By Abdel Rahim Ali
There is something in this country that makes life worth living.
Perhaps it is my mother’s prayers, my father’s bones in its soil, my family, or the big house.
Al-Bawaba … Yes, this dream that has occupied my mind for thirty years or more now.
When I faced the forces of darkness disguised in a religious cloak in the forgotten cities of Upper Egypt, such as Minya, Assiut, Sohag and Qena, I never lost my compass, nor did I bow to any wind.
I always viewed my country with my heart. There has always been a distinction inside me between the dominant homeland and the defeated homeland.
We were young, even less than 30, when we waged continuous battles.
My mind has never calmed down, even when the forces of darkness reached the pinnacle of power in Egypt.
Some people believed this would be the end of the race.
Nonetheless, I was a firm believer that something different would happen and that the future would always be pregnant with victory.
This was why my decision was clear from the very beginning. I said it in a loud, rattling voice: confrontation is the solution.
This would be a confrontation with the pen, the voice and the image. When the decisive moment came, the movement was in the streets and the alleyways, in offices and the homes.
My mind had not taken rest until the same forces of darkness became something of the past.
The whole story is still very vivid in my mind.
The dream started on Mahmoud Bassiouni Street in downtown Cairo in 1996. This dream included other important stations, including Champollion Street, Hoda Shaarawy, 3 Mossadeq Street, and finally Building no. 57 of the same street.
This was a long journey, one that exceeds a quarter of a century. It is one of a pursuit for my idea of building a civil research institution and a press entity that arms itself with awareness and free speech in the face of dark forces, the hijackers of homelands and the advocates of chaos.
My resolve never weakened. Some people aimed their arrows at me on all directions. Some of these people were very close to me.
They worked tooth and nail to impede my progress as I thought to fulfill my dreams for my country.
Now, the dream is entering its eighth year. I am proud of what I have achieved, along with my colleagues, brothers and sons, in those few years, since 1996 until now. This was when the dream was no more than a small office manned by three close friends. Now it has evolved into a large edifice that defends our homeland and its noble values.
It has become a huge structure that gallops confidently to seize the reins of leadership as the first Egyptian entity to establish a research center abroad.
We have branches in Paris, Hamburg and London that work day and night to confront the forces of darkness and their allies.
We conduct a constructive dialogue with Western thinkers and politicians, spreading awareness of the danger of those dark trends in Islamic thought that tried to steal our homelands in broad daylight.
Now, we are trying to convince Western societies to expel the toxins of these forces of darkness and eliminate them with help from some of their members.
As we enter our eighth year, we move forward with trust in God.
We are not bound by obstacles and our path is not distorted by force, no matter how ferocious it is.
We consider ourselves the conscience of the nation, as we have always been.
On this occasion, I wish al-Bawaba and all my colleagues who shared the same dream with me good luck and love.