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Second Egypt Quote of the Day: 'Inscribed On the Walls'

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, November 3 2011

In the few hours that sunlight enters the dark cell we read what a past cellmate has inscribed on the walls in an elegant Arabic calligraphy.

Four walls covered from floor to ceiling in Qur'anic verses and prayers and invocations and reflections. And what reads like a powerful desire to repent.

Next day we discover, in a low corner, the date of execution of our cellmate of the past. Our tears conquer us.

The guilty make plans for repentance. What can the innocent do?

— Activist and blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah, in a letter written from his jail cell, written Nov. 1 and published the next day in the Guardian. Today, a military court refused his appeal against detention; he was detained over the weekend in connection with a fatal Oct. 9 clash between the army and protesters. His summoning before authorities has sparked an outcry over what activists say is the military's unwillingness to proceed with a transition to democracy in Egypt after decades of authoritarian rule under the now-toppled Hosni Mubarak.

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