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Sara Ghorab, Writer

Controversial Writer Sara Ghorab

If you’ve ever complained that work was tough, you might reconsider saying that in the future after learning about Writer Sara Ghorab. When she started her professional career in journalism and wrote her first article, her parents took extreme measures to disown her. Now her travels take her around the US and to the far off lands of Egypt where she interviews human rights lawyers, other journalists, filmmakers, and activists. She takes all of her interviews with extreme precaution as she’s had run-ins with violent interviewees in the past. When Sara’s not writing, organizing a rally, or blogging, she finds herself working on her new project – PickAProblem.org – a site that encourages its visitors to discuss, collaborate and propose solutions to help pressing issues in the world today. Take a moment to learn the inner workings of Sara Ghorab as we feature her in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.


Currently where my work gets published: http://saraghorab.wordpress.com (my blog) http://www.pickaproblem.org (an experiment I’m trying!) www.annaqed.com www.copts.com www.americandaily.com www.xculturemag.com

Name, Title

Sara Ghorab, Writer

Current residence

I have a home in Cairo that I spend a lot of time in but I am something of a jet-setter.

Work Experience

I have done everything! From retail to being a model for art classes (not that kind!) to being a freelance designer to my now-stint as a writer.



What’s your background?

I am a lean, mean writing and fighting machine! What do I fight for? Equality, human rights, liberty, freedom and lots of other things that EVERY human with a brain should long for, and EVERY human (brain or no) deserves.

I write articles that appear on Annaqed, Copts United, U.S. Copts Association, The American Daily, X Culture Magazine and Photo X Quarterly as well as several others.

I was recently created and designed a site to foster global discussion about allL the big issues (and the little ones, too) –it’s at

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

Every day is different. Some days I spend all day on the phone to Egypt or Canada or the U.S. (or wherever I’m not at the moment) interviewing people or being interviewed. I talk to human rights lawyers, journalists, filmmakers, editors, activists and more.

Other days I work with various organizations in various capacities–organizing rallies, working on graphics for websites, etc.

Days, like today, I spend the entire day on a particular cause, reading (ok, ‘skimming’ in some cases) several hundred articles and doing research for an article I’ll soon be working on.

Interestingly, I’ve had to do some pretty cloak and dagger things to get some of my interviews, or to get out of tight spots.

One time, I had to feign illness and run to the restroom and put on a wig and lose my shoes in order to escape from an interviewee that got violent when I innocently asked him a leading question about his religion (I know you’re wondering where I got the wig from, but I’ve learned that being prepared is the only way to stay alive!)

More frequently though I am in the trenches, traveling between several time zones, staying with a different friend/colleague every night.

Most notable milestones

Getting to be a columnist for Annaqed.com. This was a true honor.

What’s the niche?

The fact that I’m fearless in my writing. I tell it like it is. If something is not right, I’m going to tell you that, back it up with facts and logic, and then make a few suggestions on how to turn the beat around.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Very truthfully, it’s the safety issue. I cover subjects that some people aren’t comfortable with broaching, and I think it’s very fair to say that my mouth has gotten me into trouble more than, oh, a hundred times. Sometimes I just get hate mail or nasty comments, but occasionally, I strike such a nerve that I get actual threats. And contrary to the claims that I’m anti-this or anti-that, I pride myself on using logic to solve problems, and being as neutral as possible (given the topic).

Am I scared that I’ve criticized the Egyptian Government, the Muslim Brotherhood, Atheism and the Coptic Orthodox Church? Yes and no. YES I’m scared (well, concerned) that people will take my comments out of context and not see the big picture of what I’m saying and write me off without accurately knowing what I’ve said. But NO, I don’t think my escapades warrant the bodyguards that sometimes accompany me on trips and in my home.

What’s in store for the future?

Right now, my pet project is the case of Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman, the Egyptian blogger who got three years in prison for insulting Islam and another for dissing Mubarak (the president). I am exploring collaborations with writers and other activists and looking into the internet freedom thing in the Middle East. Also, I’m the de facto leader of pickaproblem.org, which I mentioned before–I really want the site to grow and be full of problems and solutions that we can put into practice at some point!

Who would you like to be contacted by?

I would be so happy if people would go to pickaproblem.org and tell me what they think the top 3 or 10 problems are in the world. Or just tell me one. Tell me how you think it should be solved. Join a discussion, start one, get involved!

For the record, I focus on religion, religious freedom, human rights, unjust punishment and death, women’s rights, internet and journalistic freedom issues, sharia, among others.

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Best way to keep a competitive edge

Do your homework! The info is out there if you just seek it out. There’s no excuse for making mistakes because of laziness or not caring. If you don’t care enough to look into something, don’t waste your time on the venture, be it school, work, writing, shopping, whatever. I would never advise a young person to do something half-heartedly and go back later to fix it. Too much work and hassle. One thing that drives me crazy is when people do something wrong the first time and then take more time fixing it than they would have if they did it right the first place!

Guiding principle in life

Decide what you want and then get in there and GET it!

Goal yet to be achieved

My first big goal is to have a syndicated column in a newspaper or magazine. It’s nice to be a freelance writer, because then you have freedom, but then there’s also no stability. You don’t have a stable audience (unless they look for you) who can get to know your voice and your personality through your work.

Another goal is having my work on freekareem.org! Since my work is generally critical of the Egyptian government and their dependence on Islamic Sharia law, I don’t think I’m too popular over there, but Kareem (the Egyptian blogger) is a friend of a friend and I’ve always had a soft spot for freedom of expression.

Best practical advice

Keep plugging away and it’ll happen for you!

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

My dear friend Z is a great force for good in my life. Very supportive. My family is more scared for my safety, but I’m young and driven and forward-thinking, I guess you could say, and spit into the windstorm of fear!


I admire Michelle Malkin, Mona Eltahawy, Daniel Pipes, Wafa Sultan, Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman, and every single person alive who fights for the rights of others.

What motivated you to get started?

As I mentioned earlier, Alaa’s arrest got me started. But then Hala Masreya (another Egyptian “Citizen Journalist”) had problems. Then Kareem. I couldn’t sit idly by, so I did what I did best, I talked, and people listened. Suddenly, my humble blog posts appeared as articles in many places, and I, encouraged, began submitting them to venues that published work by people I knew or worked with or whatever.

Like best about what you do?

Touching so many people at one time, getting my thoughts on paper and trying to make a difference.

Like least about what you do?

The road to making changes isn’t always easy, and 99 doors are slammed in our face for every one that opens.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A Philanthropist!

What was your first job?

Executive assistant.

Biggest pastime outside of work

My whole life is work, but that’s cool because my job is fun! I do like watching foreign films, learning new skills, designing shoes, cooking, doing my girlfriends’ makeup for them (they need it!), doing online research and spending time with my family and friends.

Leader in business most interested in meeting

Donald Trump, because I need to learn his skills and make millions and then donate it all to bribing Egyptian State Security, or at least forcing them through sensitivity training so they would stop raping people with broom handles and hanging them up by their toes and other sensitive bits.

Three interesting facts about yourself

1. My family disowned me with my first article
2. “Ghorab” is actually my middle name
3. I push “stop” on the DVD player remote control before my fave characters die on-screen, or stop reading a book at the best part (if I’ve read it before) so I can preserve the happy moments in my heart and mind.

Three characteristics that describe you

1. Honest
2. Straightforward
3. Big Mouth 🙂

Three greatest passions

1. Politics
2. Analysis
3. Writing

Favorite book

“Anyone You Want Me To Be” and “The Gift of Fear”

Favorite cause

Free-Quality (meaning “freedom” and “equality”)

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Interview by Myriam Bouaziz
Introduction by Sumaya Kazi
Edited by Sumaya Kazi

Also this week

Edward MallillinAlex VasquezDevaraj Southworth

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