For over two weeks, I have been crafting the words you are now reading. Reflecting on my journey of leaving journalism after being banished from my home to remain safe, I had a strange feeling of hope – which was further intensified by my colleague’s proposal to capture my experience through this new project ‘Zawia3’ (A third angle). Seeking to transform the traditional, politically influenced journalistic style, Zawia3 is a project without financial backing.
Years in exile, and twelve since the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, when many of us were imprisoned, tortured, or driven into exile for this dream of freedom. Back then, I thought that if I worked diligently as a journalist, I could bring about a meaningful change. As a result, I wrote hundreds of news pieces and investigations published in ‘opposition’ or ‘independent’ newspapers. Unfortunately, the state’s security forces eventually intervened, forcing most of these newspapers to close down.
My primary goal has always been to fight for the rights of my people. I wanted to demonstrate their necessity and help them access basic freedoms like health, education, and more. Journalism opened many doors for me and provided me with a platform to achieve this. But when it came to an end, the world of Cinema looked more promising and allowed me to create something new. I still love journalism, and my passion continues, although we are exhausted. I have witnessed how the oppressive regime has broken us in many ways. Nevertheless, we keep soldiering on, ensuring we don’t lose hope or give up. Therefore, I decided to return to writing as a testament to our will and resilience!
When we look back at the 2011 revolution, it is clear that we were fighting for press freedom, political freedom, and the ability to air dissenting opinions. Sadly, President Sisi continues what Mubarak started and has created a near-impossible landscape for those trying to make their voices heard. Journalism has been criminalized, and activists and journalists alike have suffered brutalities. There is a stark absence of any representation of the people’s pain, rights, suffering, and ambitions in both the parliaments and the media.
In the wake of this repressiveness, people like artists, professionals, unionists, students, workers, and human rights activists struggle to create some space to be heard. To truly fulfil this need, they must be equipped with protection, security training, and legal support to defend their voices. They must also have access to psychological support to get over the trauma they have endured and job prospects to meet their basic needs and continue the work.
These past twelve years have been marked by repression, but that hasn’t stopped people from dreaming and striving for a better future. Hopefully, with the help of ‘Zawia3’, we can turn these dreams into a reality from a ‘third angle’.