Welcome to Egypt, the Big Brother Republic

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As in the famous 1984 novel, where the totalitarian Big Brother state imposes iron control over all members of society to record every act, comment, whisper and look, and forces everyone to spy on everyone, and punishes simple actions such as listening to certain types of music or even thinking about forbidden ideas, Egypt is fast becoming a Big Brother country.

A few days ago, the Egyptian security forces arrested 10 people in Beheira Governorate, for attempting to film a song clip without obtaining a licence, with the intention of publishing it on social media and making a financial return from it, following information and careful investigations conducted by the security services in Beheira. So, the security men moved and mobilised their efforts and conducted investigations and collected information about a group, mostly teenagers, filming a video clip of a song, and not only that, but the movements of the forces with all their equipment and their promise to arrest these criminals for their heinous act. To confirm the seriousness, legal measures were taken towards the incident, which means referring it to the prosecution, and then to the judiciary.

Not the first incident

On October 14, the Ministry of Interior announced that it had succeeded in “disclosing the circumstances of the circulation of a video clip on one of the personal pages on Tik Tok, in which a group of young people appear performing a satirical scene in which a person appears performing the prayer, and behind him comes two people attempting to steal his personal belongings and obstructing him from praying. The security services moved to determine the identity of the owner of the Tik Tok account who published the video, who was a student. After they interrogated him, he admitted that he acted with others with the intention of trying to get hits.

The Interior Ministry men did not give in to the ridicule that followed them because of the publication of this incident. Rather, they completed their duty to the end, and they gave us the “happy” news on 17 October. The rest of the participants in the video, two young men and a girl, were arrested, and after interrogation it was found that they had committed the crime “with the intention of fame and achieving the largest number of views through the Tik Tok application.” On October 15, the security forces arrested a young man who published two videos of himself on Tik Tok application, performing showy dance moves in the street, and accused him of committing “acts contrary to morals and public taste.” If this is not a totalitarian Big Brother state, then what can we call it?

This is how Sisi wants it

Some may think that the actions of security men in the Ministry of Interior to monitor content on the Internet are random or take place without central guidance, but this is not true. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has expressed on many occasions his desire to establish a totalitarian system in which each word should be paid for. “Oh, how lucky was Abdel Nasser with the media in his age.” With these words, Sisi expressed his totalitarian aspirations at the beginning of his rule. Sisi did not rest until he nationalised all the media inside Egypt and made them a choir playing melodies that praise his wisdom and philosophy.

On many occasions, Sisi expressed his fondness for collecting, analysing, and extracting all Egyptians’ data, which is clear from the state’s tendency to digitise all sectors. Many neglect that these moves are not for purely economic reasons, and that the security dimension is strongly present if it does not outweigh the economic dimension.

Sisi says that he has no objection to people expressing their opinion, but he sets comprehensive conditions for obtaining this right, which is “not to speak without understanding the issue.” Of course, the understanding that the president is talking about is the understanding approved by the state, meaning that he wants to make all citizens have one mind and one tongue, that is, the thought and tongue of the government.