A message from a scared Egyptian journalist

Tamer Abuarab’s article today under the title “A message from a scared person” offers strong insight into why we at CPJ decided to produce our upcoming documentary film, “Under Threat,” and make an appeal for journalists to speak out with the hashtag #EgyptLastWord.

Writing in Arabic on the news website Arabi 21 from Copenhagen, Denmark, where he is currently attending an exchange program, Abuarab reflects on the experiences of his imprisoned colleagues and admits he is frightened because of threats he recently received for his critical columns in Al-Masry al-Youm privately-owned daily newspaper and other news outlets. Eleven journalists were in jail in Egypt as of mid-September, according to CPJ research.

“I promise you, you are going to catch up with them [your imprisoned colleagues]. You are never going to see the sun again. You will regret the day you were born,” Abuarab says a commenter posted on one of his articles critical of Egypt’s government.

Abuarab worries that being imprisoned would prevent him from seeing his weeks-old daughter grow up and accompanying his parents to the doctor. He recalls his ailing father’s advice to “calm down and raise his kids,” but ultimately concludes that he will not compromise in his fight for a better Egypt.

“Yes I am afraid, but fear is not going to change my decisions or convictions,” Abuarab writes. “You live once, so either you live as you want or as others want you to live…. My fear for my children’s future requires that I work to establish a country where I don’t fear for them after I die.”