Egyptian writer and novelist Alaa Al-Aswany announced yesterday that he has stopped writing for the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, citing a lack of freedom.
Al-Aswany, who has been a key supporter of the July 3 military coup, complained, via Twitter that he could no longer hold critical views: “Only one opinion, one thought, one speech can be allowed… criticism and differences in opinion are forbidden. Only praising is allowed, at the expense of truth.”
He condemned the banning of a TV series written by Belal Fadl and starring Amr Waked, Basma and Hisham Selim. The show, entitled Ahl Eskendereya (The People of Alexandria), has reportedly been banned due to its criticism of the repressive practices by the police in Egypt.
The writer expressed solidarity with Fadl, saying: “The Belal I know will not be intimidated and will not change.”
Al-Aswany was a staunch supporter of the military’s overthrow of the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi. He toured the world to defend the coup and portray it as “a popular revolt”. He also supported the massacre of peaceful protesters at Rabaa on August 14 last year.
He ends his articles with the motto: “Democracy is the solution.”
The military regime that followed the ouster of Morsi has gradually extended its repression to include secular and leftist figures who initially supported the coup.