I woke up this morning on a message from one of my old friends who lives in Saudi Arabia, “Wael, Mohamed Soltan is going to die. I am in my office now. I am helpless. I can’t do anything to him. I am just here crying.”
I paused for a moment, gathered my thoughts, then I responded, “Hey! It has been a long time since I heard from you. Sigh! Yeah, I know! He is among thousands of people: everyone of them has a tragic story!”
“No Wael!” He responded. “He is an American! Where is the American Government? What are the American people doing about it?”
I was a little surprised that my friend–who is not an American–speaks this language. I decided to call him.
“Want me to call?” I replied.
“Sure!” He answered.
Mohamed Soltan is a 27-years old, Egyptian American, who was arrested by the Egyptian Police in a street protest and was detained for over a year awaiting for trial. He has entered a hunger strike for close to year now. His health has deteriorated recently and people are worried about losing him.
“I thought calling you may be better.” I said to my friend.
“Yes it is! Thanks for calling and I am sorry to trouble you but I am here very helpless and I see my friend dying while I am unable to do anything about it!” He replied. “But I do not understand why you guys aren’t doing anything for him. Where is his government? Where are his friends? Where are the human right organizations? Where are people of conscience? Isn’t he an American citizen that you guys have to worry about? How do you just leave him die like this in prison?”
“Sigh! You know my friend. His case is not big enough to make the government push for it. There is no political motivation behind it for any politician to consider it seriously. It just did not get enough interest to be pushed forward” I, disappointedly, said.
“That is so passive Wael! YOU push for it! You make it motivating! You attract people’s attention. I know you are busy. I know you have tons of other things that you do. But this is a life of a human being that is under threat!” He angrily responded. “Don’t tell me he is not alone. I know he is not alone! But his case is unique and it should not be difficult to free him.”
“OK my friend! OK! I will try. I just do not know what to do. But I will try … Anyway, it has been a long time. How are you and how is your family …” I said
We hung up the phone. It was one of the toughest calls I had in a long time. I really do not know how to move and where to start. Well, First step, publishing this post