Engulfed in Darkness

By: Ragheb Malli

Oppression is never justified. The oppression of innocent is even more incomprehensible. I cannot see the oppression anymore, but I can feel it. It is all around me. In the thick air of these inhabitable cells. In the guards and the officers that come and go. My heartbeat matches the sound of their shoes as they come closer. What will they do today and how long for? They drag me from place to place, sometimes for a beating, sometimes torture and sometimes they hang me in chains for hours. 

My family visited a while ago, I don’t know how long ago, my days and nights have merged into one long stretch of endless torture. If it is not physical, then it is emotional. My mother sees my darkened and purple patched skin. She knows what they do. I have no help. In the midst of my helpless despair, I know I will not receive any. 

I am in here for political reasons. How funny. Since when was it a crime to oppose a lack of rights? I serve my life sentence in pain and anger. I am now stateless. I cannot see the end – not even feel it, because, for me, there is no end. I try to adapt, but every time I do, I am moved and shaken. Harder and harder it is for me to eat, to sleep, to live. More so than others, for I cannot see a glimmer of light. I cannot see the sky. I cannot even see the cold floor of my cell. Did I forget to mention that I am blind?

I am blind and alone in my world. They pull me left and right in places I cannot see. I don’t know where to expect the next beating when I am chained, I just keep my body tense and alert. Attending to my wounds is specifically hard as I don’t know what to do or where things are. I have no help and I know I will not receive any.

Activists and organizations are shouting for my freedom, for my care. But words are only words until they are actions. I am grateful, but I am hopeless. Especially now, with a new wave of sickness and disease. They say Covid silences yours senses, how can I afford to lose another sense. I hear they are letting out prisoners – close to 1000. Of course, not us though. Not those who are in here for said political crimes. We here are left to suffer in conditions that encourage the spread of this illness and in my darkness, once again, I cannot protect myself.

My name is Jaafar Maatouk and I am in Jau Prison. Spread my story and make enough noise for them to release me from there oppression.