Our youth leader returned this week from a conference in Turkey with leaders from all over the Middle East. He reported that the Egyptians are very excited about what is happening in their country. They believe that the time for change has finally come. All over the Middle East the people are crying for freedom.
I am reminded of the wisdom of Solomon who said in Proverbs 29: 2 that “when the wicked man rules, the people groan.” It was only a matter of time before the peoples of the Middle East rose up in order to cast off the chains of censorship, deceit and violence imposed on them by corrupted leaders.
Many people are not aware of the total control the Middle East strong men have over their people. In order to keep their grip on the public, these regimes hold absolute control over the news. In countries like Egypt, journalists are prohibited from publishing anything that the government does not agree with. They cannot even report on or discuss the government leader’s health. They are not allowed to discuss industrial accidents, natural disasters or the prevalence of Avian influenza without government approval. Newspapers in Egypt are scrutinized by government appointed censors for every paper published before it hits the streets.
None of these countries are interested in protecting freedom of speech.
People cannot even speak openly about how they think about their country, its leaders or policy. When foreign journalists visit these countries, it is always with a government or military escort. These journalists must then report back to the government on what they want to write before it is published. This is what is so exciting for the people of Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and around the Middle East. They are shouting their complaints on the city streets.
It seems that the new technologies are presenting a real challenge to the Middle East. Mobile phones and internet access are making it more and more difficult to control the news. It is practically impossible to block all mobile telephone and internet communications though they have tried.
Video-sharing and social networking websites are all victims of Middle East government censors, although China is the leader in this field. China regularly shuts down services to prevent people from speaking out. In the Middle East nations were apparently caught unprepared by the technology, but also at just how unhappy their people are. It is amazing to me to now hear about the opposition and anger at Middle East government policies that has been silenced for decades.
Clearly modern technology is making it more and more difficult to control or censor the news. Perhaps the day has arrived when corrupt governments, fascist leaders and violent terror groups fear exposure from the wide-spread use of digital media. In today’s world, anyone with a mobile phone in his pocket is a potential reporter.
I stand in awe at the courage and resolve of our Middle East neighbors to bring change to their nations. In Egypt, Libya and all across the Middle East the people are so fed up with their corrupt leaders they are willing to die to make a change. I can certainly identify with them. I salute them.
Many in the West are concerned that even more radical groups will fill in the gap left by these revolutions and take over the country. God only knows. In the meantime the people are rising up against the corrupt and evil leadership. They want better lives, not more terror. This is what the people in these nations are crying out for and this is what they told our youth leader. We should all stand with them in prayer and support in their battle for change.