The well-known opposition leader Ahmed Tantawi has appeared in an interview with the BBC Arabic, for the first time after his sudden departure to Lebanon on 13 August.
The resigned head of Egypt’s Karama Party, Ahmed Al-Tantawy, confirmed that he was indirectly banned from writing in Egypt, by blocking the Almanassa website, on which he used to publish his articles on a weekly basis
Tantawi also implied that he was subjected to a kind of pressure related to the “closest people” in his social circle.
Al-Tantawi has recently appeared in an interview with Rasha Kandil on BBC Arabic, for the first time after his sudden travel to Lebanon on 13 August, which raised questions about the reasons for his departure.
Al-Tantawi indicated that the indirect ban means “to turn into a burden on a media means that be exposed to ban and blocking … I will not be happy to deprive the Egyptian reader of a newspaper that provides him a good service at a time when good journalism is rare”, referring to the al-Manassa website, which was blocked after publishing Tantawi’s article on the mechanisms of removal of the president.
On 14 July, the Egyptian authorities blocked the al-Manassa website inside Egypt for the 13th. time since the regime began blocking independent press websites in 2017, without any legal basis, and without any official or security authority clearly declaring responsibility for it, following the al-Manassa website’s publication of an article by Tantawi titled “How to Impeach and Prosecute the President of the Republic?”.
Al-Tantawi explained that he did not abandon Egypt or withdrew, adding, “I traveled but I did not leave, as I am not the person that surrenders to threats or allows to be deported,” noting that he is in Beirut for study.
About receiving threats, Tantawi said, “My life is in the hands of the One and Only (God) who created me. The utmost thing that humans can do is to enforce God’s will,” alluding to existence of pressures of targeting his father and mother and those that he described as “harming the closest and dearest people in the circle of my human relations. This is a kind of pressure, and it is effective to break my heart, but it cannot break my will.”
Asked about why the Egyptian authorities allowed him to leave through the airport without being banned, the resigned head of the Egyptian Karama Party said that he was abused as a result of his critical stances towards the authority. They told me “We won’t make a champion out of you.”
Qandil interrupted him, saying that “Some believe that you are being prepared as a front for the upcoming elections or as an alternative to people who were a front in previous elections.”
Al-Tantawi replied, “Would I agree with the authority to refute its allegations and say that its performance is the worst in Egypt’s history during at least in the last 200 years?”
Al-Tantawi accused the regime of doing the worst it could, stressing that he would not be a partner, ally, or supporter of this authority, whether it will stay in power for a long or a short time, pointing out that the authority wants to involve everyone in a political maneuver with the aim of beautifying the scene.