Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Egyptian pro-Israel blogger sentenced to 3 years

An Egyptian blogger, Maikel Nabil, 25, was sentenced yesterday to 3 years in prison for criticizing the military. Since Mubarak's fall, Nabil has criticized the Egyptian army for continuing the corruption and anti-democratic policies of the Mubarak era. His lawyer explained: “This ruling is a warning to all journalists, bloggers and human rights activists in Egypt that the punishment for criticizing the army is a sentence in a military prison.”

YNet ran a story about Nabil last year, when Nabil became Egypt's first conscientious objector to military service. In his blog at the time, he wrote: 
I thought about this a lot and decided to refuse to serve in the Egyptian army, and accept the results, whatever they would be, even though I knew the results would be hard because I am the first young Egyptian to refuse to serve for pacifist reasons...I don't want to point a weapon at a young Israeli, recruited into obligatory service, defending his state's right to exist. I think obligatory service is a form of slavery and I have worked for years for my freedom.
Nabil is Christian and defines himself as pro-Israel. YNet recounts his path to his extraordinary views on Israel:
From a young age I read a lot about the Israeli-Arab conflict. I understood the Arab media hid facts that support Israel. I tried to contact Israeli activists and started asking them questions, such as, 'Is it true that Israel is a militaristic state?' or, 'Is it true that Israel wants to expand and reach the Nile? That's how I learned. I understood a lot about the state, society and its laws. Many Arabs living in Israel told me how they are really treated and how much they prefer living in Israel above any Arab state. I also read about Israeli pacifist organizations.
Nabil believes Palestinians are to blame with the conflict with Israel: "If the Palestinians had a democratic leadership, everything would be solved." About Operation Cast Lead, he said:
Take the war on Gaza for example two years ago. Hamas started it. They refused to hold elections in Gaza and took control of the regime. They planned a dictatorial and fundamentalist regime. They refused to speak to Israel, fired rockets at it and caused it to defend itself.
Maikel Nabil's site is still up, and you can view it here. You can read more about his biography here.

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