Translation credit: Dalia Ziada.
Message from Behind prison walls (#2)
I have been detained for a whole week now. I expected this since long time ago. Usually, I expect the worst in order no to be shocked and subsequently collapse. I can say that I was in high spirits along this period. I did not feel the time passing despite the rarity of entertainment and time-wasting tools. I did my best to waste time by talking to those around me and giving hope to desperate ones. I also read some of the newspapers sent to some prisoners. It is noteworthy that I am the only person detained for a speech case in the whole prison. Most of the accusations range from robbery – all types of robbery – and drug traffic. This made me feel distinguished, despite this means nothing in a prison. In prison, all are equally suffering. Probably my fate is much worse than those colleagues who got accustomed with staying in such places!
The place of provisional detention, where I exist, in Moharram Beik Police station is divided into two floors. The higher floor contains a room for political detainees transferred by State Security Bureau. In the lower floor (underground), there are four rooms; two rooms are for provisional detention upon public prosecution resolution, one room for women, and another room for the prisoners sentenced by the court and awaiting transformation to their final prison.
I spent one whole week in one of the provisional detention rooms before I had – yesterday – to move to the second room, after I suffered many difficulties in dealing with colleague prisoners. They behave in barbarian way, do not respect the privacy of others, and interfere in others’ affairs. I had to limit the amounts of food I take per meal to avoid going to the very dirty bathroom. That is not only because of being unsuitable for human usage, but also because there is no lock to close it when I get in. It is not weird to find more than one person using the bathroom at the same moment. In the very little times I use it, I had to ask some colleague to stand close to the door and prevent any one from getting in until I finish. Apparently, this provoked sarcasm to the extent that they decided to mock me and laugh at me with no regard to my reaction at all. Once I got in the bathroom, I found two others trying to open the door in spite of my will. I could not help screaming until they stopped and closed the door again. I got out of the bathroom with great anger, particularly that I realized that person I asked to stand close the door conspired with them. Therefore, I had to move to the other room, which is much calmer as it includes only ten detainees in comparison to more than thirty in the other room.
I write these words while a sunbeam is stealthily moving into the small calm room that I am staying in now. In the other room, we can only tell what time is by looking at our watches. I spend the whole night yesterday waiting to know if the morning has come. It seems that the sole sunbeam is going to disappear too. It already disappeared. However, the barbed window overlooking on the wide space will tell me the time passing and the time remaining. I missed this in the other room that looks like a mass grave where people are buried alive.
During the last week, I got out of prison twice. The first one was when I went to renovation session. The judge ordered me to be imprisoned for additional fifteen days. The other one was when my name was enlisted among the prisoners to be transformed to Gharbiniat prison in Borg El-Arab. In the last time, we carried our luggage and they packed us in a vehicle with other dozens of prisoners from other police stations. The road took more than one hour before we eventually reach Gharbiniat prison.
We got into prison in a general inhuman atmosphere and insult. We were forced to get undressed except for hiding our body molestation, to process the routine medical examinations. An officer called me and asked me about my accusations. Once I told him, he asked me to wear my civil clothes again in order to be returned to Moharram Beik police station in transformation vehicle.
I saw with my eyes, at that day, how the incoming prisoners are treated. They are insulted severely and some times they are beaten by plastic sticks that make bloody signs on their bodies. It seemed to me like driving a group of sheep to their prisons. This can be a suitable way to deal with humans. It is true that they are guilty. Yet, this does not mean that they are not humans.
I will be seen by the renovation judge on Wednesday 22/11. I am not sure that I will be released or transformed to trial and subsequently face imprisonment. Anyway, I am not afraid of the consequences. I did not commit some regrettable mistake. On the contrary, I am so proud of what I did. No power on Earth can force me to retreat or surrender. I always ask myself when I feel depressed: what did they take from me to regret losing it? Their absolute stupidity made them believe that they took my freedom away because I expressed my views. Did they gave us our freedom from the beginning so they can take it now? Egypt is simply a large prison; I can move with some more freedom within its borders. Yet, this is not the freedom I seek. Instead, I am working on crashing the restrictions of my thought and speech. The most powerful man on earth may not take them away from me unless by killing me.
Here I quote the magical expression of the Egyptian novelist, Ne’amat El-Behiery whom I wish to be cured soon from the monster attacking her body. I quote: “I am not sad. I do not see my self as a piece of meat all what it cares for is to fulfill its sensual needs and animalistic instincts, in order to reproduce my rage into a deficit freedom.”
To all those who support me in my crisis: I wish I can pay your favor back. I owe you many favors, which I will not forget as long as I live.
To my beloved Sahar: When I remember you and your sufferings with the patriarchal society and your patience and persistence to cause some changed in your society, I become more and more strong and I have great hope to cause a general change in the world around me.
To my dear friend Sara: They will not crash me from within as you imagine. Just remember that the strike that will not kill you, will definitely strengthen you.
I end up my letter with hope that it can be published as soon as possible. That is only if I was lucky and some one of my friends visits me soon in this prison.
Abdul Kareem Nabeil Suliman
From the civil prison of Moharram Beik Police Station
● Letter #3 (in Arabic)
Date written: November 24, 2006
We hope to receive more letters from Kareem shortly.blog comments powered by Disqus