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“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”

—Erin Hanson

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The Story

From the shackles of prison, to the freedom of words

Abdelrahman ElGendy is a writer and former Egyptian political prisoner, who spent more than six years behind bars in Egypt, from 6 October 2013 until 13 January 2020.

Arrested at 17, and released at 24, he earned a mechanical engineering degree from Ain Shams University while in prison.

His smuggled prison writings were published online, developing a readership, until picked up and published in 2018 by the Egyptian independent platform, Mada Masr.

Since his release, his vision as a writer has been to weaponize counter-narratives as a form of resistance to the propaganda of oppressors.

ElGendy's writing appears on Mada Masr and AlManassa in Egypt, Raseef 22 and Daraj Media in Lebanon, New Lines Magazine and Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in the US—he is also the writer and editor of the Leading Change Network NGO.

ElGendy is an MFA in Creative Writing Dietrich Fellow, nonfiction track, at the University of Pittsburgh.

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