The revocation of Egyptian nationalities has made to the headlines quite a few times recently. From Mohamed Soltan who was deported to the US on May 30 upon revoking his Egyptian nationality, to Mohamed Fahmy, the AJ journalist who revoked his Egyptian nationality in hopes of regaining his freedom after over a year in prison, public responses have varied quite greatly.
But while both instances are related to legal discourse, other Egyptian youth who still greatly enjoy their freedom have various takes on the matter as well.
Ahmed Abouzayed, 27, Architect
Before the revolution, I used to think of moving to Australia where I can start anew. But when the revolution erupted, my mindset started to change. Yet to be honest, I still revisit the nationality issue every now and then, wishing I could leave.
Revoking my nationality though is a tricky matter because if I had a dual nationality, I probably wouldn’t be using my Egyptian one. But if I were asked to pick, I would then revoke it.
This country hasn’t done anything for me. Even when my father was in trouble in a foreign country, the Egyptian side didn’t come to his aid, but rather a third party who intervened and helped him out.
I can’t judge anyone who revokes his nationality because that’s a relative matter and depends on the conditions which lead him to such decision. Maybe they’re escaping injustice or fleeing a failed national system. Whatever the reason, they have the right to be able to turn over a new leaf elsewhere.
Sarah Chédid, 25, Gymnast and Engineer
Given I already hold another nationality, I won’t ever give up my Egyptian nationality. It isn’t because Egypt is a piece of heaven, but because whatever [mess] happens in Egypt also happens in other countries across the world, and sometimes even worse. The only difference is that the spotlight is always directed at any turbulence taking place in Egypt, whereas abroad, corruption keeps a low profile.
It is understandable that people would do anything to secure a better life and a better future for themselves and their families, but there must be limits to everything. It is one thing to make some compromises to achieve certain good, but if you easily give up any value you ever held, then you stand up for nothing. There must be principles, and one must hold on to them.
Anonymous, 27, Freelance Journalist
I would revoke it in a heartbeat provided I don’t have to live in this country anymore.
I think that a person who revokes his Egyptian nationality is a hero, (not Sultan though, he’s hypocrite.) But any other would be a hero.
I’d give my Egyptian nationality up because it’s always a potential hazard. And I don’t take pride in “nationalism” and all that nonsense.
For me, nationalism is an artificial social construct of a bygone era that was made to be a vehicle of propaganda for pure political purposes. But there is nothing organic about nationalism and it doesn’t mean anything.
We are all human. It doesn’t matter what the colour of your passport is.
Anonymous, 24, MA Student
I wouldn’t give up my Egyptian nationality. Part of me is still proud to be Egyptian. We have a great heritage which I will always be proud of.
Ideally, I would like to have a dual citizenship. That would be perfect for situations when holding an Egyptian passport might cause me harm, impose unnecessary difficulties, or even humiliate me.
The benefits of having a dual citizenship is beyond travel and the privileges the passport earn you. There are other aspects such as knowing that my family and myself would be safe if anything happens in my country [Egypt].
Even though I believe everyone is free to make their own choice on such matter, I do think that they’d regret it at some point when they realize how great Egypt is.
Dina Kamal, 24, Line Producer
I wouldn’t revoke my nationality. I prefer not to judge because everyone has his/her own reasons. But in general, I see it as giving up a part of your identity and your roots which I believe is wrong. After all, you won’t belong to the other nationality no matter what and people will still treat you as a ‘stranger’ most of the time.
Anonymous, 30, Engineer
This is a very tricky question. I used to think I knew the answer until 2013.
Back then I would have not thought of revoking my nationality. I would have even blamed those who do. But now, it is quite different, and I can fully understand the reasons why people look forward to it. Especially with the way the country’s youth are being treated.
Even though such decision is quite situational, our beloved country and its leadership play a core part in the changing mindset of the youth. Things have changed.
Now, the youth are being killed in cold blood. Previously, it used to be being ignored or underestimated, or even detained until you find an insider to get you out of trouble. Now, you’ll get killed straight away.
Anonymous, 27, Pharmacist
Loving a country is in one’s heart. It has nothing to do with which passport you hold. Passports as good as the privileges they give you.
Personally, I think such decision [to revoke your nationality] depends on the situation. It’s quite hard to certainly say, because it’s always different in theory than it is in actual life.
It mostly goes back to whether you can withstand the situation or not, psychologically, emotionally and physically.
You can’t judge anyone unless you have their exact same mindset, and have been through the exact same situations which will never happen.
Nevertheless, I believe giving up your nationality will cause some sort of remorse. It isn’t an easy thing to do, to cut off your roots. It’s a matter of identity. It’s part of who you are and where you belong.
I wasn’t raised in Egypt, and it wasn’t till college that I returned, but nevertheless, I always had this bond with the country.
Even though I’m unhappy with the country, but whenever one thinks that they may travel for good, weird emotions come up.