Egypt: When the military dictatorship brags about building the largest prisons in the world

A few days ago, the Egyptian reality appeared to us stranger than fiction in the novels of utopia and dystopia together. Yes, it is a dictatorial government that celebrated the inauguration of the largest prison complex in the world in the Wadi Al-Natron region. Prisons serve as a role of reform and discipline, but this time with a festive look punctuated by a sense of entitlement and pride for such an achievement.

This achievement comes after an achievement that did not garner the pride of the supporters of this dictatorship, which is to stop the periodic extension of the state of emergency that has governed the country for nearly nine years since the advent of this regime and for several decades it was not lifted except in the two orphan years of the revolution.

Prisons have been opened at exaggerated costs, but this did not reduce the density of prisons and did not improve the conditions of imprisonment that leak out from time to time and are heard in many local and international human rights reports. But this is no longer important news, as criminal laws have been amended to codify harsher cases. Now everyone can be subject to military trials in any dispute within a public facility as it is a military facility, and everyone can be subject to the laws of terrorism that have transformed ordinary misdemeanors into felonies that require military trials and transformed ordinary civilian facilities into military facilities by virtue of the law.

Yes, they imprison the future, confiscate the present, falsify the past, and then demand that we be proud of this prison and these actions because they are inspired by the general’s imagination. This is how dictatorships behave, as in the novels that described their actions as a fantasy that is unlikely to occur at the time of writing novels such as 1984 and other utopian novels about dictatorships that want to impose maximum control over society and the transformation of citizens into a mode of select slavery in which the public praises the chief for just building a prison.

The Egyptians reacted to the news and the media uproar around it with more regret and ridicule from a bitter reality in which the education sector can barely find a budget to appoint 250,000 teachers who are badly needed by the Ministry and does not have resources and is trying to get out of this impasse by inviting young people to volunteer to fill this deficit that resulted from the civil service laws that aimed to reduce government expenditures on wages.

At a time when there is no budget for building new schools or hospitals, the system leaves us with a luxurious prison complex far from the reality of prisons in Egypt. Egyptians compete to joke about it, such as that a father of a student son must put a piece of hashish or narcotic substances for him in his school bag and then report him to enter this new prison complex. Some lawyers announce on their pages, as a joke, the possibility of fabricating charges for those who want to enter this new prison for a fee, or that reservations have been completed in this prison as a hotel. The highest ambition of some of the detainees is to deliver an answer to their families that reassures them and the highest ambition of some is to receive medicine or to see a doctor, while the highest ambition of others is to have a clean blanket that protects them from the cold of the harsh winter cells.

The regime’s supporters demand that we celebrate with them the largest prison complex in the world and its equipment, and you know for sure that this prison and this image is directed to the outside alone and will not contribute even an iota towards improving conditions.