By Muhamed ashraf (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Arrested in December of 2013, three AlJazeera Journalist staff members
were sentenced in Egyptian courts; guilty verdicts were announced by a judge on Monday against Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, both sentenced to seven years, and Baher Mohamed, sentenced to ten years. Other journalists were tried in absentia and sentenced to ten years.
This follows months of poor to appalling detention conditions. Appearing in court several times over months, the Egyptian court kept adjourning the proceedings whenever any defense argument was attempted. We recognized at that time that journalists the world over are threatened for doing their job in “World’s Most Endangered.”
Previously to this sentencing, the Egyptian courts sentenced mass groups of detainees to death sentences. We do not know how these sentences would be carried out, but the atrocious visions are enough to wake a mummy from the dead.
Which brings us to the focal point of why Egypt’s ability to remain as a viable, civilized country on the international stage must now be questioned. Since Carter first opened the tombs and presented the world with Egyptian antiquities, we have been fascinated.
The art world came alive with renditions of film, music and stage that would tell the stories. Universities offered courses; everything Egyptian became the rage. And we all starting flocking to Egypt to peer inside the great pyramid and gaze at the Sphinx.
So which is it, Egypt, that you wish the world to recognize you for? Your rich and majestic past gifted you from your ancestors, or the prisons you now hold detainees whose guilt must all be questioned, based on the unjust, void of facts and draconian sentences handed down to journalists and their staff. You can not have both – the world can not and will not accept that. Choose carefully, for the eternal life of your ancestral pharaohs relies on your observance of their religious beliefs and rituals, including guarding their eternal rest.
Occupy World Writes calls on the international community to shame Egypt for the sentencing of Al jazeera staff to jail terms. We ask for boycotts of tourism, Egyptian products, doing business with Egyptian linked companies, and the closure of any national museums displaying Egyptian antiquities until such displays can be closed and dismantled. If this can not be done, we call on individuals to boycott those displays. We further call on all governments allowing the detention of any journalist within their borders to immediately free those journalists and offer them a humble apology.
JOURNALISM IS NOT A CRIME.