"Society in prison is no different than it is outside. While the prison floor we all sleep on unifies us, the way each prisoner is treated varies greatly. Prisoners are labelled either political or criminal. The most common prison uniform colour is white, which is for detainees awaiting trial; there is also blue for those serving a sentence, and red for those on death row.
Istikbal prison in Tora is divided into four cell blocks: A, B, C and D. The latter two – where I am being held – are reserved for political prisoners detained since June 30, which includes arrests at clashes in Rabaa, Ramses, Fatah Mosque, 6th of October City and smaller protests like that ones that took place at Maspero and the U.S embassy. A few prisoners arrested in Sinai have also been here for years.
During our the weekly visits, social classes and splits become obvious, as tens of prisoners on criminal charges queue up for an opportunity to carry your bags (which families are able to deliver on their visits) in return for a pack of cigarettes, a few cubes of sugar or a share of food.
I don’t often venture out of my cell. I’m not healthy enough to do that. Most of my time is spent with the friends that I have made here over the past months, or colleagues who share the same struggle.
Thankfully, my stubborn nature has helped with enduring the hunger and continuing with the strike despite the continuous sight of food. My body has adapted to the lack of it, and I have no plans to give in until I walk out of here.
Sometimes guards and informants come to chat with me. They show a lot of sympathy, and frequently express their helplessness in this system. One guard, who has worked here for 26 years curses his job, while explaining he only does it to make a wage.
Yesterday, the prison warden and investigations officer requested that I meet them. I did, only for a minute, in which they stared at me and then looked at each and muttered, “He really is on hunger strike, he has lost a lot of weight.” I only discovered the next day that they had been reporting for the last three months to their superiors that I was only abstaining from the prison food - which I have never eaten in my 247 days here.
It becomes a responsibility here to continue documenting people’s stories -endless stories from all over Egypt and all classes of the society, stories of injustice that befalls everyone with no discrimination. And, whatever the circumstances, this responsibility requires me to remain sane, focused and true to myself.
I pray to be with my family and in my home before the May 5, the day I will turn 26. A few hours ago I decided that until I am released I will give up all liquids except the small amount of water I need to sustain me on this road. It is a road whose details I will continue to write until the end. If death waits for me at the end, then at least I will have chosen my own fate, never backing down.
I am not a number in your books, or a false piece of information that you can distort the truth with. I am a determination that will defy all obstacles until the message, not the person, is notorious.
April 16th, 2014."
— Abdullah writes about the prison society and how he spends his time, as he begins his fourth month of hunger strike