Gazetting of TOC: lessons from Egypt unrest
What has the Egypt revolution, a “huge event” as our Foreign Minister euphemistically termed it, got to do with the government gazetting of The Online Citizen (TOC)?
Both are saddled with an autocratic government though democratic reform in Egypt is still underway.
Both are tightly controlled societies with a government-controlled press and TV, and a barely-tolerated opposition.
If you had told me two months ago that Egyptians would rise en masse to sweep away the old order and force the resignation of President Mubarak, I’d would have urged you to go for psychiatric tests.
You see, holidaying in Egypt two months ago I saw that the country was perfectly normal: traffic snarled into gridlock in Cairo, shoppers thronging the malls and excitedly eating ice cream, tourists gazing at the jaw-dropping pyramids, bargain hunters roaming the bustling and jam-packed Khan El- Khalili Bazaar and even a pair of China women hawking their goods near Cairo railway station.
I didn’t realize at the time that simmering below this perfect picture of normality was a festering hatred for the Mubarak regime.
Lying dormant for decades, it all suddenly exploded in January. The rest, as they say, is history.
When governments are repressive, resentment gradually builds up until it reaches bursting point and explodes. Nature and human affairs bear striking similarities.
There’s no doubt in the minds of many people that the gazetting of TOC is an attempt at keeping it on a short leash,and therefore much easier to control.
The mantra of all autocratic regimes is the same: CONTROL, CONTROL, CONTROL.
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