Today I woke up with severe period pains and decided I’d stay in bed all day… one of the many things that get in the way of women trying to just be involved in every day stuff (because every day stuff these days means getting out to protest in the rain and mud!) So I lazily reached out for my mobile to check twitter and catch up on what’s been happening during the few hours that sleep and I flirt with one another. The only thing that was getting my attention between the hundreds of tweets about the Muslim Brotherhood and the elections and whether people were going to vote or boycott the elections, were the tweets that there were only 4 people, yes ONLY FOUR people outside C28, the military prosecutors, where Mikhail Nabil Sanad’s trial was happening. Here was everyone, so caught up in the new frock of the mockery of democracy in a country where only 4 people turn up to support a conscientious objector, now prisoner, dragged from his own home for writing his opinions in a blog post.
I am told the lack of support Mikhail has inside Egypt is because not many agree with what he has to say. What an embarrassment of an excuse is that?! How can I deserve the freedom that so many are dying for if I cannot support the freedom of someone who is expressing views different to my own?! So, I decided to just deal with the pain and get out of bed and get out and stand not for Mikhail Nabil, but for myself, and for what I believed in. Mikhail was doing me a favour, not the other way round! He was giving me the chance to fight for what I believed in, a chance to deserve the freedom he was fighting for.
I arrived outside C28 and there were 5 people. 3 Egyptians, a German lady and an Irish man. There was no chanting and none of the familiar faces. The splitting had begun and there’s too much going on in the country to even expect a crowd, but three Egyptians?! Three?!! and the three had come all the way from AlHaram despite the rain, the mud and the callings from Tahrir and else where today.
We waited till Mikhails lawyer came out saying he was refused and that Mikhail had an appointed lawyer the judge had chosen (I was beginning to feel I was watching a badly written sitcom by this point). He said the case was postponed till the 4th December. This will be the 7th time the case has been postponed and Mikhail will have spent over 100 days on his hunger strike. He also said Mikhail was coming out to be transferred back to prison in a few minutes. We decided to wait. We wanted him to see that he was not forgotten and that people with faces unfamiliar to him were there representing many (or so I convinced myself)… and indeed a couple of minutes later, the military truck transferring him came out… we knew it was him because his voice came ringing “Down with the Military Rule” “Yaskot Yaskot 7okm El3askar”… He led our chants for all of 30 seconds… and we, sending every atom of love, strength and support to him back in our echos could not help but cry as they drove off with him. I am not sure why we cried. We may have been ashamed at how few we were, maybe because we weren’t sure Mikhail would make it through the hunger strike till next week, maybe because with the elections coming up we feel Mikhail will be forgotten…. but what ever the reason, we all cried… I haven’t heard chants that caused me goosebumps this way in a long time… and I know I will be hearing Mikhail Nabil’s voice for many nights to come.
(You can read how right Mikhail Nabil was here http://www.maikelnabil.com/2011/03/army-and-people-wasnt-ever-one-hand.html)
Whatever happens, I decided today that I would not look back and regret not having stood for the freedom to all that I believe in… and I am writing this today to tell you that I believe with all my heart, that the best way to fight for your freedom is to fight for the freedom of others, fight for the freedom of those you do not necessarily agree with. Be there for Mikhail Sunday 4th December. It counts. It matters.