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Khaled Hosseini writes to Wael Abbas - Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2018

Wednesday 14 November 2018 - 7:00am

Khaled Hosseini | Wael Abbas

Update - 4 December 2018

Wael Abbas has been released after seven months of detention.

“I am thrilled to hear that Wael Abbas will be released by Egyptian authorities.  Writers and journalists must be allowed to exercise their right to freedom of expression without fear of being persecuted. I wish Wael a happy reunion with his family.”

- Khaled Hosseini

Dear Wael:

In many ways, you and I don’t have much in common. I have never been detained against my will. My house has never been raided. I don’t know what it feels like to have my social media account suspended or to have my personal belongings confiscated by authorities. I have never been blindfolded. I have never been falsely accused. My work has never been censored. I do not know personally the sense of injustice and outrage that must have coursed through you, as those terrible things were done to you.

But what is most unimaginable to me is that I should suffer those fates for something that I wrote. My reality is that I wake up daily and write what feels urgent to me. I write about my world, my fears, my dreams for it. I never imagine that my freedoms can be taken because of the books I write. I don’t get up in the morning and express gratitude for these liberties. I should. I will.

Because, Wael, your reality is a radically different one. You who have made a career exposing abuse, brutality, and social injustice, who have advocated for human rights knowing your own would be at risk. You who have done all this knowing that journalists and writers like you face unprecedented peril and persecution. I cannot fathom the courage residing within you.

I am writing you this letter because, unlike me, you have suffered a great injustice as your work has cost you your freedom. I am writing to tell you that, in case you feel alone, you are not, Wael. An entire community of writers, artists, and activists feel your outrage and stand behind you, and I include myself among them. I add my voice to theirs and ask the Egyptian authorities for your immediate release and the full restoration of your rights as a writer and social activist. I hope that one day, inshallah, I can shake your hand in daylight, under open and free skies.

I wish you strength and patience.

In solidarity,

Khaled Hosseini