- October 5, 2011
- 4 minutes read
Michael Nabil’s release is essential for Egyptian democracy & rule of law
Dr. Michael Nabil Sanad, a 25 year old Egyptian veterinarian, has been sentenced to three years behind bars by a military tribunal. Today marks the 42nd day the blogger and pacifist has been on hunger strike for what his family says is the “ill-treatment” he has received at Al-Marg military prison, in Quliubia. Michael’s health has critically deteriorated and he has lost a great deal of weight as he continues to refuse to end his strike. Recently, he also began refusing to take his heart medication. The controversy surrounding his detainment has resulted in weak support by Egyptian activists and rights groups, as well as the local media’s continued refusal to report on his story.
Michael’s case is extremely “controversial” and therefore before I delve into the details I would like to clarify my position on two important issues. First, members of my family include three respected Generals in the Egyptian Army, one of them a highly decorated war hero of the 6th of October War of 1973. Therefore, my opinions regarding our army can only be seen in light of my slightly biased position. Second, I am pro-Palestinian and therefore strongly against Israel’s widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights, its mass killings and collective punishments, demolition of houses, closure of the Palestinian territories, which according to the UN Commission on Human Rights constitute crimes against humanity. I am also against Israel’s “unlawful killing,” “extension and wanton of destruction of property; obstruction of medical assistance and targeting of medical personnel; torture, and the use of Palestinians as ‘human shields’ which according to Amnesty International constitute war crimes.
But I am not anti-Semitic …
I do not hate people simply because they are Jewish. My attacks will always be directed at Israel’s government, its politicians and its policies but never at a people or a race. I do that, not out of a naïve sense of worldly love and human reconciliation. I do that out of respect for my own values and principles. Simply put, it defines me. It is who I am.
Michael Nabil, however, has extremely different opinions than my own regarding Israel. In 2009, he created a Facebook page called “No to Compulsory Service Campaign,” in protest against the compulsory three-year military service of Egyptian males. His reason was outrageous by Arab standards: “I don’t want to point a weapon at a young Israeli, recruited into obligatory service, defending his state’s right to exist,” he explained. Michael admired Israel, rejected what he called Arab terrorism and published an Arabic language website of the Israeli foreign ministry entitled, “Why I Am a Pro-Israel.” He studied Hebrew and had a Hebrew section on his blog. As a result he has been accused of being a traitor, an Israeli spy and a Zionist agent. Ultimately, Michael states the reason for his pro-Israel stance is that he is a pacifist, or as he puts it in Arabic .