Children of MB Detainees Launch
|Monday, April 2,2007 00:00|
|By Hashem Amin, Ikhwanweb|
We are small children, but we have big dreams. Our bodies are weak but our will is strong. We will live; we will build, and we will achieve the dream . . . Childern For Freedom
Children of MB Detainees Launch "Children for Freedom"
On Saturday afternoon, the young sons and daughters of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) detainees launched the "Children For Freedom" Association, which includes among its members children of MB detainees referred to military tribunals as well as children of other detainees across the Egyptian opposition spectrum. The association was officially launched during Cairo’s 5th International Anti-war Conference held in the Press Syndicate. The children held elections in transparent boxes to elect the association’s secretary-general, spokesman and board members.
Zahraa Al Shater delivered the opening speech of the Association. She declared that there were 5 candidates for the Association’s secretary general: Moaaz Ahmed Shousha, Diaa Ahmed Farahat, Yahya Mahmoud Ghozlan, Anas Hassan Malek andAssem Mahmoud Al Morsi. Then she asked for volunteers to supervise the voting process and the vote count, provided that they aren’t affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood group.
After a strong competition between candidates, Anas Hassan Malek (12 years old) was declared secretary general of the Association. Safiyya Mahmoud Abu Zeid (8 years old, 4th grader) read the constitutive statement of the Association, entitled: Children For Freedom: We Will Turn Egypt into a Paradise, which reflected the suffering of the children and entire families of the detainees.
In the constitutive statement, the members of the Association demanded the release of their fathers, and demanded the regime to issue a pledge not to detain them thereafter.
They said they knew that their fathers are detained not because of a crime they committed, but were taken away from them because they defend the rights of their fellow citizens to live freely in their homeland, and the right to determine their future and to build with their own hands, and to live in peace and love.
The statement confirmed that holding a dialogue is always the only means for reaching optimal solutions for all problems, and it is a means for improvement. This dialogue should not impose the view of one side over the others, but solutions are reached through consultation and democracy; and that if there are different opinions and views, there should be agreement on the end result: the improvement of and dignity of the homeland.
We live and realize a dream
The statement added that the Association’s members decided to start it democratically- they started with elections that practically express the ideas they believe in. After that, their various activities will commence: constructive and protesting, political and social, formal and recreational. The statement also pointed out that this move will spread everywhere, to demand freedom for the detained caregivers and politically detained fathers of all Egyptian children.
The statement concluded with a sentence that all the children repeated: “We are small children, but we have big dreams. Our bodies are weak but our will is strong. We will live; we will build, and we will achieve the dream.”
Zahraa Al Shater commented, saying the Association first emerged after these children faced the heart-breaking experience of waking up to see the state security’s machine guns in their houses which were turned upside-down, searching their private belongings and confiscating their computers which contain their games, even taking some of their books. After all these irresponsible crimes, adds Al Shater, “we felt that some of the values on which we were raised - values like dealing with others peacefully, and that a good person gets their just dues- were shaken to the core. Some of the children were asking why their father was detained although he is good, pious and loved by people. They asked us why we didn’t resist the security forces that stormed into our houses, especially after these raids were repeated more than once. All of this got us worried that our children may get frustrated. We decided to establish this Association to give space to express themselves in a peaceful and civil manner.”
She said that the idea emerged as a result of the children’s actions that manifested at the trial sessions. “We were surprised to see these children move and chant slogans alone and speak to the media courageously.”
When asked why the Association is restricted to only the youngsters of the reformist detainees, Zahraa said: “The children’s feelings of worry are bigger and they have more questions and inquiries; as for the adults, they can contain the situation.” Regarding the effect of establishing this Association, she said it will have a positive effect. "Although we are losing hope in this regime, we will never lose the hope for change, and we do not want our children to lose hope for a free and peaceful society. We wanted, through this Association, to give our children a realistic model of dealing with society.”
Children by age, grown up by their characters
Anas Hassan Malek expressed his happiness over being elected as a secretary-general of the Association, and said:" It is a great honor that my colleagues and fellow children gave me this confidence, which I view as a responsibility, and we will lead all Egyptian children to freedom, god willing.”
Anas wanted to send some words to his father, saying:" I supplicate to god to help you; you are on the right path. Every body is asking about you; every one here is supplicating to god to help you".
Regarding the goal from establishing this Association, Moaaz Ahmed Shousha (5th grade) said: “We established it to make them release our fathers, and not throw honorable businessmen behind bars.” When asked about studying and how he would organize his time between his studies and these activities, Moaaz said: “We are organizing our timetable well; all these activities have no effect on our studies.”
Yahya Mahmoud Ghozlan (12 years old, 7th grader) said: “They wronged us and took our money, and we aren’t animals to be treated this way. We will never remain silent, other young men are staging demonstrations, and the children should do something.”
When asked about the charges that got his father thrown behind bars, Yahya said: “Because he belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood. This group is an Islamic group that wants Islam to triumph. They wronged him. He was released fourteen months ago, after serving four years in prison. Why do you deprive him of his children? Why do you separate between him and his ill mother who needs him in this situation? It’s enough that you deprived Ahmed Ezzuddin of the opportunity to be beside his mother when she was on her deathbed.”
Aisha Hassan Malek (10 years old, 5th grader) confirmed that their Association will have a huge effect, and added: “This Association will survive, because we toiled to establish it for our parents and we prepare every speech we deliver and we want to prepare more speeches to help get our fathers released. I told father when I visited him in prison that we established an Association and held small elections.”
Safiyya Mahmoud Abu Zeid (8 years old, 4th grader) said: “We established this association to defend my father, and to make the government realize that they wronged us and to show people that we are angry.” When asked about freedom according to her, young Safiyya said:" Freedom means we do any thing we want to do, and that my father is released from prison".
Declaring the official establishment of the Association wasn’t the only thing that the children of the detained MB leaders did during the International Conference. The children and families of the detainees carried out several activities when the conference started last Thursday. The children of the detainees were keen on attracting the attention of the conference participants to their cause, so they carried signs and placards that read “No to Military Tribunals” in both English and Arabic. They were dressed in outfits that bore pictures of their fathers, under which a caption read: “The court ordered the release of my father... Why hasn’t he come home?!”
On Friday evening, some of the children organized an artistic vigil in which they presented their messages and dedications to their caregivers, as they chanted the song “My Father You Are Free”, led by Moaaz Shousha.
Transparent ballot box
Zahraa Khairat Al Shater
Moaaz Ahmed Shousha
Yehia Mahmoud Ghazlan
Aisha Hassan Malek
Safiyya Mahmoud Abu Zaid
Ahmed Dya’a Farahat
Sara Ayman Abdel Ghani Unlock the handcuffs, A cry from the children to release their fathers
I miss you daddy (printed on shirt)
Prisoners of Conscience