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Exodus from Egypt

Even the Merit Publishing House founder and director, Mohamed Hashem, decided to leave Egypt. He posted what could only be described as a departure speech on his Facebook page last Wednesday: "I would not have left it if it weren't for the repulsiveness there."

Hashem also wrote; "I respect Al-Sisi's role in supporting the people's revolution in June 30th and his confrontation of political Islam terrorism," but he also said that he refuses to "join the chorus deifying Colonel Al-Sisi" and believes that "it is shameful of us to have rejected the military rule in the past and now seek it."

Hashem also expresses feelings of "sadness and pain to join a large number of our great writers and intellectuals in promoting the military solution as the sole and magic solution as well as committing national treason equal to religious disbelief at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood."

I believe the beginning of this article is needed to explain the feelings and positions of many individuals opposed to the military coup since its announcement on the basis of principle. They do not respect Al-Sisi's role in overthrowing the elected civilian president, Dr Mohamed Morsi, they reject the army's interference in politics and favouring the demands of "the people" who elected Dr Morsi and still see him as the sign of legitimacy because this is considered a coup against democracy. Moreover, they do not accept the description of "political Islam" or the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorism and terrorists without any proof.

I am not against the people's protest on June 30th or any other day, or against their demands for early presidential elections. However, the fact that Dr Morsi did not meet their demands immediately does not warrant resorting to a military coup, accepting its crimes, forgetting the demands they made on June 30, and reducing the matter to a battle aiming to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood, the strongest political faction in Egypt which wins every legislative and presidential election.

The rejection of President Morsi's rule, or the Brotherhood's authority, should not be achieved through a military coup seeking to remove an Egyptian political party and sabotage the democratic experience of the January 2011 revolution. Instead, it should be achieved through the ballot boxes, like any other democracy, because we are new to democratic reigns and will not invent them.

I would now like to talk about my feelings, experience, and forced decision to leave Egypt recently.

I was born and lived in Kuwait for 18 years. Then I decided to go back to study in a university in Egypt, and resolved not leave unless there were better work opportunities.

However, after the July 3rd coup, life in Egypt became unbearable for me, as I was watching the January revolution and all the dreams associated with it being lost and the new-born democracy being killed. Moreover, I witnessed those opposing the coup being killed, detained, or persecuted amidst an ugly state of craziness, incitement, and treason. The killing of Egyptian citizens opposed to the coup in cold blood was being justified.

I began to feel the intolerable injustice and the spread of disgusting hatred in the air, either from the statements made by the leaders, the media outlets, or even from the people we considered to be the elite, human rights activists, and even ordinary citizens. Many repeated the lies they heard, day and night, unconsciously or with a dead conscience. Then I began receiving threatening phone calls, the first of which was on July 10th after I wrote a tweet on the passing of a week since the arrest of the elected president Dr Mohamed Morsi.

Then began the slander and treason campaigns against me in the newspapers, media, Facebook, and Twitter. There were calls for my arrest and throwing me into a jail cell, but this was met with a disappointing silence by those who I considered to be my friends, human rights activists, and even the current head of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, Diya' Rashwan.

All this had happened because I am against the military coup, against making accusations against the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamists, or anyone for that matter without having evidence; and against accusing Egyptian citizens of treason because they oppose the coup.

On a professional level, there are no newspapers or television stations, neither private nor state-run, that I could work in because of my position and I will not change my convictions no matter what it costs me. Moreover, I do not want to change my career after over 25 years in journalism and media to live in a big prison full of hatred and injustice.

This is my personal decision, but it is forced and hard, and even this choice is being criticised by some who are now no longer understanding the freedom to make bitter choices.

I am not telling or asking all the Egyptians to leave, but Egypt after a coup that is the opposite of the January revolution, is driving out many, some of whom are not even opposed to the coup. Mohamed Hashem is an example of this. I am left wondering, "what does the word homeland mean?" and it brought the poem by Farouq Jwaideh to mind: "This country no longer seems like mine."

I hope to see Egypt again soon.

The author is an Egyptian journalist and contributor to MEMO

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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