!! The strike as was clarified later, was not solely to object to that incident, as was interpreted, but to object to the continuous abuse of obscure laws and sanctions .. that keep dragging bloggers and web users to unnecessary questioning and investigation.
This reminds me of the Medieval rule of the Church, where everything unknown was forbidden, tabooed and labelled evil! The Lebanese Government has long been buried in ongoing meaningless controversies and problems that it has forgotten that the rest of the world is technologically progressing. now that they have awaken to facebook, twitter, blackberries, iPhones, blogs and the rest, it was too hard to grasp all at once (well, really, they’ve been in rule for decades! try explaining twitter to your grandpa!) so in favor of saving brain-cells, efforts, or any progress in the lebanese citizens sphere, its better to get rid of anything new!! It’s like when the Internet was first created and introduced to the world, many many countries feared it (15 years ago!!, sa7 il noum) but with time, the flourishing benefits of the internet surfaced and it was easy to point out, that like everything else, it has its abundant advantages and disadvantages.
In Lebanon we crave consideration for laws that benefit internet transactions, laws and considerations that’ll add Lebanon to the drop down menu on Paypal, iStore, etc.. among other things! Lebanese internet users have saturated the virtual sphere enough with countless unnecessary obstacles, and no laws to protect them from being exploited (banning certain figures’ names (Hizballah, palestine etc) from having pages on facebook for e.g) such acts are ridiculously ruled by external forces to ban Lebanese freedom of speech…
If you don’t want us to complain about anything, then give us nothing to complain about…no electricity, no rights and no freedom of speech!!!! (la kahraba w la 7orriyet ra2e?! w ba3den?) at least we had pride in our Lebanese Government that allowed to speak our opinions and comment on the deteriorating life we live… now i don’t know what we have… The last singing bird was shot down, without the blink of an eye and the rest of the birdlings as well..
Maybe If they listened to soar voices crying for a drip of mercy then people would respect them more, maybe if they respected the peoples wills they’d be respected! … maybe they should start respecting each other to start with…
Naharnet – لصحافي حسن عليق: الوزير المر قام بتص
Mettransperant – قضية الصحفي حسن عليق: بيان “إعلاميون ضد العنف” وموقف “الشفّاف”
Al Akhbar – بعد 6 ساعات… علبة سجائر للذكرى
via GlobalVoicesOnline.org :
Lebanon: First Threatened Voice (1 April 2010)