Sabreen Diab, a Palestinian journalist and reporter for al-Arabi newspaper, was recently subjected to a humiliating interrogation at Cairo International Airport–by Israeli security agents.
Upon returning home, Diab called me to explain how she had been mistreated on her way out of Egypt. In the afternoon, I received a letter from her elaborating how she felt about the incident. The following are excerpts of what she wrote:
I insist on returning to my beloved Cairo despite the psychological and physical harassment I was subjected to in the airport at the hands of Israeli security officers. I would also like to schedule another meeting with you, even though I still don’t know when my next visit will be. It might take a while for I need time to heal. But perhaps early preparation for my next visit could help me pull myself together faster.
Frankly, I’m both sad and angry because I lost my composure and started to cry in front of them [the Israeli security officers]. They saw me break down as they stripped me of my clothes. But I remained stronger than them as they rummaged through my luggage and carried out a thorough search. It seemed they were even suspicious of the fruit I had in my bags. I was again stronger than them when they bombarded me with endless questions. I only cried because I’m human, first and foremost. It was a cruel experience, especially when Egyptian security personnel left me alone to face the Israeli interrogators.
Don’t let the Egyptian regime fool our people and create the illusion that Egypt enjoys sovereignty; they are liars. My dear sir, forgive me, you and all the free people in Cairo whom I’ve grown to cherish and therefore feel obliged to visit again. Visiting Cairo is like a national duty, one that I have to fulfill. They wanted to humiliate and break me down on a land that I hold dear just like my own. Little do they know that my love for this land is genuine. It will live on no matter how low the defenders of this pseudo-sovereignty will stoop.
I cannot accept an apology from any free Egyptian, for they too deserve an apology.
Please accept my deepest regards.”
The letter speaks for itself. I never would have imagined that the Egyptian regime could compromise its sovereignty to such an extent, whereby Cairo International Airport now seems as if it were Ben Gurion Airport.
I hope some of heads of the Egyptian regime will read this letter. They are so keen on defending Egypt’s “sovereignty” against international election monitors, saying that having foreign observers for the November 28 race would constitute an attack on national integrity and an unacceptable meddling in internal affairs. Yet they are not the least disturbed by incidents as such as this one described by Diab.
It is these incidents that really strip Egypt of it dignity.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.