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Front page headline calls for my assassination

In 2006, the Mubarak administration used its government controlled press to label me a spy and call for my assassination. Really!

"Eliminate the Spy" is basically what the headline above says, and if you look closely at the photo on the left, that's my face behind the gun-sight.

At the time, I was the first country director for IRI, an American NGO committed to democracy building, and we had just released our first Political Party assessment report. Needless to say it wasn't very favorable toward Mubarak's domineering NDP party.

National laws allowed for opposing parties to exist, but the government did everything else to prevent their effectiveness.

When we shined a spotlight on this, Mubarak's Foreign Affairs department suspended our activities, denounced me as a spy, and his cronies in Parliament called for my arrest.

Congress's threats to cut-back on Egypt's aid only made things worse. This headline became the final straw - as close to having a fatwah announced against me as I'd ever like to come - and put an end to my stay in Egypt.

Maybe this "highlight" is more like a low-light.

But at least now with revolutionary changes afoot, perhaps a return visit is in order to see my Egyptians friends and activists who couldn't leave as I did.

Those who stayed and made the difference.

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