Maikel I want you to know that when the SCAF thugs hurt you, they hurt me as well. When you are hurting, I feel it in my body, heart, mind, and soul. I also feel it in the deepest recesses of my gut. I want you to know that all day I have been thinking about you and worrying about you. I have been so worried about you that I have struggled to concentrate on my own work. I am really sickened and appalled beyond words that your captors have delayed your retrial by another 12 days until November 13. By then you will have been on hunger strike for 82 days. The cruelty of your captors is way beyond my comprehension. The indifference and hostility of the outside world, from the Egyptians to the Jews, from the Americans to the West, from the Arab democrats to the global human rights organizations, toward you and your suffering is also beyond comprehension for me as well.
I want to tell you again how much I love you, how much you have moved, touched, and inspired me on so many levels. I want you to know how incredibly precious you are to me. I can’t really even put into words how much I care for you. I can’t thank you enough for opening up my heart with your incredible love and compassion for Israel and the Jews.
I want to share with you some more stuff from Natan Sharansky’s book The Case for Democracy which also applies to you as well. On pages 127-129, Sharansky described how the great Russian intellectual Yuri Orlov came and announced his decision to start the Moscow Helsinki Group. This group did in the Soviet Union in the 1970’s precisely what you were arrested for doing in Egypt this year: collecting and publishing information about human rights abuses in your country. The mediums were different because the technology changed, but the basic principle is the same. You collected, documented, and published your findings and research into the human rights violations committed by the Egyptian military and its institutions. Your captors arrested you because they didn’t want to have you documenting their abuses.
I also think Sharansky’s discussion about Yuri Orlov applies to you as well. He wrote,”Orlov was one of the finest examples of the Russian intelligentsia, a man of deep moral convictions who had risen from the humble beginnings of a family of peasants to become an outstanding scientists. Unlike many other scientists in the USSR,…Orlov never turned his back on the truth.” Page 127-128. You are also a scientist like Orlov, him being a physicist and you being a veterinarian. And I would say that you are one of the finest examples of the Egyptian intelligentsia, or the Egyptian intellectual class.
And I think your willingness to confront anti-Semitism and declare your solidarity with Israel and the Jews marks you as even braver than some of the bravest Russian intellectuals, many of whom have given their lives in the last 200 years in the struggle against tyranny. Why? Because most Russian liberals understand that anti-Semitism is an integral part of the Russian nationalist ideology and thus oppose anti-Semitism vigorously and support Israel openly as well. In contrast, most Egyptian liberals are so infected with the anti-Semitism of the Egyptian regime that they have boycotted you and turned you into a pariah for supporting Israel and the Jews. So it takes even more courage for you to stand up in Egypt against anti-Semitism than it does for a Russian intellectual to do so.