A country faces terrorism and economic problems. A country faces difficulties in education, health, transportation, inflation of prices and currency devaluation – a country where a policeman killed a taxi driver a few days ago because of a dispute over a fare.
This same country sees the deaths of dozens of martyrs on its borders every day, while the fate of their killers remains unknown, along with the steps to ensure the safety of security personnel. Day by day, this country loses more than it gains.
After all, one of the country’s creative talents was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of “harming public morality”. This country has no shame.
A young novelist and journalist, Ahmed Nagy, published a chapter of his novel “The Use of Life” in Akhbar Al-Adab newspaper on 3 August 2014 after the approval of the publication’s editor.
Nagy was surprised by a lawsuit filed against him by someone who accused Nagy of “harming public morality”. At the time, the case was referred to court and witnessed a long investigation process and deliberations, until the court acquitted Nagy of any criminal offense.
Despite the widespread approval of the cultural community after the verdict, the general prosecution appealed the ruling and the court handed Nagy a two-year prison sentence on Saturday.
According to the case, the defendant was convicted for “inciting lust”. He used his mind and his pen for “malicious purposes that violated the sanctity of morals and good ethics”. He also “departed from the sentiment of modesty, and widely accepted public ideals, giving birth to bastardised scenes of publicised fornication”.
It has become undeniably clear to everyone that a state of panic has overtaken Egyptian society. This panic attempts to silence and frighten everyone who tries to think, create or even imagine.
As Nagy says in his novel: “I learned a lot from my experience. At such a time as this, it was forbidden to fall in love so easily, or surrender to the romantic rays of the sun when its glow blinds your eyes. Otherwise, the cheapest microbus could hit you as you cross the road while blinded by this love. Those who express their feelings in this city, even if they are mutually shared, will be mocked, or viewed as adolescents. You cannot trust in their reactions. You must look like them; these cold dead creatures that surround you in the cities. In these parts, the saying goes: ‘Eat as you wish, but express your feelings as others wish’.”
Mohamed Abdel Kareem is a journalist and a columnist in a number of publications, including Dostour, Tahrir, Sayidaty, and Rotana. Abdel Kareem has written scripts for a number of short films, including “The Painter”, “Mestany”, and “Not Entering the Festival”. The films participated in international festivals in France, the US, and Macedonia, among others.