#FreeGalal poetry demonstration was seen and heard

A group of supporters of the poet Galal El-Behairy gathered in front of the embassy of Egypt in Helsinki to demand Egypt to #FreeGalal on the World Refugee Day on 20 June 2018. The open embassy windows and the curious ears behind the curtains got to hear El-Behairy’s poem A Letter from Tora Prison, which he’s written in Tora prison in May. The Arabic version of the poem together with a statement was given to the embassy’s consul after the event, which was organized by Artists at Risk and Finnish PEN.

We saw a country
rise from sleep
to trample a pharaoh
and cleanse the age
of the cane and cudgel.
We saw a country sing:
those were no slave songs,
no harbingers of doom, rather
songs fitting
for a new kind of steel.
We saw it.
We saw a country
where no one is oppressed.

From Galal El-Behairy’s poem
“A Letter from Tora Prison”

The Military Court is due to give its’ verdict on the case that handles the content of Galal El-Behairy’s poetry collection on 27 June 2018. It is Galal’s 28th birthday. Finnish PEN and Artists at Risk continue to call El-Behairy to be freed immediately, since he is facing charges, which are based on false accusations.

Follow and take part in #FreeGalal campaign on social media:

Finnish PEN:
@FinnPEN (https://twitter.com/FinnPEN)
@suomenpen (https://www.facebook.com/suomenpen)

Artists at Risk:
@PerpetualMobi (https://twitter.com/PerpetualMobi)
@artistsatrisk (https://www.facebook.com/artistsatrisk)

Please sign and share the petition to #FreeGalal El-Behairy:
https://www.change.org/p/egyptian-regime-torture-beatings-and-prison-for-galal-el-behairy-for-ramy-essam-s-balaha-freegalal

Read the joint open letter to the Egyptian authorities:
https://www.suomenpen.fi/en/egypti-loukkaa-karkeasti-sananvapautta-ja-ihmisoikeuksia-kidutettu-runoilija-galal-el-behairy-vapautettava/

More information about the case:
https://www.ramyessamvoice.com/

Johanna Sillanpää