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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Egyptian Chronicles: Fahrenheit 451 Live in Egypt : Burning Books in the Schoolyards

Fahrenheit 451 Live in Egypt : Burning Books in the Schoolyards

We are living Fahrenheit 451 live in Egypt.
Burning the books at the schoolyard !!
These photos showing ministry of education officials burning 73 books in a School Yard “yes burning books” on 6 April 2015 because those books allegedly spread radical religious thought and terrorism at Fadl language school in Haram district in Giza governorate.

Burning the books while holding the Egyptian flags !! 
Allegedly those books spread violence, terrorism and the Muslim Brotherhood Thought as the Brotherhood is officially an terrorist organization in Egypt now.
That mini-holocaust was supervised by Dr. Bothiana Kishk , the head of Giza educational directorate.
Dr.Bothiana Kishk supervising the burning of the books 
In statements to Al Masry Al Youm  on Monday , Dr. Kishk revealed that the ministry of education recently formed “Books execution committee” to inspect and execute dangerous books spreading radical thought in school libraries at the schools owned by Muslim Brotherhood members. Yes “Books execution committee” if we are going to translate literality from Arabic. It is not even “Censorship committee” or “Disposal committee” but rather  “Executing” !! She added those books were promoting the MB radical thought.
After designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorism organization in November 2013, the Egyptian government gave its orders to the ministry of education to take over the management of nearly 147 private schools affiliated with the Brotherhood across Egypt. Fadl language school is among those schools despite its owners are currently suing the government in order to end the ministry of education’s control on the school.
As the photos went viral online , the minister of education Mohab El-Rafei found himself under fire. In statements to Ahram Arabic News website on Tuesday that the ministry would investigate the incident. He also added that he rejected the idea of disposing books like that even if they spread radical thought. It seems that the minister was kept in the dark and did not know about that bonfire at Fadl language school.
Dr. Bothiana Kishk ,who supervised the burning of the books revealed also on Tuesday afternoon in statement to Ahram Arabic News that “Security authorities gave her orders to burn the books”. Yes she took her orders from security authorities to burn the books !!
Kishk , a former NDP member claimed that the books had Rabaa sign on the books cover and that the books had covers and titles of other books that were unrelated to their actual content
Tuesday evening Bothiana Kishk backtracked what she told Ahram website and spoke at Pro-regime Sada El-Balad claiming that the books were full of radical and dangerous thought adding that the photos were edited in Photoshop. BY the way Dr. Kishk was a candidate to become the minister of education in 2013. 
Dr. Bothiana Kishk can say whatever she wants because there are photos as well the statement and lists Fadl school’s administration published on its official Facebook page. The school administration apologized to the parents and the students for what happened insisting that it was not part of any political agenda nor did it spread any political thought.
The school also published the list of the 73 books burned on that day and I do not understand how some of those books consider to be religiously radical in the first place. No wonder Dr. Bothiana Kishk is trying to defend herself in the media.

Here are some of the books in the list :
  • The fundamentals of rule in Islam by the father of Arab states’ Constitutions Abd El-Razzak El-Sanhuri who wanted to modernize Islamic Sharia.
  • Islam and the Foundations of Governance by Sheikh Ali Abdel Razik. This is one of the most important and controversial books in Egypt.Sheikh Abdel Razik argues in it that the idea of Caliphate was not supported in Sharia nor in Sunnah. Abdel Razik was dragged to court because of it in 1950s
  • The reform discourse in Islam by late Grand Emam of Al Azhar Sheikh Abdel Halim Mahmoud , the great religious reformist 
  • A translated version of Bonaparte in Egypt by J. Christopher Herold
  • The politics men by Samir Rageb “ The famous Pro-Mubarak journalist and writer”
  • Searching for the future by Rageb El-Banna “ Another Famous Pro-Mubarak journalist and writer”
  • Three books about the war in Bosnia
  • Seven books about the dangers of drugs published by National council For Fighting Drugs.
  • The bigraphy of Sheikh Gamal El-Din Afghani
  • Books by Salafist Sheikhs.

Personally I believe they do not want any political books or books that ask questions about rule or a true reform in Islam !! 
The fact that the ministry of education officials supervised that mini-book holocaust by the orders of the security authorities shows you the true problem in education in Egypt.Our education system is being controlled by a police state mentality. This incident shows that ministers do not have any control in their ministries. The officials did not inform him back but they rather inform the security authorities that told him to burn the books. The ministry of education’s officials turned to be bureaucratic employees who do not have any knowledge or interest in reading a book.  
How can we raise generations that think , criticize and innovate when those who are responsible of putting the plans and strategies for education take orders from security to burn and ban books in the 21st century !?? Thoughts and books can not be fought like that. Banned books are available online and for free for God’s sake.
After the bonfire 
What is the difference between the ministry of education or the Egyptian government or the Egyptian
security authority to be precise and the Islamic State that burns books in order to fight thought ?? Why does the Egyptian regime fear books !? Young men are inspected in the checkpoints if serious books about politics or literature or religion are found with them.
We still remember what happened to that young man who had “1984” with him. My friends coming from abroad tell me that they are being asked by customs officers if they got books with them and what those books are about if they brought books from abroad !! Of course I do not hear any of those secular intellectuals who used to scream “Freedom of thought and expression” during the days of Mohamed Morsi speak now about this disaster. 
It is like we live in 1930s Germany with the same police/military/nationalist disastrous mindset that brought nothing except defeat and humiliation to the German people.
Why does the regime fear books !??

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