As soon as I read Senator Mark Kirk and Congressman Frank Wolf’s letter to General Tantawi, the military governor of Egypt, calling for my release from prison, I felt a great positive energy surge throughout me. It is something I have really needed in prison. I am very grateful for the efforts expressed by these American leaders and every other activist that has made an effort to secure my freedom. After thinking it over, I realize that this is what should be expected from the oldest democracy on earth.
I feel a strong connection to the United States and Berkeley in particular as I was an assistant researcher for a professor the University of California in 2008. I was inspired by the activism of the American pacifists and war resisters who paid a heavy price to stop the Vietnam War; they risked their life and safety and, like me, many went to prison. I see little difference between their activities and my struggle for peace, non-violence, and tolerance. My fight is against war, militarism, racism, anti-Semitism, and violations against human rights.
Many American leaders have opposed sending economic aid to an Egyptian government, which may become anti-American. This is a legitimate concern. The U.S. must also focus on the present no less than the future. I do not consider the current military regime to be a true ally to the U.S. During the last few months, the military tortured innocent civilians, conducted obligatory virginity tests on arrested female demonstrators, answered peaceful demonstrations with violence, suppressed freedom of expression, and failed in their commitment to stop anti-Israeli propaganda. Even knowing all of this, the U.S. continues to send aid to Egypt's military and treats the Egyptian army as an ally!
Senator Kirk and Congressman Wolf’s letter to General Tantawi (which I believe he ignored), said that my arrest was a violation of international law. I doubt the general cares. Rather, the letter should have been addressed to their congressional colleagues and called for a re-evaluation of the military aid and alliance with the Egyptian army. We in Egypt see U.S. weapons in the hands of Egyptian soldiers who use violence against us peaceful activists every day.
I want everyone to know that I don’t regret a single word I wrote. I’m not depressed or sad in jail. I’m facing pain with a lot of courage and believe that dying for peace is better than dying in war and losing my freedom for defending human rights is more honorable than losing it for killing a human being. In my cell, daily I remember Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., El-Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin, Kareem Amer, and many others who gave their lives or parts of them as a sacrifice for humanity to be better. I believe that I am no better than them. I am ready to bear whatever it takes to see the earth a better place for the human race.