Egypt's customs services in Alexandria have seized 400 copies of "Walls of Freedom", a book depicting Egypt's street graffitti art in the context of the 2011 uprising, for “instigating revolt,” says the Finance Ministry.
Ahmed al-Sayyad, the ministry’s undersecretary, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the book contains elements that give "advice on confronting police and army forces,” therefore a cause for concern.
A stencil of an army officer throwing a baby in a fire, symbolizes the demise of future generations if the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) continues to rule Egypt. It's also a response to the propaganda banners widely circulated by the armed forces showing an army officer holding a baby accompained with a sentence reading, "The army and people are one hand." The stencil was created in July 2011.
The books had arrived from Germany and were to be delivered to Dar al-Tanweer publishing house, said the official, who revealed that the items were confiscated and would be transferred to prosecution services.
"Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster." This quote by Friedrich Nietzsche was reproduced in July 2011, marking the the battle of Abbassiya. Thousands of protesters marched from Tahrir Square to the Defense Ministry chanting against the SCAF and reiterating the demands of the July sit-in. The march was soon attacked by civilians carrying white weapons and Molotov cocktails.
According to the website of the book by Basma Hamdy and Don Karl, "Walls of Freedom" is a powerful portrayal of the first three years of the Egyptian revolution that began on 25 January 2011.The story is told through striking images of art that transformed Egypt’s walls into a visual testimony of bravery and resistance.”
Freedom advocates have voiced fears of an apparent crackdown on freedom of expression under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The statement "Backwards" here indicates that the true direction of the political Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists in all walks of life is backwards. The mural depicts the Egyptian Salafist leader Abdel Moneim al-Shahat, created in September 2012.
Emad Mubarak, director of the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, told Egypt Independent that existing laws impose severe restrictions on the freedom of creativity and breach artistic plurality.
"Generally, confiscation has become an absurd method amid technological progress. No one can prevent individuals from books that have been censored or confiscated," he said. "Add to that, the fact that the law on publication contains a lot of loose terms that give authorities the chance to interpret them as they please."
Last November, a student was arrested outside Cairo University with George Orwell’s "1984" novel in his possession. The Interior Ministry stated the student was primarily arrested for taking photos of police forces stationed outside the campus.