Monday, September 19, 2011

Dying of Hunger for Freedom

* المقالة بالعربى: الموت جوعاً من أجل الحرية

      Of the books which I started reading in prison, was “Natures of Tyranny and Slavery Wrestler” for sheikh “Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi”... I liked the book very much and I was surprised that there exists an Islamic cleric with this enlightenment, openness and modernity. When sheikh “Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi” was talking about freedom he was praising wild animals which if were hunted by humans, they refuse to eat, preferring dying of hunger than the life captivity... Ever since, I ask myself: How would I be less than animals? At that time, I decided to also refuse to eat in captivity, because dying of hunger is better than the loss of freedom.
The words of “Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi” reminded me of the words of “Francis Fukuyama” about the master and the slave in his wonderful book “The End of History and the Last Man”... Fukuyama was saying that the master is the one who combats for his freedom, either he dies or wins and live free, while the slave is the one who fears death so he accepts life of slavery instead of combatting for freedom... Thus I decided for myself, I would combat for my freedom, and because I’m a master and not a slave, I won’t give-up till I die or recapture my freedom.
Also, of the books I read in prison “In Search of Identity” for the former president “Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat”. He narrated a story, thought to be about Napoleon Bonaparte, which caught my attention. The story says that when Napoleon was in captivity, his jailers wanted to humiliate him, so they made the gate of the cell low so that he would be forced to bend his head whenever he wanted to exit or enter from the cell. However, Napoleon refused to bend his head, so he used to sit on the floor and enter sitting, so that he wouldn’t bend his head. This story reminded me of a saying for Amal Donqol in the poem “The Last Words of Spartacus” when he said “I’m hanged on the gallows and my head is bent, because I didn’t bend it alive”... So, I decided that I won’t bend my head to my enemies as long as I’m alive, even if that lead to my head being bent on the gallows.
      Also, in Sadat’s book, he talked about circumstances of his imprisonment and rumors about that there was at one of the prisons an imprisoned count who was never acting as a prisoner, but as if he was still a count. Prisoners used to laugh at him continuously because he doesn’t live his reality, while his dignity refuses that he detracts his self-esteem... Here in prison, they continuously want to destroy the strength of my personality and always tell me “you’re imprisoned, you’re guilty, you’re sentenced to 3 years in prison”. As for me, I still see myself as the blogger and the famous political prisoner who tens of thousand are interested in his views. I will never allow prison to break me.
      Despite my great hatred to Hitler, I can’t prevent myself from strong admiration for committing suicide when he was defeated in a battle... Hitler had a great feeling of dignity and megalomania, he didn’t accept the handcuffs be put on his hands or to be subjected to insult by armies of his enemies, so he preferred death over the insult of his dignity... My dignity also prevents me from accepting insult from militarists, I refuse life in the circumstances of continuous attempts to break my pride.
I’m not the first one to enter a hunger strike objecting my imprisonment... Sadat did it before me... Gandhi did it as well and when the Indian people came violently to free Gandhi, fearing his death because of his strike, he commanded them to step-back, because he refuses to be freed by violence.
When I feel that I could die because of the strike, I remember Mohamed Bouazizi... Mohamed Bouazizi is my greatest source of strength in my strike... Mohamed Bouazizi’s death was the reason for the start of the Arab Spring and changing history... That’s what I tell myself: never mind dying, if my death is going to benefit millions after me.
Ernesto Che Guevara was used to saying “I prefer to die standing to live kneeling”. It is said that when he was executed, they made him kneel, then started shooting bullets to his head. His enemies wished to see him kneeling... OK, the man doesn’t concern me, only his wonderful saying concern me. I won’t kneel for injustice and I’ll die with my dignity and it’s more honorable to me than a life with no dignity.
Holy books for Jews mention a story of the Babylonian captive when the people of Israel captives in Babylonia were living the life of slavery. At that time the Jewish people were invoking their god to free them from eating the bread of slavery (the bad bread which was given as food to slaves). But, I decided not to wait for anyone to free me, I’m a master and I refuse to eat the bread of slavery, I won’t eat any food as long as I’m in prison, till I get my freedom.
I could die as a result of my hunger strike, but that would benefit thousands of prisoners after me. After that, the authorities won’t ignore any hunger strike. There have be some sacrifices so that the extent of human rights in any homeland extends.
If I were free these days, I would have organized for a general hunger strike for all who were militarily tried... It is said that another 12 thousand were militarily tried in the past months. If only a thousand prisoners of them made a strike demanding to be be civilly tried, then that is enough to shake any regime in the universe.

                              Freedom has a price and we should pay it

                                        Maikel Nabil Sanad
                                        El-Marg General prison
                                        The interior section – prison hospital
                                        2011/9/11 after 20 days on a hunger strike

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