The Bread of Garayya


-Do you want something, Ahmed?

-Yes, bread

-Did you not get bread this morning from the bread of Al Garayya?

-Yes, but its finished. And I’d like a loaf or two for dinner

-Alright, I’ll bring you two loaves


Those detained for crime have their freedom inside the prison regardless of their charges, whether murder or theft or drug dealing, but the political prisoners and those detained after 30 June are kept in solitary confinement; the door of their cell is not opened all day long, contrary to all morals and laws of human rights….It is forbidden to read or write, and entering a pen and paper to the political prisoners is more difficult than smuggling in drugs, and whoever is caught with a pen or paper is tortured along with all those with him….


I have found the tip of an old pen and I am trying to write covertly such that I am not seen by any of the officers or intelligence agents….

A loaf from the bread of Garayya –  I do not know exactly what the word “Garayya” means, but it is a commonly used word for stale bread, as stale as the one shilling loaf, which you would normally find a nail or a stone or a wire inside….Such a meal is now my highest hope after a period in which I dined with presidents of various countries, ministers of foreign affairs, the presidents of prestigious universities, the most well-known researchers and thinkers and authors, and the most famous artists and actors of Hollywood….

I met with some of the most famous and important figures of Europe, America, India, Korea and Turkey, and had breakfast and dinner with the most famous and powerful people in Africa….And here I am now looking for a loaf of stale bread to eat with a piece of cheese because I am charged with breaking the new protest law in the era of democracy after the 30th June, and I write with the tip of a worn-out pencil after eating the stale bread….no bread, no freedom…

Ahmed Maher
Torah Prison
3rd December, 2013



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