Remember the “Arab Spring?” The mass protests in the Middle East against their draconian governments? You know, the protests Barack Obama ignored? Well, Egypt was one of the governments hit with protests and marches. Everyone thought it could be a turning point for the Islamist country.
Everyone was wrong.
Armed with vaguely worded laws, Egypt’s guardians of conservative morals have long focused on belly dancers and pop stars in their efforts to police women’s behavior. Now they have hit upon a new target — young women who have become famous on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
An Egyptian court Monday convicted two women, social media stars, on charges of “violating family values,” and sentenced each of them to two years imprisonment. The court also found three men guilty on charges of helping post the women’s videos, lawyers said, and received the same sentence.
Social media is a highly contested and often perilous space in Egypt, where the government exerts tight controls over traditional media like newspapers and television, and has used courts to patrol digital platforms beyond its reach.
So two women, and possibly a third by week’s end, have received two-year prison sentences for posting videos on social media. TWO YEARS! The Middle East has always been a backwards region, and it looks like they will never emerge from the 7th century.