EGYPT: Emad El Dafrawi declares his refusal to the Military Service

emad“War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.” -- John F. Kennedy

My name is Emad El Dafrawi- 24 years old. I went to Cairo’s military conscription office in 2008 where I received a 3-year postponement for my military service. I was supposed to return to the conscription office on January 14th, 2012, but I decided not to go.

I’m a pacifist and anti-militarist, which means that the military activities including carrying arms and using violence contradict my beliefs. I consider myself a conscientious objector to the military service. I refuse to obey military orders and I believe that wars are crimes against humanity. Conflicts must be solved through the civilized peaceful means. War is a waste of money, destruction to infrastructure and causes psychological barriers between the peoples. Wars don’t benefit anyone but those who have interests in arms trade.

If I went to the conscription office again, it would mean that I may be transformed into a militarist. That means I have to execute any military orders even if they were immoral and contradict my beliefs such as occupying lands and killing peaceful demonstrators.

I refuse to serve in an army which kills and indecently assaults Egyptians and is standing against our freedom. I can’t accept to be in a place which would force me to antagonize a specific people. Conscription is slavery because it coerces me to do something I didn’t choose, as well as it violates my basic freedoms of movement and travel. I am totally against wasting the state budget in order to force youth to do activities contradicting their beliefs claiming that it’s a service to the society. Also the Egyptian army is an institution which discriminates against citizens based on gender, religion and local geographic origin. I can’t possibly belong to it. The army also established military places among residential areas in order to use civilians as human shields, subjecting our lives to danger.

I dream of the day when militarists wouldn’t have authority on civilians. I dream of the day when all the peoples have good relations with each other’s and that the law criminalizes all forms of wars or advocating for wars.

This is my opinion, I’m responsible for it and I bear the consequences of my stance.

Also translated in: Greek