The biggest conflict between the realm of art and the government in Egypt transpired in the mid-to-late 1990s and was known across the Middle East as "the days of Satanism." Thousands of heavy metal fans had formed a subculture that was perceived, and treated, as a threat to the Egyptian government. Long hair, loud and incomprehensible music, and a rebellious attitude echoed society's repressed demand for self-expression and liberation. Thousands of metal fans, from rich and poor families alike, were arrested and faced the possibility of execution under charges of apostasy, as converting from Islam to another religion (Satan worship!) is punishable by death. The metal-fans-cum-prisoners were finally freed after approximately three months. One of the victims of this event joined the growing community of bloggers committed to exposing government corruption and police brutality. While his blogs have been read internationally, more importantly he has helped build local networks intent upon raising awareness and mobilizing the dissent visible in the streets of Cairo today.
P.S., February 8, 2011: More news stories on the same topic are linked in this Facebook note.