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Why did Esraa El-Taweel weep? Her father answers

“Why did Esraa today weep and make us weep?” It was with this question that the father of detained Egyptian activist Esraa El-Taweel started his long blog which was shared and exchanged by many activists. On Monday, the hashtag #اسراء_الطويل (Esraa El-Taweel) topped all hashtags shared in Egypt today with significant human rights and media interaction.

On Facebook Esraa’s father, Mahfouz El-Taweel, said that his daughter wept today because of oppression and tyranny after her imprisonment was extended by 45 more days for the tenth time after she’d already spent 155 days in detention.

He said: “Let everyone know that Esraa El-Taweel did not weep today or ever before out of fear of prison. Esraa El-Taweel wept today because the gentleman, the prosecuting officer – whose name I shall not disclose – told her in the first court appearance following her forced disappearance, and I quote: ‘There is no charge and you shall be released during the next court session.’ Yet, the prosecutor disappeared and did not reappear until the session before last at the supreme state security prosecution. When Esraa saw him she wept heavily to the extent that the gentleman, the prosecutor, wept because she was weeping. He promised her that she would be free the following session, the tenth and last court appearance according to him. Yet, he failed to come to the prosecution department and she was imprisoned once more in order to appear before a judge in a court of law instead of before a prosecution judge.”

El-Taweel added: “All the lawyers said she would be ordered free as soon as she arrived at the court. Yet, suddenly and without prior warning, and without even informing the lawyers, the cowards decided that she should be paraded in court today before one of the executions judges, Mu’tazz Khafaji. For this reason Esraa wept, thinking that her parents, friends and all the free people of Egypt would not be watching or that they would not be able to join her and be with her.”

He concluded his blog by saying: “Esraa, who is sick, was given 45 more days of detention. Esraa wept out of oppression and tyranny. Esraa wept because of the weakness and incapacity that may afflict her legs should she miss her physiotherapy. Your tears are dear, Esraa.”

Thanks to her tears

Using the hashtag #اسراء_الطويل, which topped the list of all hashtags in Egypt today, Ayman Nur, head of Ghad Al-Thawrah party, tweeted: “Thanks to her tears, not because they hurt our hearts but because they proved that we still have hearts that feel the pain.”

The leading figure with the Al-Wasat party, Hatim Azzam, said: “The only two indicators for the progress of Egypt at the hands of this gang are criminality and bestiality. The Egyptians’ revolution will dump them in the dustbin of history.”

Former minister of investment Yahya Hamid tweeted: “Free #Israa_Taweel, you merciless dogs. By God, you will tomorrow be brought to account and punished severely.”

Human rights activist Nagad Al-Bura’i tweeted using the same hashtag, she wrote: “You don’t know that you are more free than those who incarcerated you … you are free despite the prison. As for the oppressors, they will be shamed in this life and in the hereafter they will meet severe punishment.”

Qatari writer Ibtisam Al-Saad tweeted: “By the will of God, your tears will turn into bullets that will tear apart the bodies of the tyrants and of the judges in your country where sluts are honoured while the chaste are humiliated.”

Broadcaster Hayat Al-Yamani said: “Continuing to imprison #Israa_Taweel for 45 more days. Get lost oh state of oppression, cursed be your jailer Esraa, whether a ruler or a judge.”

Human rights activist Haytham Abu Khalil contrasted the army’s decision to honour a dancer by the name of Nura with the decision to extend Esraa’s imprisonment. He said: “Honouring Nura and renewing the imprisonment of Esraa for 45 more days is characteristic of the military rule in Egypt.”

Lawyer Muhammad Rifaat tweeted: “Renewing the imprisonment of Esraa Al-Taweel for 45 more days goes beyond violating human rights and the agreement Egypt is signatory to. It is the failure of the military that uses a corrupt judiciary.”

Egyptian actor Nabil Al-Halfawi commented: “Tears touch the feelings, arouse the sensations, ache the heart, but what can we do as we stand before previous or likely tears that are more painful (if they were) because of the person that sheds them now.”

His tweet provoked human rights activist Jamal Eid, who said: “You live in our hearts. May you remain well and all those who are like you Esraa. And may he and all those who are like him fall to the bottom of the abyss of cheap hypocrisy.”

Tarek Al-Zumar, head of the Building and Development party, tweeted: “Our hearts are with you Esraa El-Taweel and our hearts are against whoever contributed or has consented to your incarceration even if for just one hour.”

The chief editor of Al-Mesryoon newspaper said: “The 3 July state humiliates the daughters of the January revolution. This is a systematic humiliation, deliberate and premeditated such as the incarceration of the young press photographer.”

The 6 April Movement took part with a concise brief tweet in which it said: “Injustice is darkness. It will plague us all.”

Palestinian Adham Abu Salmiyah wrote: “What sort of nation consents to the shedding of the tears of its free women let alone incarcerating them and humiliating them. Above all other things, our humanity obliges us to stand by you and to take sides in your favour, to pray for your freedom and for deliverance, soon.”

Esraa and others unknown to you

Within the context of the interaction with Esraa’s case, human rights activist Ammar Mtawi wrote a long entry on Facebook about the other female detainees whose plights have not been covered by the media. He said: “The detention of young women has become a daily routine alongside which we have turned into public servants, monitoring cases and writing down names. With the passage of time we have lost our feelings, even when the circle is narrowed so as to include some of the closest and most known girls to us.”

Mtawi addressed the first case of the detention of young women in the aftermath of the 3 July coup. He also discussed the cases of detained young women including photographs, the charges levelled against them and the period of their detention.

It is worth mentioning that some twitter users who support the coup launched a hashtag that calls for keeping Esraa in detention while directing abuse at her and her family accusing them of treason and collaboration.

Translated from Arabi21, 2 November 2015.