One year has gone by and another has begun. A year of detention is the equivalent of 9 months, and I have been imprisoned for 10 months. The days have passed quickly. The verdict came quickly . Only 20 days after I had given in to authorities at the Abdeen Court in compliance with the order that I should be investigated for the charges of inciting the Shura protests came the mysterious decision to release me from this case. However, the decision was not carried out for even more mysterious reasons. A new charge was fabricated, and I was charged with protesting outside the Abdeen Court while I was giving in to the Prosecution Office!!
Swiftly and within a matter of days, the verdict came was announced to be 3 years of detention, a fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds and 3 years of surveillance after the end of the detention period. The hearing for the appeal came swiftly only to confirm the verdict. The appeal procedures were set forth without setting a time for a hearing, and it was delayed so much that it seemed perhaps the date would be set only after the entire duration of the verdict had passed.
And so it seems that he who has the power to bring about a solution does not want a solution. If he had wanted a solution, it would have been resolved long ago. For there are thousands of ways they could resolve their problems with the youth…if only they wanted to.
The regime does not care about the thousands languishing in prisons under the protest law. The military security regime does not care about those who lost their jobs and means of income after being detained, deprived of their children and families. Nor does the regime care that in the prisons are thousands of engineers, doctors, teachers, journalists, university professors, high-performing students and the best of this country’s citizens. Putting aside the fact that the country is now in dire need of qualified people in all fields, these people have families, loved ones, responsibilities, and a source of income that was lost ever since they were imprisoned, for political activism is not a job but an interest in politics.
But all of this does not matter to the ruling regime and the current authorities. What is of more importance to them is the stability of their power however much they lie, murder, and destroy homes and families. They fabricate charges, detain and lie while well aware that they are lying. They, their supposedly sovereign institutions, and their media lie, taint reputations and destroy morale every day in cold blood. They do not care about the numbers of the prisoners due to the protest law, nor do they care about their personal or family circumstances. Even the slogans of a war on terror are nothing but words and theatrical plays to justify more oppression and more acquisition of authority by the regime. For how does terrorism relate to peaceful protests of youth who have nothing in their power but peaceful self-expression?
And today, we have exhausted all our means to get rid of this oppression that has befallen on us, for the judiciary works under orders from the authorities who have no desire to reconcile with the youth. The circles of government have refused all advice to avoid a battle with the youth, for this authoritarian dictatorship of a security military mentality does not understand the rhetoric of dialogue, and does not accept any opposition or even any advice or means of reconciliation.
And today we have no choice but the “Battle of the Empty stomachs”, for we are left with nothing but our bodies with which to struggle and reveal the oppression to which we are subjected. For what is the use of a body if one is subjected to such humiliation, servitude and oppression? What is the meaning of life when I am isolated from my family, loved ones and children? What is the purpose of life if I am helpless while my family struggles with the trials of life outside the prison? Helpless to provide my children a good education or a decent life … helpless to stay by my mother’s bedside throughout her illness….or to share with my loved ones their moments of joy and their moments of sadness … there is no other alternative after all legal options have been exhausted and after all political, negotiation and advisory means have failed
That is why I. Ahmed Maher, detained in Lieman Torah prison have decided to go on a hunger strike and reject all food as of Monday 15 Septmeber,2014. I ask of all who have been detained under the protest law or who have been affected by its oppression to join us in the “Battle of the Empty stomachs”…..We’ve had enough!