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Nahed Elbanhawy
Founder & Editor
The Egyptian Castle - since 1997

Freedom is a right for all and not a privilege!

Almost 20 years ago, the Provincial government in Canada decided to increase taxes, upsetting a lot of people living there and I was one of them.

Shortly after, I was enjoying a walk in the streets of beautiful Toronto with my family, when I saw the minister of Finance standing in front of the parliament giving a televised interview.   I started shouting at him, speaking up my mind,  making it very clear that I was one of the people expressing disappointment with the Tax increase.  

I am not exactly sure what it was?  Was I really that unhappy with the tax increase or was I just trying to test how far can I get away with addressing someone in power, giving him a piece of my mind without fear.  Maybe an assurance to myself that I could speak up freely with no one rushing to shut me up ...  I could say NO without being arrested ... I could just get it out and continue enjoying my walk with my family, knowing that I will get home safe without someone knocking on my door in the middle of the night.

The Finance minister who was not surrounded by bodyguards, secret service or police officers, simply smiled at me, heard what I said and off I went.  That was a waking call, hey, I really live in the Land of Freedom, Canada and NOT Egypt.  You can speak up your mind, confront officials at the highest level of government with your issues and no one will lash at you or think, let alone try to harm you.  

During my last trip to Egypt, you see people in the streets with so much misery, suffering and fear written all over their faces.  I met a lot of people who tried to express their feelings, but only once they made sure no one else was listening in.  Fear is the ruling rope around their necks, choking them with a slight relief of pressure,  just allowing them to continue living.  

Will my fellow Egyptians living in Egypt ever enjoy this freedom, I now take for granted?  Will they ever be able to speak up their mind anywhere and everywhere without having to whisper or look over their shoulders?  Will that ever happen in my lifetime to witness?  I pray to God it does.  Freedom is a right for all and not a privilege! 


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