On the subject of pornography: what the politicians are up to


Don’t they realize that once they start prosecuting people for breaching these rules, this is just the beginning of a vicious downward cycle? And that there is a lot depending on such decisions?

Refaat Mohamed
19 November 2012

In most of western countries pornography is legal, or legal with some restrictions, which means that it is regarded as a legitimate business. However  this does not necessarily mean that it is a lovable activity, or something to be looked on with respect.

A great proportion of  the world’s population uses it, and yet we look down on those who work in the industry, and even the most liberal of us think deep down in our minds and hearts, “ I never want to see anyone close to me doing this”. But the point is, it gets easier and easier to watch pornographic material by the day, even in countries where pornography is not legal. 

Some countries have decided to put in the time,  the effort, and the BIG money, to take effective action actually banning porn, like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai, Iran ….etc. and lately our General Prosecutor Mr. Abd Elmaguid Mahmoud decided Egypt should be among those nations.

After the revolutions and the rise of the Islamist movements in Egypt, the talk about banning pornography and many other things, has taken place mostly among Salafis, and taken rather lightly by everyone else. That is why it was shocking when it was taken up from the opposing side, Abd Elmaguid Mahmoud, representing the “remnants of Mubarak’s regime”, a big sector of the judiciary system, which is allegedly fighting against the invasion, currently under weay, of the Muslim Brotherhood into all the different sectors of government. What is he up to?

Mahmoud was just fresh out of a clash with President Morsi, in which he emerged victorious, as Morsi tried unsuccessfully to throw him out of his job. Removing these Mubarak men from key positions has been a legitimate key demand for the revolution since day 1, but Morsi set about this in such a foolish way that he failed, failed to get the sympathy and the support of even the revolutionary movement and a cross section of political powers. What was worse -  Mahmoud came out of this as a hero, who is fighting against the tyranny of the Muslim Brotherhood, and for the independence of the judiciary system. So you have to ask yourself, why is he adopting a clampdown that his opponents would themselves highly recommend? In what way will this speed things up and get the public at large alienated faster from the current leadership?

Drugs, alcohol, pornography, and other things that conservative Islamists want to ban, are harmful things. But people should have the freedom, and the space to decide what to do about them. For instance, take the latest quarrel about a law for closing shops and restaurants, by 10 o’clock at night. Maybe this is generally a good thing! But the way to do it is not by enforcing it, and in turn forcing people to retire for the night early. Don’t they realize that once they start prosecuting people for breaching these rules, this is just the beginning of a vicious downward cycle? And that there is a lot depending on such decisions? But perhaps they do realize this?

You have a very high unemployment rate. Youth spend money, effort, and years of work, to graduate,. But there are no jobs. We have armies of law students, who have graduated only to be waiters. Those waiters may lose their lousy jobs that they hate, for the little wage they take, if you eliminate the night shift they work in. Even if they slog their guts out in this way, they can’t get married, because their wages are too little, and the marriage costs are way too high.  So they get frustrated. Then you get sexual harassment and rape, and then – well I am not sure that taking away their porn is a very wise idea. But nor is the alternative.

Offer the youth job opportunities, and the whole country will sleep at 10 o’clock, and the shops will close up early because they won’t have customers. When the youth work, in a decent economy where they earn a decent amount of money, that bears some relation to their expenses, they will get married and stop watching porn, and we will have a good economy, and will consume less, and produce more. And we will be able to have more political influence, and maybe some day we would be able to actually help with the violations on the Palestinian people.  Save Gaza – that’s what I want to say!


But then, perhaps that is what all these politicians understand very well…

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