On Monday, human rights activist Zainab AlKhawaja was freed after more than a year in prison. Her first message on release was “Resist!”.

AlKhawaja, whose father and fellow activist Abdulhadi AlKhawaja is serving a life sentence for his activities, still faces two trials over her protests for rights and reform, but on Wednesday morning she used Twitter to express her joy and hope:

I woke up today, not to the the sounds of the big locks on the prison doors.

I woke up, but not to the shouting of prison guards, or the counting of the prisoners.

I woke up today but not in a suffocating and crowded tiny prison cell.

I woke up to the beautiful voice of my daughter Jude, “Wake up Mum, the sun is shining.”

If I were to be asked what it feels like, I would say coming out of prison makes one feel like everything is a miracle. When you feel the wind on your face or the heat of the sun, that’s a miracle. A window is a miracle. Hearing your child singing or having her sleep on your lap is indescribable.

I sit with family, relatives, and friends, and just seeing them all talking and laughing makes me feel great happiness. The words of Khalil Gibran echo in my mind, “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”

Yes, joy is a great word to describe my feeling to be among my people — to see my country, the streets, the homes, and the villages. But my love for Bahrain and the people of Bahrain makes me find joy in my prison cell as well.


Sacrificing for our country and our children and for a better future is something we should celebrate. Yes, in my prison cell I feel more proud and fearless than any dictator does on his throne and in his palace. Though they try to isolate me, I never felt alone. The truth is I feel like I’m surrounded with the thousands of political prisoners in Bahrain.

An unbreakable bond unites us on this path towards a country of freedom and dignity, and our oppressors should know that our patience in walking this path has no limits.

I might be re-arrested today and taken back to the same cell I have lived in for the past year, but if that happens, I will thank God for these past three days and go back to prison with my head held high and a smile on my face. For I will be joining those whom I know that, despite the cells containing them, are the most free of the daughters and sons of Bahrain.


I thank everyone who has supported me, my family, our people, and our cause. Our support strengthens a freedom-loving people and weakens a dictator.

I thank my amazing mother. She truly is a superwoman. She taught me strength and patience. She is my rock. The Bahraini regime has failed to silence me and father for one reason: we have a strong voice, and that voice is my mother. My mother is our voice because she carries our words and thoughts out of our prison cells and to the world.

I thank my father for always being with me. We might be in different prisons, but his love makes me feel like we’re in the same cell.

And I thank the people of Bahrain who are bravely and patiently suffering so that one day we can be free. My love for my family and people is too great of a feeling to be imprisoned in language or words. I hope that my actions reflect that love.