The Talk Writer Omar Hazek Would’ve Given if He’d Been Allowed to Receive His Free-speech Award

Earlier this week, Omar Hazek was prevented from leaving Egypt to receive the 2016 Oxfam Novib/PEN Award for Freedom of Expression:

What follows is a transcript of the talk he would’ve given, in translation, if he’d been there to receive his free-speech award:

omarPEN International and Oxfam Novib, Ladies & Gentlemen:

I would like to thank you for your great efforts in supporting the persecuted writers worldwide, and I would like to express my great gratitude for being here with you.

Allow me to dedicate my thanking speech to tell of some of the oppressed voices behind Egyptian bars. For almost two years, I went through this cruel ordeal and experienced firsthand what it means to be deprived of one’s freedom, like thousands of political & criminal prisoners, without having a voice that can speak your words of suffering. For them and about them, let me speak for a few minutes.

Let me tell you of the Egyptian poetess Shimaa El Sabbagh, a young woman killed in a peaceful march and wreath-laying ceremony commemorating the martyrs of 25 of January Revolution.

Let me tell you of the Egyptian poet Ahmed Doma, who was detained 18 times during Mubarak and SCAF’s regimes, and is currently sentenced for 31 years of imprisonment! Doma was part of the most influential political youth movements that fueled the 25th of January Revolution. He is also known as the Butterflies Hunter as he, during demonstrations, caught with his hands a large number of tear gas bombs and through them away from demonstrators.

Let me tell you of the blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah co-recipient, with his wife Manal, of the “Reporters without Borders” Award. Alaa decided to return with his wife to Egypt, leaving behind his prospering future abroad, to participate in January Revolution. Today he stand as one of its icons as he has suffered torture, persecution and imprisonment under successive regimes.

Let me tell you of the photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zaid was assaulted in the line of duty; arrested while covering the Dismissal of Rabaa in August 2013. Till the present day, he is held without trial despite the appeals made by many international journalism institutions.

Let me tell you of the poet Ahmed Said, the vascular surgeon in Germany who was arrested for participating in a silent rally during his holiday, and about the poet Mohamed Fawzy, a university student who received a life santence, both in prison at present writing poetry on the love of Egypt.

Let me tell you of the lawyer Mahinour El Masry, the Alexandrian young woman who led along with other activists the protests against the brutal murder of the Alexandrian Khaled Saeed; the Icon of the Egyptian revolution. Later on she was at the heart of the demonstrations of January revolution in Alexandria where she has become one of its icons. In 2014, she was awarded the Ludovic-Trarieux Award, given before to Mandela, in recognition of her efforts and for being detained repeatedly by the Egyptian regimes.

Let me tell you of another detained writer; Ismaiel El-Eskandrani the researcher, columnist and reporter. He is a winner of the fellowships of Woodrow Wilson Center’s Visiting Arab Journalist Program and Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program. He has also won the Open Eye-Hany Darweesh Award for exceptional essay (Germany, 2014) and the Global Youth Essay on Democracy Contest (2009).

Let me tell of the journalist Youssef Shabaan who is infected by Hepatitis C and who is deprived of medications in prison despite of the deterioration of his health condition. Youssef has shared the revolutionary dream with Mahinour and the rest of the Alexandrian activists and participated with them in the protests against the regime. He was previously framed by Moubarak’s regime in a falsified drug case during his coverage of labor protests.

It was behind the former three; Mahinour, Shabaan and El Eskandranin, that I stood cheering during Khaled Saeed’s protests in 2010 in Alexandria. And if I feel obliged to anyone beside my family for helping me enduring my imprisonment ordeal then I will always be in debt to those three who taught me along with others my first lessons of freedom and dreaming of a better Egypt. Those three in particular, although they are younger than me, they have always inspired and taught me how to conquer fears and defend our dreams until the last minute in our lives.

Dear friends, I am really sorry for being out free while you held there, but we will always remain Comrades of Dream and Freedom.



Categories: Egypt

5 replies

  1. My heart aches for these people.

    • All what what he tells is almost right, but he is selective; he talks about 1 of a millionth of some who shares his creed . More educated , better men and women are facing execution ,others are sentenced to life sentences , Islamists in particular faced the following , and they form majority of Egypt :
      . the Zionist Jew, Al-Sisi of Egypt, aka the pimp, to overthrow the only democratically elected president Dr. Muhammad Morsy and his best party F&J party, killing more than 6000 people from best innocent and educated young men and professors in cold blood, injuring more than 15 thousands, arresting illegally more than 50 thousands, confiscating illegally their properties, assets and money. Add to this American and western governments have devised fake pretexts to destroy and divide the Islamic countries, killing millions in Iraq and Afghanistan , with those false pretexts , devised by Zionism ans executed by you, such as the pretext that there is WMD in Iraq, by Tony Blair, which proved fake, but we lost millions of innocent souls in our countries, our prisoners are tortured to death in the prisons of your agents such as Al-Sisi of Egypt, the Zionist Jew (from maternal side), you support his crimes and practice pressure to prevent the International Criminal Court to probe Al-Sisi crimes, you protect him, providing him with weapons to kill innocent Egyptian people, by your same pretext of terrorism which was sold by your media and made by Al-Sisi to justify his presence and dictatorship

  2. I admire the courage of writers like this and hope that those of us with freedom to speak can find ways to support and free imprisoned writers.

  3. All what what he tells is almost right, but he is selective; he talks about 1 of a millionth of some who shares his creed . More educated , better men and women are facing execution ,others are sentenced to life sentences , Islamists in particular faced the following , and they form majority of Egypt :
    . the Zionist Jew, Al-Sisi of Egypt, aka the pimp, to overthrow the only democratically elected president Dr. Muhammad Morsy and his best party F&J party, killing more than 6000 people from best innocent and educated young men and professors in cold blood, injuring more than 15 thousands, arresting illegally more than 50 thousands, confiscating illegally their properties, assets and money. Add to this American and western governments have devised fake pretexts to destroy and divide the Islamic countries, killing millions in Iraq and Afghanistan , with those false pretexts , devised by Zionism ans executed by you, such as the pretext that there is WMD in Iraq, by Tony Blair, which proved fake, but we lost millions of innocent souls in our countries, our prisoners are tortured to death in the prisons of your agents such as Al-Sisi of Egypt, the Zionist Jew (from maternal side), you support his crimes and practice pressure to prevent the International Criminal Court to probe Al-Sisi crimes, you protect him, providing him with weapons to kill innocent Egyptian people, by your same pretext of terrorism which was sold by your media and made by Al-Sisi to justify his presence and dictatorship

Trackbacks

  1. THE TALK WRITER OMAR HAZEK WOULD’VE GIVEN IF HE’D BEEN ALLOWED TO RECEIVE HIS FREE-SPEECH AWARD
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29,317 other followers

%d bloggers like this: