“The Echoes of Chains,” the new book by imprisoned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Secretary Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat and printed by Dar al-Farabi in Lebanon, was launched in the Gaza Strip on November 13 with a large event honoring the book.
Comrade Allam Kaabi, member of the Central Committee of the PFLP delivered the speech of the Front. He was joined by the longtime struggler Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and Abdel-Nasser Ferwana, researcher on prisoners’ affairs.
Comrade Kaabi began his speech by saluting the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the martyrs of the prisoners’ movement and the families of the prisoners, especially the family of Comrade Sa’adat. He noted that the importance of the book stems from its basis in the reality of isolation experienced by Sa’adat from 2009 to 2012, and reviews the history of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement as well as methods of torture and policies of isolation. Further, he said, the book is distinguished because it was written by a leader inside the prisons who is one of the most prominent symbols of the prisoners’ movement and who played a key role in shaping that movement through long periods of imprisonment and steadfastness in the dungeons of interrogation.
He noted that the goal of the book is not a celebration of the leader Abu Ghassan but an opportunity to evoke the concepts and real understandings of the prisoners through Sa’adat’s experience. Prison literature is a form of leverage for the Palestinian struggle and a compass that points toward national victory, producing and reproducing values and concepts of struggle.
Comrade Kaabi noted that Sa’adat wrote his book inside the cell as a means of confrontation of the occupier and his attempts to undermine the morale and minds of the leaders and the Palestinian people. Sa’adat’s human face is reflected in those of the poor and oppressed, and the book reflects the human experiences of hope, pain and pride of the prisoners in the cells of the occupation, such as the struggler Kozamoto and the martyr Ibrahim al-Rai. It presents the human image of Rita and Qais, the children of the leader Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh; the mother of the leader Hassan Salameh; and the love of the children of Abdullah Barghouthi.
Raji Sourani said that Sa’adat’s book is a critical humanitarian document because it presents the human experience not only of Ahmad Sa’adat, but of dozens of others he presents in the books. He called for many more books that embody the experience and human suffering of Palestinian prisoners. Isolation is usually based on the recommendations of the intelligence and is aimed at leaders and activists within the prisons; it is a method of torture and humiliating treatment that aims to undermine the human dignity of the detainee.
Sourani said that the issue of prisoners is a critical and strategic issue, not one to come and go from season to season. He noted that the prisoners’ cause must always be present, looking forward to the date of freedom of Sa’adat and all of the fellow political prisoners in Israeli jails.
Abdel-Nasser Ferwana said that the book presents a new and unconventional vision of the prison experience, chronicling Sa’adat’s experience in solitary confinement and isolation from 2009 to 2012. Ferwana said that Sa’adat rebelled against the reality of injustice, putting his pen to paper to shed life on the experience of life behind bars, calling the book wonderful and rich, bringing the past and present with all of its painful aspects to life and revealing the prisoners’ great ability to adapt and withstand suffering.
Comrade Ahlam Eid also spoke at the event, delivering a speech on behalf on Sumoud Sa’adat, the daughter of Ahmad Sa’adat. Sa’adat saluted Gaza, the lighthouse of the resistance amid the darkest skies over Palestine. She emphasized the importance of collecting and distributing prison literature, which is rich, varied and distinguished, embodying the steadfastness of the prisoners and their families behind bars.