To those questioning Mohammed Fahmy's patriotism

To those questioning Mohammed Fahmy's patriotism
Guest blog: Following the arrest of three Al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt, there was almost universal demands for their release. In Egypt, it was a different story.
3 min read
09 Feb, 2015
Mohammed and Fahmy were jailed in 2013 and released on bail on Thursday [Anadolu]

Al-Jazeera English's Egypt bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy stood with his colleagues - Peter Greste and Baher Mohammed - in an Egyptian courtroom, the accused listening to the accusations against them.

The prosecution accused the journalists of destabilising Egypt and threatening national security.

Outside the courtroom, daily life in Cairo went on as usual. The sun rose and set, the price of tomatoes went up, protesters died on the streets, and a famous belly dancer turned politician was running for parliament.

     Fahmy is a victim of a fascist regime that forces its citizens to choose between their homeland and their freedom.

While the al-Jazeera journalists slept in their cold and tiny cells, remembering life before they were arrested, the "honourable" citizens of Egypt sung patriotic songs from their homes and offices about their love for Egypt and fighting until the death to defend it.

Fahmy, a dual national, renounced his Egyptian nationality and is now just a Canadian. This manoeuvre was an attempt by Fahmy to win his freedom by becoming a foreign national and deported from Egypt, as Australian Greste recently was.

In Canada he could live freely and sing about his love for Egypt if he chooses to. 

During the trial and incarceration, many Egyptians called Fahmy a traitor. They accused him of betraying Egypt for working for al-Jazeera. The other side of the political coin said he was a traitor because he supported the 30 June demonstrations that led to the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi.

They also said this because his brother donated to the Tahya Masr Fund (Long Live Egypt), a campaign set up by the government to provide work for Egyptians. 

Fahmy was also denounced because he described local television presenter Wael al-Ibrashi as a "leading journalist" (may God forgive him). Fahmy is the most controversial of the detained journalists.

  Fahmy and Baher Mohammed were released on bail on Thursday,
to the relief of family, friends and colleagues

Fahmy is free to do what he likes, free to choose the nationality he wants, and free to say what he wants -this is a basic concept of personal freedom.

But the angry mobs have not spared him. Critics have used social media have called Fahmy "the traitor who sold his homeland", or called him "the traitor who left Egypt and its soldiers to die at home".

To all the people questioning Fahmy's patriotism: this is a man who has paid the price for his love for Egypt that he will never get back.

Fahmy is a victim of a fascist regime that forces its citizens to choose between their homeland and their freedom. He is a victim of the government settling its score with al-Jazeera.

Egypt is one big prison and Fahmy is leaving victorious and free. As for the people calling the journalists traitors and questioning their patriotism, they will keep on talking - more and more.

While you talk, Fahmy will be on his way to a country that truly understands what citizens' rights are, a country that has embraced Fahmy and made him a citizen and given him his human rights.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.