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Powerful ideas of protest and freedom of expression from the world-renowned Egyptian political prisoner and activist collected in English for the first time. With a foreword by Naomi Klein.
"The text you are holding is living history." — Naomi Klein, from the foreword
Alaa Abd el-Fattah is arguably the most high-profile political prisoner in Egypt, if not the Arab world, rising to international prominence during the revolution of 2011. A fiercely independent thinker who fuses politics and technology in powerful prose, an activist whose ideas represent a global generation which has only known struggle against a failing system, a public intellectual with the rare courage to offer personal, painful honesty, Alaa’s written voice came to symbolize much of what was fresh, inspiring and revolutionary about the uprisings that have defined the last decade. Collected here for the first time in English are a selection of his essays, social media posts and interviews from 2011 until the present. He has spent the majority of those years in prison, where many of these pieces were written. Together, they present not only a unique account from the frontline of a decade of global upheaval, but a catalogue of ideas about other futures those upheavals could yet reveal. From theories on technology and history to profound reflections on the meaning of prison, You Have Not Yet Been Defeated is a book about the importance of ideas, whatever their cost.
About the Author
Alaa Abd el-Fattah is an Egyptian writer, technologist and political activist. He has been prosecuted or arrested by every Egyptian regime to rule in his lifetime and has been held in prison for all but a few months since the coup d’état of 2013. Collected here by his family and friends, for the first time in English, are a selection of his speeches, interviews, social media posts and essays since the outbreak of revolution in January 2011—many written from inside prison.
"Don’t read this book to be comforted. Read it to be challenged, terrified, enlightened, moved, and amazed."
— Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire
"You can’t jail a revolution. Alaa Abd el-Fattah is proof. These essays, many handwritten and smuggled from a prison cell, breathe life into the 2011 moment, what shaped its revolutionary possibilities and terrible betrayals. This book is a memory of Tahrir Square that still reverberates like a heartbeat throughout the world."
—Nick Estes, author of Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance
"Written with blood and fire, You Have Not Yet Been Defeated is a brilliant and devastating testament by one of Egypt's great revolutionaries."-
—Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood
"Read this book, absorb the power of Alaa Abd el-Fattah's words, and commit to solidarity with this imprisoned writer whose intellect and compassion our world on fire so desperately needs."
— Amy Goodman, Host, Democracy Now!
"[A] damning indictment of the authoritarianism and violence of the Egyptian state... Very few of the accounts of 2011 that have emerged over the past ten years capture the emotional intensity of the moment and the tragedy of its aftermath as perceptively as Alaa does in [You Have Not Yet Been Defeated]. These essays are necessary reading for anyone who wishes to understand the last decade of Egyptian politics."
—Nihal El Aasar, Jacobin
"Alaa is the bravest, most critical, most engaged citizen of us all. At a time when Egypt has been turned into a large prison, Alaa has managed to cling to his humanity and be the freest Egyptian."
—Khaled Fahmy, author of All The Pasha’s Men
"Alaa is in prison not because he committed a crime, not because he said too much, but because his very existence poses a threat to the state. Those who are bold, those who do not relent, will always threaten the terrified and ultimately weak state which must, to survive, squash its opponents like flies. But Alaa will not allow himself to be crushed like that, I know."
— Jillian C. York, director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation
"Alaa is a philosopher of everyday life and lifelong struggle; he doesn’t merely find meaning in that which we go through, especially in dark political moments, but creates meaning and gives it form in writing. And he does so from a highly entrenched and implicated place in the present. His thoughts know no frontiers; they pierce through local contexts to inspire new modes of thinking about the chaotic substance of politics."
— Lina Attalah, editor in chief of Mada Masr