Last November, Kareem wrote three letters while he was held in prison. Below is the translation of the first letter.
Many thanks to Ismail El-Naggar, who translated it to English. You can read the Arabic version here: رسالة من خلف القضبان.
blog comments powered by Disqus
A Letter from Behind Bars
I started writing these words shortly after I was brought back from the prosecution. I had been detained for two days at the cell of the Moharram Bek Police Station, after the General Prosecution ordered that an investigation be opened with me for my viewpoints published on the Internet. Today, the prosecution ordered my detention for fifteen days. Surprisingly, I’ve been detained at the same place with suspected drug dealers, drug addicts, thieves, and killers just for freely expressing my views. I had never taken into consideration that this may be regarded as a crime that would cause my detention in extremely poor conditions, unsuitable even for beasts and livestock. Such inhumane conditions are imposed by force upon a man whose sole fault is that he openly, frankly, and transparently expressed his inner self.
I am not sad! I will never let them have the chance to psychologically ruin me by such arbitrary acts, which are mastered only by idiots. Such idiots have rigid thoughts with no power to stand firm against any free thinking that challenges well-established truths. They resort to full violence and cruelty to suppress it – an expression of their inability to confront it with counter thinking. The aim is to silence the voice of birds singing outside their own herd. They will never achieve such a goal!
Day after day, this impotent trick, adopted by Al-Azhar University by employing its barbaric and foolish acts, proves that Al-Azhar is nothing but an environment that spreads backwardness and ignorance. In addition, it keeps urging people to be satisfied with their disgraceful conditions. This is done through discouraging them from thinking, through disrupting their minds, and through chasing those who use their minds in questioning what is illogically imposed on them.
I announce, from my detention cell, that nothing and no one will ever make me submit. Even when my hands are in chains and my freedom of movement is denied, this will only make me stronger and more stubborn in my confrontation with the enemies of mankind disguised under the cover of religion.
My day was hard indeed. I was transferred from the cell to the prosecution while my hands and the hands of two other prisoners were tied together in chains. One of my hands was released, and the other remained tied to the hand of one of the two prisoners unti the session came to an end. I was then brought back again to the cell. I cannot withstand the weather around me, as I’m detained at an underground cell that has only two windows. The breath of fresh air is an extremely difficult task through such windows. Furthermore, since my detention on Monday, I could not use the water closet because it simply does not befit human beings. However, all of this will never make me abandon, even for a moment, any of my convictions that I have expressed and which have lead to my imprisonment.
In the aftermath of my release last year, I wrote some words that I still remember: That the human being experiences plights and misfortunes that either make him submissive and weaken his stubbornness or that strengthen him. I’m fully certain that my current plight will, like its predecessor, make me more capable of confrontation and more stubborn in the face of the enemies of mankind, who are frightened by any free voice singing outside the herd.
Let them imprison me if they wish! They will never rob anything from me, for my freedom exists inside me. They will never deprive me of it regardless of how heavy their chains are, or how narrow their cells are.
Finally, I’d like to express my deepest thanks and gratitude to all those who expressed solidarity with me in my current plight. Special thanks are due to lawyer Rawda Ahmed, as well as the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information and its manager, Mr. Gamal Eid. From the depths of my soul, I thank my Bahraini friend Esra’a Al-Shafei, whom I heard had launched a Web site demanding my release. Moreover, from the depths of my soul, I thank my dear friend Dalia Ziada, who proved to be a real-life example of the proverb “some friends are brothers not delivered by your mother”. Every time I read her poems and remember her words, my belief and certainty that those who fail to say “no” do not deserve life increases.
I send my sincere greetings to Sahar, the one I fell in love with at first sight and who inspired me so much. Through her stances that reject all forms of male domination forced upon her and any female in life, I found that she is a rebellion that walks on two legs. She made me more convinced that the natural human is one who does not submit or tend to make others submit. I will never forget you, Sahar, no matter how long I will be spending my time behind bars.
Abdul Kareem Nabil Suleiman
November 8, 2006
The Civil Detention Cell, Moharram Bek Police Station, Alexandria