Update: Egypt confiscates revolution-time graffiti book for “instigating revolt”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Link (if it works – stopped working very shortly after it circulated): http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/update-egypt-confiscates-revolution-time-graffiti-book-“instigating-revolt”