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‘Syrians are not refugees, Egypt is their home’

June 11, 2019 at 3:39 pm

The Syrian revolutionary flag flew side by side in Tahrir Square with the Egyptian flag, during Egypt’s revolutionary period [Twitter]

An Egyptian social media campaign standing in solidarity with Syrian refugees has sparked on Twitter in response to lawyer Samir Sabry’s calls for new laws to strictly surveil Syrian business owners to prosecute “those who finance terrorism and hostility against their country”.

Sabry is notorious for his lawsuits accusing celebrities of “indecency”. He also accused Syrians of “invading” commercial areas in Egypt and driving up housing prices.

There are currently around 130,000 registered Syrian refugees in Egypt, according to the UN refugee agency, and they live in Egyptian communities rather than refugee camps.

There was an outpour of support on Twitter for Syrians in Egypt, in the form of a trending Arabic hashtag emphasising that they are welcome in Egypt.

Youssef Hussein, the Egyptian host of “Joe Show”, an Arabic talk show and political satire television programme, tweeted that Syrians “are not guests here [in Egypt], our home is your home”.

Khaled Awad tweeted: “Made by Syrian hands on Egyptian land. Syria and the Syrian people are in our hearts forever.”

While Makram Abdou wrote: “Who said these people [Syrians] are strangers here? We have the same customs and traditions, the same blood. Are hearts are one and the colours of our flags are one.”

Some drew on Egypt and Syria’s shared history: when the two countries formed the United Arab Republic in 1958 under President Gamal Abdel Nasser, a political union that lasted until 1961, and prayed for “maintaining love and unity always” between the Egyptian and Syrian people.

And when Damascus radio expressed solidarity with Egypt during the tripartite aggression on Egypt in 1956: “From Damascus, here is Cairo”, the radio presenter said.

And in 2011, when Egyptians took to the streets during their revolution holding both the Egyptian and Syrian flags in support of the uprising against Damascus.

This strong connection clearly transcends borders, as thousands have tweeted in solidarity with their fellow Syrians.

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