Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The perils of blogging elsewhere

Despite my strong reservations for things I consider mundane but which most of our political leaders pursue, I still love Ghana. There is so much poverty, there is so much corruption, there is so much religious bigotry, there is so much pettiness, there is so much self centred people but I still love this country.

I have spent about five minutes reading about the arrest of a 20 year old Egyptian blogger, Ahmed Mustafa, for allegations that he published false information in a blog a year ago, that there is so much nepotism at Egypt's premier military academy.

The article which is published on the BBC news website said Mr. Mustafa is being held under an emergency law that has been in place since 1981. the law allows indefinite detention and trials of civilians in military courts.

Since reading the article and hearing comments from human rights groups, I have been asking myself what the hell will be happening to characters like myself who dare to speak out against the establishment, should I be residing in Egypt. Ghana’s terror days are over, thanks to this so-called democracy.

But there are still laws sitting in our books that make it easy for us to be called before a wig wearing judge in any of our law courts- and this wig thing I have a problem with. It’s colonial and the earlier our judges get their heads off that smelly thing the better for us all. I can’t image subjecting my head under that colonial thing-especially in this heat. Just a bit of digression.

Our constitution has laws that could ensure somebody like me go to prison easily, based on what I write.

And that is not fair. Recently in Ghana, a young man went on a radio station and said something very stupid; that the former president burnt his own house. It was a free speech exercised in the most irresponsible manner. He was however arrested and made to spend a night in police cells.

That really was unfortunate. Just recently, a high court judge sitting on a case involving a former foreign minister who left his job and rather became a rice imported, cited a newspaper journalist for contempt. He was made to apologize and pay a fine in far excess of one thousand American dollars.

That was gross! Just two instances to say that yeah we are in a democratic society but the laws are not friendly at all however, I would prefer to enjoy that to, say, a place like Egypt or even Iran even ‘unseen’ forces are always on the heels of people soon as they get close to the internet.

pix source: BBC

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