28

Mar

8:56pm
Mamdouh Makram Egypt
The narrative of prison and solitude

The narrative of prison and solitude

Mamdouh Makram Egypt//8:56pm, Mar 28th '21

In Egypt, everything has become a camp (that is, a military community), as if the whole society has become a large battalion controlled by a single, inspiring commander, and falsehood does not come from his hands or from behind him, you are in a country as wounded as a tiger - in the words of the poet Muhammad al -Maghout - a country that hurts and torments you and hurts you; And so that there is no objection to him killing you, while you love him, and melt in his whim! A nation ruled by corruption, hobbyists, amateurs, acrobats, idiots and people with disabilities, there is no place for me here among you; I say this on the occasion of my crime for which I am being tried, namely: the crime of writing! In May of last year (2017), at exactly 1.30 pm or a little over the morning of Friday, May 19, the security forces raided my house in the area of Kom al-Tirmus (Abnoub Center - Assiut governorate). My logical question to the officer was: Where is the prosecutor’s permission? Or a seizure order and a summons?

The answer was dull and dirty: “Show me your room, and I show you the prosecution’s permission.” I was sure in my mind: that there is no permission from the prosecution, and that there is a decision made to arrest me, in the context of a massive campaign of arrests that began in late April 2017, which increased more in May, and in May Specifically, the focus was on those belonging to the leftist Live and Freedom Party (under establishment). My comrades from the party were arrested in the governorates of Sharqia, Dakahlia, Minya, and other provinces. Heavily armed security personnel entered the room, which contains the library, and the archive of many newspapers, is my kingdom, where I receive my friends and comrades, those who stay in it, and those who sleep overnight live in it, I do everything, cry/laugh, rejoice/grieve, and practice spirituality, And I practice pleasure in it, it is myself, and it is myself! Books take up the most space and the laptop that has become a part of me, with it and upon it, I exercise my pleasure in writing, the pleasure of reading, it is the yearning of knowledge that does not stop and does not stop for a moment, since the brightness of the radiance within me and the building of this intimate relationship with books from the earliest age. It was neither complicated nor surprising for me. At every moment since the arrest campaigns, I had been waiting for this fate, but what I was ignorant of is what accusation/charges will be directed ?! Will this be because the party decided or will decide (we have not decided yet) to push our colleague Khaled Ali to run for the presidency in the presidential elections? And the party’s positions that are sharply opposed to the regime’s policies, especially on the issue of Tiran and Sanafir?

I praised my fate that neither my library nor my computer was attacked and that I was taken to prison (Abnoub Center) and in the Prosecution Office: I got to know the charges against me, as they are funny charges, and they call for grief at the same time: -The first: belonging to a banned terrorist group, and as long as this term is circulating in the media, the terrorist group here in my case is the Muslim Brotherhood, and this is more clear than the prosecutor’s question to me about the Brotherhood. Certainly, I was in my mind mocking the indictment. I told him: I am a member of the party Live and freedom, and that I am a socialist, and that this cannot in any way coincide with the accusation levelled, which is: I belong to the Brotherhood! The second: the use of social media to incite the demolition of state institutions !! I told him: What institutions? And which people were incited? This is inaccurate and incorrect, there are no material clues to that, so the accusation is floating or, as we say, fluid !! Thirteen postures were confronted by the public prosecutor during the investigation at the Sarai of the Abnoub Prosecution Office at noon on Friday, May 19elieve in a secular state, not a religious one.

The posts were extracted from my account on the social networking site (Facebook) and I have denied my connection to this account, even though it is my account (it was hacked two weeks ago). The issue of denial is a tactical matter as it is known in the context of the security crackdown on militants, to get the least possible losses! All the posts extracted from my page had a political-economic-social dimension, a criticism of the regime, its practices, policies, and its crude biases of big capitalism, its identification with the House of Saud, and other Gulf Zionists from the entrance to the aid provided by this ruling oligarchy of Egypt's exhausted and miserable economy for decades, and this increased after January And its consequences, and this trend to the far right since the rise of Sisi after the June 30 coup.

The crime means merely writing an opinion, after the fall of the first charge thanks to the investigations of the National Security Apparatus, and the court ruled (it came out after weeks with a bail/royalty of 10,000 Egyptian pounds) in absentia for five years, and I opposed the judgment so that the verdict was postponed more than once until the case was close to closing its first year. To issue a confirmation of the verdict on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, that is, the court has upheld the ruling issued (five years in absentia) so that the case will continue for a longer-term, and the whole crime is writing! Am I an imminent threat to this system? Why is this system afraid of the act of writing? Nearly 500 newspapers and websites were closed because of their criticism of this regime, which was not preceded by the regime in this suppression of freedoms, nor this bias of thieves and prestige of businessmen.

I spent the prison period, and the sentence was commuted to six months after the lawyers submitted the opposition memorandum to the judgment in absentia. The prison experience was painful, especially as you are imprisoned with people who belong to the fiercest ideological enemies of the Muslim Brotherhood, and some young people belonging to ISIS (the Islamic State) and Al-Qaeda. .etc. I avoided discussions of matters of a religious and theological nature; Otherwise, I would expose my life to death or physical harm, so I was obliged to go along with things (without concession in principle or substance) until that difficult period passed. In prison, I wrote some articles, thoughts, and letters to friends and family. My mother and siblings would come to every visit; This relieves my feeling of loneliness and lack of freedom.

The treatment inside the prison was generally okay, although sometimes not without disturbance, especially at times of inspection. The prison term expired and I was released in March 2019. I will go back to prison again in September due to the events of 9/21, which exploded in the wake of the videos of the contractor Muhammad Ali, and this case is known as 1338 (Supreme State Security / Emergency), and the same standardized charges were: belonging to a terrorist group - incitement to State institutions through social media - demonstrating without a license - communicating with external parties !!! Near or far !!. However, this period was not long and I was released after three months of pretrial detention.

During this period, I tried to benefit, so I was writing what was on my mind.

From this experience: It seemed to me that I had become a permanent target for the security services in Assiut Governorate (which is located in central Egypt), so I decided to leave Assiut and reside in the capital (Cairo) due to its large size and that I would not be well known to the services. Of course, life in Cairo is difficult financially (due to the high cost of living), and a scarcity of work, but I am still trying to resist. Despite the difficult circumstances.

Mamdouh Makram

Egyptian Marxist intellectual, a researcher in political science and history.


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