By the time this article will be online, he might be dead. In prison. On a hunger strike. For writing on his blog what everyone knows: despite Mubarak’s departure, the Egyptian army continues to massacre peaceful demonstrators.

Maikel Nabil Sanad is 26 years old. A recently graduated veterinarian, nothing predestined him to the status of martyr. Of Coptic origin, conscientious objector, he describes himself on his blog as « liberal, secular, feminist, entrepreneur, pro-Western, pro-Israel, atheistic, materialistic, realistic, pro-globalization, anti-militarist and pacifist. »

Imprisoned in November 2010 for criticizing the Mubarak regime and the army, at the age of 23 he became one of the leading figures in the democracy movement. Released after the overthrow of the Rais, January 28, 2011, he was arrested again soon after the taking of power by Marshal Muhammad Tantawi, for « insulting » the army on his blog (in fact for having denounced once again military violence against demonstrators). Tried in military court without a lawyer in March 2011, sentenced to three years in prison in August 2011, he decided to go on a hunger strike, allowing himself only milk, fruit juices and medication, while the army continues its unpunished violence: killing 24 demonstrators on October 9 and 12 others on December 17, not to mention hundreds of wounded and tortured. A total of 12,000 Egyptians have been thrown in jail since the fall of the Mubarak regime.

Maikel had appealed against his conviction, without interrupting his hunger strike. On December 20th, he was retried by a court martial and sentenced to two years in prison: according to the judgment, his writings are not of « freedom of opinion and expression, but offenses of insult and defamation against the armed forces ». He is presented by most of the Egyptian media and the army as « anti-nationalist, atheistic, pro-Israeli. »

Weaker and weaker, he is taken to the clinic in El Marg prison, in complete isolation, in a cell with no bed; no physician of his choice, no relative can see him, despite the international outcry.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian government is releasing the symbolic blogger, who is also facing the army, Alaa Abdelfattah. But then: Alaa is a Muslim and the Egyptian government seems to hope that the « Zionism » of Nabil will prevent the crowds to get mobilized for him.

Maikel then decided to make his hunger strike total: ingesting only water. His kidneys are deteriorating, and now death awaits him, even if, perhaps, he is released within the next few days.

This case, so tragic, has already occurred to varying extents, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya, in Tunisia: Democrats, men and women eager to live free are giving their lives every day. This change is not specific to Islam, as shown in the rise of religious extremism in Israel, Nigeria and in many other countries. It is revealing of what threatens the world in 2012: improvised revolutions are giving way to dictatorships; beautiful men and women are lost for their belief in the promises of democracies unable to impose their values; supposedly liberating technologies remain powerless against brute force; fundamentalism hold tight faced with the most permissive demonstrations of individual freedom.

Faced with this resurgence of religious obscurantism, long obscured by secular totalitarianism, democracies will need to open their eyes; and defend all freedoms for everyone, as long as they do not interfere with those of others.

Are they going to want this? Are they going to give themselves the means to do so?