On 31 March 2018 (10 days ago) the Egyptian religious conservative Al-Nour party has filed a blasphemy claim against me. Their Salafi lawyer named Haitham Hashim Saad has filed a complaint with the public prosecutor, accusing me of assaulting the Islamic religion and shariah, disturbing the public peace, provoking strife among society, denying the definite truth of Islam and criticizing the Prophet Mohammed.
For those who don’t know i’ve been charged with similar charges on 2013 even-though i didn’t make any videos back then. I was charged just because i defended gay rights in front of my professor in college and for that i was sentenced to one year of hard labor. After that i had the chance to leave the country but i didn’t want to, i chose to stay, and instead of defending gay rights in front of my class i wanted to do it in front of millions by making YouTube videos. And i did. I collected all the money i have and bought a camera and other studio equipment. After my first video which was about homosexuality i lost almost all of my relatives including my mother and siblings. No one wanted to talk to me. But i kept going. I changed my place, lived alone and started making new videos about different other controversial topics in the Arab world, topics very few dared to discuss while living in Egypt. And with every couple of videos i make i had to change where i live because i fear that someone in this place might have recognized me. I refused to appear in any TV shows or interviews because of the fear of being caught or harmed. Onetime in 2016 i accepted an invitation to Germany to attend the Global Media Forum and even-though a lot have asked me to stay there but i didn’t want to and instead came back to Egypt. For me it was never about seeking a better life for myself but making others feel safe here. I found that me staying here gives others the courage to come out and a little bit of safety. That’s the main reason i always preferred not to leave no matter how hard it gets.
Now since i heard the news about the new charges and i feel lost. It’s been 10 days already and i don’t know what my next steps should be. The blasphemy charges can put me behind pars for 5 years easily. But it won’t stop at that, i’ve read comments from another Muslim lawyers on my facebook account stating that they will add more years “up to 15 years” to my sentence by filling other complaints and charges from other videos of mine after i get arrested.
Here’s the complaint that was submitted to the public prosecutor:
Since i heard the news i changed where i live, again. and then thought about whether it’s the time to leave this place or not. I don’t like the feeling of running away. I don’t like when i see fanaticism wins and i don’t like leaving Egypt knowing that there’re hundreds of thousands here who’re silenced because they fear some fanatics like Saad.
To leave or not to leave?
I’m lost between two very hard choices..
- Either to leave this war field and live with the feeling of giving up.
- Or to stay and risk spending many years in prison not knowing when i’ll get out and whether i’ll be safe inside this whole time or not. What makes things worse is that i only have till 20 May next month to decide. If not, then i won’t be able to leave Egypt no matter what “even if i have a visa” for 5 years. “this has to do with the military recruitment rules“.
After a lot of overthinking for the past 10 days and even-though i’m leaning on leaving but i still can’t decide. Staying here is extremely dangerous for me and i don’t want to live my life in fear anymore. I’ve spent many years of my life fearing the knocking on the door, the walking sound on the stairs wondering if it’s the police this time or maybe some jihadist who knew where i live. I’m tired of having nightmares about my time in jail. It’s a very exhausting and painful experience and it can destroy anyone physiologically. This’s basically not a life.
How can you help?
All i need at the moment is your advice and your financial support. Staying here costs and leaving costs way more. So if you can and willing to help in any of the scenarios here’s my Patreon account that you can support me on: patreon.com/sherifgaber
- You don’t need a monthly support if you don’t want to. You can simply decrease or delete your pledge after u donate. But no matter how much your support is, know that it can help me get through this and make this whole chaos a little bit easier.
When will i be able to upload more videos?
I wish i can tell but i don’t know. I’ve many important video ideas in mind and most of them are ready to be made but i’m not able to produce them in the mean time. I tried last week but i couldn’t do it. So i’m pausing it for now till i know what my next step will be. If i left, then i’ll start making videos as soon as i’m in a safe place. If i didn’t, then i’ll make them here and i won’t care what can happen to me.
I’ll follow your comments here, but u can also Email me at: [email protected]