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TRANSLATION: Alaa Abdelfattah’s latest blog post from Tora Prison

November 14, 2011

I have spent Eid holidays away from the family for the last three years,living abroad. The first day of Eid would pass like any other normal day; we go to work in the morning and arrive home late. If it wasn’t for the odd phone call from the family, we wouldn’t even realize it was Eid.

But for me this Eid was different, this was the first Eid we would spend with the family after our return.

But the military decided that it is not our right to celebrate. I spent Eid in the cell and my family spent it in a queue that lasted the whole day, just to end up just so a few of them could be admitted to see me in a visit lasting minutes in the presence of police agents twice their number.

Between making sure my mother – who has started a hunger strike for my release – is okay. And the intensity of not being able to exchange letters with Manal, those minutes were gone, and the first day of Eid passed.

The staff and officers of the prison have to celebrate Eid and that means the prison only works at half of its capacity. So then, close these cells four days straight. No visits, no breaks, no newspapers, no food from outside visitors to get in. What? You want criminals to celebrate Eid?

If it wasn’t for your tweets that were sent in the form of Eid telegraphs, I wouldn’t have felt that there was Eid happening in the outside world. Thank you to everyone who went to the trouble to send them, and thank you to the people who came up with the idea.

Eid is over and gone. Now it’s the turn of my birthday. As for my birthday, it has been four years since I have celebrated it with the family. But this time,it was supposed to be extra special, my 30th birthday, my first realization or confession that I have entered the adult world without return. Days before the birth of Khaled, on November 18th the day we return to Tahrir square. I was planning on celebrating with my revolution comrades at the square, and with the family later at night.

And of course it’s on a Friday, so no visits and the cell door won’t be opened.

Oh well, you should celebrate it for me at the square.

The only moments that I feel happy are those when I hear news of your solidarity with me – whether it’s protests in front of the Appeal Prison (which I unfortunately did not hear because I was being held on the other side but i heard about it from other prisoners), or the protests against military trials that are all over the country from Luxor to Alexandria, or protests in Oakland and San Fransisco whose protesters entered my heart that, even though I only stopped there for a short visit when I attended their sit ins and meetings.

So the Eid passed, and my birthday will pass, I’m used to spending them away from the family. But the birth of Khaled, my first son, how can I miss it? How can I bear not being next to Manal at this time? How can I bear waiting for news, waiting to hear if they’re okay or not? How can I bear not seeing his face, not seeing his mother’s face when she sees his? How can I be able to look him in the eyes after my release when I promised him he will be born free? We named him Khaled in loyalty to a big debt we owe Khaled Said.  And instead of imprisoning his killer, we are imprisoned?

translated by Sarrah Abdelrahman
edited by Sarah Carr

original post here: http://manalaa.net/node/88075

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Daina permalink
    November 14, 2011 3:31 pm

    THANK YOU for the translation!!!! It’s heart wrenching….and as an Egyptian with minimal Arabic skills the translations here and there do wonders (and I can spread amongst my non-Egyptian/non-Arabic speaking friends). Thank you again!!!

  2. Anette Randeberg permalink
    November 14, 2011 7:13 pm

    This is a important story. Your son will be so proud one day. Its terrible that u are in prison. Your wife and child will be with me in my toughts. Hope justice will be served soon

  3. Jessica permalink
    November 16, 2011 9:18 am

    thank you so much for this translation.

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