Kareem Amer Speaks!
|December 7, 2010|
“For reasons I’m sure you’re all aware of, I haven’t been able to write to you for some time. All these years, I could not write freely as I used to. Computers, let alone internet access, are not available in prisons, and the amount of repression restricts the individual to the point of paralysis in his or her ability to express thought freely.
I tried to surmount these difficulties by writing a few articles. I gave them to friends I met in prison, giving them my blog’s personal and security information while asking them to help me. Upon my release, I was surprised to discover that only one of these articles had been published on my blog. I was even more surprised to discover that my password to the computer system had been changed for no apparent reason. It was only through using certain special techniques that I was able to restore editorial control over my own blog.
Prison is a very hard experience - no one can feel its harshness unless he or she has tasted its bitterness, its poisonous sorrow. No amount of writing can accurately convey it. Many have written about life in prison, and I would read about their experiences before I was jailed. But when my turn came, I saw that every thing was different. I had nothing save my adventurous spirit and curiosity to resist in my own way. Eventually, this too came to pass. My efforts were in vain. I could never know what would happen to my articles, whether they would be published anywhere at all, and this only led me to hesitate, to worry about writing anything new. I used to write and publish myself without any interference by way of editing or adding to my post. I never had to change a thing to fit the agenda of some publication. I hated the idea of publishing my articles in the printed newspaper; I don't believe in it anymore. I think of it as something from the past: something outdated. But I had no other recourse but to hand over my work to others - what power do I have behind those bars?
In prison, my faith in freedom was strengthened though, and I realized that it’s the most valuable thing that any person can have. I never thought, even for a moment, to turn back on the convictions I was imprisoned for. I never thought of apologizing for “offending” Hosni Mubarak simply because I see nothing demeaning to him as an individual in what I said. Speaking about public figures should not be restricted, especially if said figure is President of the Republic.
During my prison time, I came to hate him more and more. My hatred doesn’t come from what happened to me, but because I saw people who were subjected to the maximum amount of oppression and humiliation - and no one speaks about them. No one speaks for them.
I saw how human beings are worth no more to them than the cheap nylon blankets they’re wrapped in for burial shrouds before being sent back to their families.
It’s common knowledge how the state security operates: they’re not interested in safeguarding the country so much as stifling its own people and constantly harassing them. All so the people can’t be in any way involved, through speaking about politics, let alone participating affairs that decide our nation’s future. All so they can hold on to power for as long as possible.
I knew well that freedom is not something given out of charity, not to be begged for, but something we should take. I also realized that change would never come from the top, as some naively believe. It is the silent majority which has the power to create change, and this same majority also has the power to maintain the status quo if it chooses not to work towards change.
I realized that there are not three separated powers of government in Egypt, as they teach us in elementary school, but that in Egypt there is only one supreme authority, which is the executive one. The judicial system and parliamentary assemblies are controlled by the ruling party through fraud and corruption.
I realized that those who are called “judges” and are sitting in court rooms are falsely called so. They are nothing more than lackeys working for just another arm of the executive authority from which they get their salaries and their rulings on any case the executive cares about. These courts are held on a leash by the government, their processes and decisions neither based on law nor on the learning or knowledge of their participants, but on the sheer caprice of the executive.
Finally, after these long years that have forced me to be so far from my blog, I am finally back, and I will keep fighting those who caused this crisis and sent me to prison just because I expressed my thought. I will never give them a moment’s rest and I will speak against them and disgrace them everywhere. I will never let them enjoy oppressing others like me, stealing their most universal and basic rights. Finally, I’ll be talking about the decrepit religious institutions soon enough. And he who laughs last laughs best.”