Who would have thought being released would be more horrific than being detained? the 14 hours I spent in Omraneya police station as part of my release process where definitely the worst hours of my life. one cell, over 700 detainees, most of them armed with switchblades and similar tools, most of them on drugs, more than half of them with long criminal records. I spent 8 hours standing in one spot, fighting with some of the most dangerous criminals in the district just to retain that little spot that could barely fit my feet.
I tried to force my mind to focus on happy positive thoughts, thoughts of loved ones did not help they ended up in feelings of betrayal (how could they abandon me like this for the whole night, they could have visited me and pressured the police officers or at least gave me money to buy my safety with). and then I remembered the ikhwan (muslim brotherhood) youth I met in the state security prosecutor cell last Tuesday.
rationally speaking it makes sense to try and cooperate with the muslim brotherhood, but knowing your politics is not the same as personal human experience.
while I was waiting to hear the prosecutor's verdict in the cell they let in around 35 young men who where in a very good mood, they made alot of noise, they joked about the bags of munchies and sweets they have with them, turned out they where a group of ikhwan from Alexandria who went for a summer trip in Marsa Matrouh, a perfectly harmless social activity full of singing and dancing and football, but state security decided it was a training camp and arrested them all.
try to imagine being arrested and facing anything between 15 days and 6 months of detention because you went to the seaside with 30 of your best friends.
they where from this new breed of islamists that reads blogs, watches al jazeera, sings sha3by songs, talks about intense love stories and chants "down Mubarak". and being young most of them did not have any experience with prison before. waiting to know whether they'll get 15 or 45 days detention for starters, waiting to know whether they'll be sent to one of the just horrible prisons or of the too horrible prisons, and in the middle of it all we got the news that I would be released the next day.
and all of sudden they transformed from just ikhwanis into comrades! they hugged me, they clapped, they shook my hands, they laughed and they were genuinely happy for my release. they felt and expressed solidarity and they gave me the one happy memory that would help me live through 14 hours of hell.
but the only thing I could give them was to chant "ألف تحية للأخوان ... ألف تحية للأخوان" and shed a happy tear.
today I'm safe at home, in the arms of my loving wife, sleeping in a comfortable bed, dangerously ignoring my email and enjoying my freedom while they are in prison and the only thing I can give them is to write "ألف تحية للأخوان ... ألف تحية للأخوان" and sob sad tears.
when you speak of the 22 who where released this week don't say 22 out of 30 where released say 22 out of 600, when you speak of sharkawy remember that more than 600 comrades went to prison for the same reason, facing the same charges and fighting the same tyrants.