How ironic is the story of the Cairo University student who was arrested for possessing a novel, a hard disc and a notebook with notes on the Islamic caliphate.
It seems the investigator found the novel dangerous because it talked about corrupt military dictatorships.
But was the novel the reason why the student was arrested or was it just by chance part of the seizures taken from him?
The ignorant are more dangerous for a regime than the learned. For according to journalists, the Interior Ministry has not heard of George Orwell in the first place.
The whole story is similar to what happened with the Al-Jazeera journalists and the Ittihadiya Palace protesters, where the regime had to engage in external battles that it lost in vain, as Sisi himself said in New York.
The matter seemed as if the Interior Ministry is persecuting readers of novels that are critical of military regimes.
Does the regime really fear readers of George Orwell’s 1984 or Mickey Mouse magazine for that matter?
Of course not, because the regime is without an ideological compass in the first place. It neither opposes a certain trend nor agrees with another. It is in a state of excessive haphazardness.
Maybe with time we will be able to determine the regime’s orientation. But for now, all we know is that the Muslim Brotherhood is the enemy.
But is George Orwell from the Brotherhood?
What’s the problem then?
Finding that novel dangerous gives us an idea as to how the Interior Ministry handles certain cases and gives them a political nature.
Only extremist regimes are against reading books or use books to their advantage.
While in North Korea three years ago, a reporter of the Associated Press was surprised why the novel “Gone with the Wind” was available in most bookstores. Then he found out that it was Pyongyang’s favorite novel because it talked about people's problems under obnoxious capitalist regimes.
Likewise, works of Harold Pinter and Arthur Miller are not celebrated in capitalist systems because they criticise those systems. Yet they are not banned there because these are not fragile systems.
So what do we do?
We need to fight for more freedom and better education for us and for the police as well. We need to end such trivial issues early before they top Western headlines so that we do not give a chance to our enemies to get to us.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm