Free Khaled Al-Qazzaz

Another holiday season without Khaled

Reflections from SarahSarah Attia

Tomorrow is the last day of school, but my kids are hardly looking forward to the winter break. This time is especially difficult for them as they had high hopes of being able to the enjoy the holiday season with their father at home. But instead, Khaled remains imprisoned in hospital, unable to receive the medical care and attention that he needs while going through endless cycles of court hearings and appeals and delayed decisions. For the third time this month, a judge has ruled to delay decision on Khaled's case and has postponed his hearing to December 23. And of course, there continue to be no charges brought against Khaled. 

These cycles are taking a toll on our family, especially during this season when families normally come together. My kids ask if we can go see their father, but because of heightened security concerns in Egypt, I have to tell them it is not possible. But I keep up hope by reminding my children of all the goodness that is spreading because people are choosing to pay forward their father's kindness in his absence. Today, I received news that Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada (English branch), has made a donation to the Canadian Centre for International Justice, in honour of Khaled’s commitment to social justice. Back in 2003, when Khaled and I were students at the University of Toronto, Khaled founded "Students for World Justice,” a student club intended to raise awareness about injustices around the world and to work towards alleviating them. During our time in Egypt as well, he educated students on human rights and social justice in hopes of building a new generation of Egyptians who valued these fundamental moral principles. 

So although Khaled may not be home for the holidays, I remind my kids that we can continue to do the things that he would have done with us if he was here -- spread peace, love, hope, and joy amongst our family, friends, neighbours, and community.