The Chalybeate

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Samina Malik

What is our country becoming?

On 8th November, Samina Malik was found guilty of terrorist offences, and placed under house arrest for a month pending further sentencing. Yet, she had done nothing except have an imaginary life, and obtain a few books or manuals. She gave no funds to terrorists, she committed no terrorist acts. To jail her for Thought Crime is pure Orwell. She's only 23 years old, barely out of adolescence. She's a nerd, a dreamer, perhaps a fool, but hardly a terrorist.

We are banning books, making the possession of information a crime as bad as committing a real offence. It's not just, it's not reasonable, it takes away the presumption of innocence.

When I and my cohort were at a similar age, it was not unusual to be in possession of revolutionary tracts - Mao Tze-Dong's (Mao Tse-Tung's) Little Red Book, or Che Guevara's "Guerilla Warfare". In fact, they're probably still on my bookshelves somewhere, unread for thirty years. We had weaponry: knives, the odd airgun. But just because we read and dreamed of revolution, of smashing the system that we are now part of, didn't mean that we would actually DO anything about it. And we didn't. And neither did Malik.

If we jail her, then we create a martyr, and formalize a new crime: dreaming.



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