e-flux Conversations has been closed to new contributions and will remain online as an archive. Check out our new platform for short-form writing, e-flux Notes.

e-flux conversations

"This Prison Has a Sky without Bars"

In the Egypt-based magazine Mada, Abdelrahman ElGendy, a former political prisoner, reflects on his ongoing experience of self-isolation and confinement at home amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The piece is moving and lyrical, noting how the memory of confinment never really leaves you. Here’s an excerpt:

I think about these visions that have been appearing to me every day with the gradual, stunning metamorphosis of our planet into an enormous prison. It’s as though my life inside prison spotted me trying to ignore it. It’s now determined to follow me around…

I watch the world around me turn into a prison, and I remember the words of all who got released before us, sending us thoughts in consolation, saying that life outside is but another big prison, maybe a much more comfortable, wider and distracting prison, and most importantly, one that has your loved ones beside you. But it remains a form of prison, nonetheless, at least in its outer frame, if not the details. They might have just been trying to make us feel better. But now, for the first time, life actually is turning into a big prison.

Image via Sky News.