Today it hit me, I am really in prison. I'm not sure how I feel. I thought I was OK but I took forever to wake up. The way fellow prisoners look at me tells me I do not feel well but I can't really feel it.
I'd say prison is not like I expected, but I had no expectations. No images, not even fears, nothing. Guess it will take time. I expect to spend no less than a month here. I'm sure that's enough time to see all the ugly sides of prison, to be genuinely depressed.
I'm in a good cell I suppose. Only one of us with me, Karim Reda, a young Ghad member with no experience. I would have preferred to be surrounded by friends, or to be with someone with experience like Kamal Khalil who would inspire confidence in me and make sense of everything, but I should not complain.
The cell has 3asaker Geish written on it. They tell me it is for gara2em nafseya. Seems everyone here are facing 'darb afda ila qatl' . Their first time. 3 are only few years older than me, 2 in their early 30s, and two older guys. 2 been here since 2003, the rest less than a year. Their first kill (Only one claims to be innocent. Says he is a petty thief). All are sa3ayda living in Cairo, two are neighbors, living omrania, etc.
I could go like this, give a list of observations about my cellmates and the prison itself, like the fact that there are hundreds of cats here, but that's all it is. A list of observations, nothing sinking in, no feelings or emotions, no real impressions. Anyways it's a good cell.
The guys are taking good care of us, even though since Kefaya landed we brought them nothing but trouble. I spent the first day with the whole sector (3anbar) locked. No one was allowed out not even for a few minutes. Turns out this was punishment for the hunger strike. The way they figured it the criminal inmates would be so angry at us for bringing this on them, they'd make sure we break the hunger strike even if by force.
I do not know about other cells but in cell 7 they did not harm Karim. They tried to convince him to stop but did not even threaten. After a while, two of them became seriously concerned for Karim's health (he's been on hunger strike for 4 days). I am yet to join the strike. Decided to wait for word from outside or from Kamal Khalil or something.
Still I am writing this in English to prevent my cellmates from reading over my shoulders, not that I am sure this will work. They are all educated and some are very knowledgeable, in the span of two days we discussed everything, from Egyptology to biology to economics, lots of politics tab3an. I have to defend Kefaya and all the different movements, I have to explain about the judges and I have to explain why I'm here, why it's worth it, and to be frank I've no idea why. It isn't worth being away from Manal for three days let alone 30 (mashy ya masr) but I can't really say that, can I ?
Translation of the arabic words used: