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Thinking of Patrick

The Rector of the University of Bologna, Francesco Ubertini, shared with the entire academic community this message addressed to Patrick Zaki who is spending his birthday in prison for the second year in a row.

Dear Patrick,

I am writing to you, and I can say I am doing so on behalf of our entire community. In recent days, there have been a lot of events in Bologna and all over Italy to maintain a high level of attention on your unfair detention and the cruel deprivation of your inalienable right to freedom.

I hope you know that it is not because of your birthday that we are resuming our relentless call to awareness. Since February 7 2020, none of us has ceased, not even once, to hope for your liberation and to think of you with empathy and warmth, while anxiously waiting for a positive outcome of your ongoing situation. Being with you today on your 30th birthday is nevertheless important because it allows us to think of you as a student and as a firm supporter of critical thinking who has been unfairly imprisoned and has seen his human rights violated, and eventually and most importantly as a human being. Until one and a half years ago, you were, like all of us, a human being with hopes, projects, expectations and dreams.

We are deeply hurt by the unspeakable violence and overpowering injustice that have put on hold interrupted your vital energy and your personal growth. At the same time, this motivates us and makes us implacable in our fight for your freedom. We will raise our voice and make it heard until we know you are back in our community, ready and able to feel hopeful about the future once again.

We send you our warmest love.

Francesco Ubertini