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.

 And:

 

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.

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