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Walls of Freedom Banned From Egypt

Years in the making, the first shipment of the long-anticipated collection of essays and art has been seized by Egyptian customs on the grounds that it 'instigates revolt'.

Curated and edited by Don Karl and Basma Hamdy, the crowdfunded book Walls of Freedom is a collection of 20 of Egypt's most influential artists whom, with their graffiti, turned many of the country's walls into artworks of resistance representitive of the revolutionary struggle. It also includes 20 essays on the cultural shift written by some of Egypt's most prominent artists, historians and activists including Mona El Tahawy, Ganzeer, Yasmine El Shazly, Sad Panda, Bahia Shehab and even a foreward by novelist and political commentator Ahdaf Soueif.

Having finally reached completion, Egypt's customs services in Alexandria seized 400 copies of the artistic book, banning in on the grounds that it "instigates revolt" according to the Ministry of Finance.

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,” and therefore a cause for concern.

After arriving from Germany, the books were supposed to be delivered to Dar al-Tanweer publishing house but have now been confiscated and transferred to prosecution services.

The action further portrays Sisi's reign as one of strict oppression on freedom of expression and 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; "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."

In Soueif's foreward for the book she wrote "The streets mattered. They were where we lived, met and talked; where we renewed our commitment to our ideas and to each other. In the streets we were at our strongest and our most vulnerable; it was in the streets that many of us were wounded, kidnapped, beaten – that some of us died. But in the streets we were together; each one of us was out there doing everything we could to push the revolution forward, and to reaffirm also - to re-experience - the certainty we carried in our hearts: I am not alone. I am one small part of something amazing, of a massive movement of humanity with a common will towards the good."

This latest action only furthers to take the power and education on the history of the revolution from the people who were part of it, into the hands of the goverment.


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