On Western Christmas, ‘The Prisoners’ Laughter’ Again for Imprisoned Alaa Abd el-Fattah

It’s been nearly a month now that Alaa Abd el-Fattah’s been in prison — beaten in his own home and dragged off — for violating a new Egyptian law that criminalizes most protests:

800px-Alaa_Abd_El-Fatah_profile_photoIt was two years ago that poet Abdel Rahman al-Abnoudi wrote “The Prisoners’ Laughter” in solidarity with Abd el-Fattah, who was then detained (since October) after the violence at Maspero. During those months in prison, Abd el-Fattah missed the birth of his son Khaled.

Aisha El-Awady, with assistance from Ahdaf Soueif, translated an excerpt for Egypt Independent. From the poem:

And the night, your partner in patience on this journey,

sings … and the night is inky in its darkness

its songs of suffering passed down from those who came before.



The cry is low but it shakes the universe,

the fool warns the rose: “hide your color.”

What does the ox know about garden breeze?

More in English translation. And in Arabic.