The military system in Egypt put borders for me. I'm living in exile. I can't go back to Egypt because I'm a human rights defender. From 2016 to 2019, we were working in human rights, advocating, convening about human rights violations in Egypt, participating in international events like UPR, Universal Periodical Report.
After this report and different reasons all related with human rights defending and advocating in Egypt, they arrested me and arrested my previous director. My director, he's still in jail. He completed, in September, three years in jail. I was lucky that for me it was only one month. I was very, very lucky they released me. But after that they started chasing me again.
I can't visit my country - I don't know until when. I didn't see my family since March, 2020.
This is my third year in exile. I spent two years and seven months in Lebanon before coming here to the US. I don't miss my country, I miss my family. Sometimes I feel really angry, that I hate to say that I miss this country that did all of that to me. But after that, I say it is not the country. It's a system.
I hope that people here will make any kind of effort to know about what is happening in Egypt. Second, I hope they help the people, because we're all human and we need to stand up with humans in every place, and help them in their cause, by talking and by making any pressure for this government to change their policies.
If I'm inside the Egyptian borders even though it's my country, I'm threatened. I believe there is nothing in this world called safety. No one feels safe until everyone is safe. Here kind of, in New Orleans, in Tulane University, I feel more safe.
--Islam Ahmed, Visiting Scholar in Middle East & North African Studies, School of Liberal Arts