Bahraini child political prisoner’s letter

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video is about a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, where a letter by a Bahraini child political prisoner was read.

From the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy:

#HRC27: Letter from Bahraini Child Political Prisoner Read at the Council

On 16 September, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy’s Advocacy Associate, Amanda Milani, read a letter from Bahraini child political prisoner, Jehad Sadeq, during an oral intervention at the 27th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva under Item 3. Please continue reading for full remarks or click here to download a PDF.

Jehad Sadeq

Text of the Intervention

“Thank you, Mr. President,

Alsalam Foundation, acting in coordination with Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, would like to present to the Human Rights Council excerpts from a letter…

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For These Incarcerated Women, Print Sure As Hell Ain’t Dead

For These Incarcerated Women, Print Sure As Hell Ain’t Dead

Cover of Issue 31 by Jenni Gann

In the early 2000s, a group of women at Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Oregon were reading over prison zines created by men. They identified with some topics—racist treatment, guard brutality, human rights violations—but began to realize that the zines failed to address specific issues that women faced on the inside, things like sexual harassment and assault by prison employees, being pregnant in prison, and losing custody of their children on the outside. Thus, Tenacious: A Zine of Art & Writing by Women in Prison was born.

Artwork by Nicky Riley, a trans woman incarcerated in a men’s prison in Texas

“Being inside prison, there’s no way to produce your own zines. There’s no access to, say, a copying machine, or the ability to write mail freely to [people] in other prisons to solicit work, or the ability to mail off lots of copies of zines,” says Tenacious editor Victoria Law, a freelance journalist and editor who writes about prison culture for publications like The Nation and Truthout. “So these women approached me and said, ‘We can’t do this because we’re in prison, so would you be willing to be that outside person who collects submissions, prints them up, puts them together, and then sends them back out into the world?’”

Prison Is Pain by Sylvia Sierra, who was released shortly after the publication of this artwork

Law has been doing just that since the inaugural issue in 2002—and the zine just sent off the 32nd issue. While in the early days, Tenacious was almost entirely written by Oregon State inmates, the zine has expanded its scope significantly since. “This issue has pieces by women incarcerated in California, Oklahoma, Ohio, Mississippi, Illinois,” says Law. “One woman recounts her experience being pregnant in Mississippi and the challenges to having any sort of healthy pregnancy while incarcerated. [Problems] range from inadequate nutrition to not being able to see the doctor regularly—her last pre-natal visit before she was due to give birth was cancelled. When her water started leaking, the prison medical staff decided she wasn’t ready to go to the hospital, and they kept her a lot longer than they should have. These are the challenges people who are pregnant inside face.”

Other articles in the current issue cover “dispelling myths about murderers,” living with Celiac disease in prison, and even a piece written by a woman on death row.

Artwork by Tabitha Swords

The wider distribution of Tenacious has allowed it to become a useful forum for women in prison. Law recalls publishing an article by a woman from New Jersey about crackdowns on personal property and ramped-up searches in her prison around election time, all so that prison staff could boast high confiscation numbers to politicians. “And a woman in Colorado read that and wrote a piece in response to that saying, ‘It’s not just New Jersey,’” says Law. “So in a way Tenacious connects women with each other, even if they can’t meet face-to-face, to show each other that the experiences aren’t unique, that the problems are more systemic.”

Drawing of Dessie Woods by Rachel Galindo. Dessie Woods was a Black woman incarcerated during the 1970s for defending herself against sexual assault by a white man. Her case drew national and international attention, leading to greater support both during her trial and imprisonment.

Tenacious has been an important tool for inmates in more tangible ways, too. In one particular issue, a woman wrote about a pattern of assault at Oregon State. That issue then made it into the hands of an outside group who began a letter writing campaign, which eventually led to an investigation. But because of the sensitive nature of complaints and accusations against prison administration, Law admits that Tenacious has also had a run-in or two with officials—one article claimed that a prison officer had been continuously assaulting a prisoner, which led to the banning of that specific issue by that prison. In fact, the recent cover of issue 31 contained imagery that might have gotten some prisoners in trouble. “The image that might cause a problem for people in California is of a dragon,” says Law. “California has a whole bunch of images that they consider gang-related. Until recently, having anything with an image of a dragon could be used as proof that you are part of a prison gang and could land you in indefinite solitary confinement. That was something that I thankfully thought of before sending out copies of the publication.”

Tenacious is free to women in prison and jails, while incarcerated men seeking the zine are asked to send two stamps to cover postage costs, and $3 is requested of those on the outside.

http://magazine.good.is/articles/tenacious-zine-women-in-prison

The Love Letters of Angela Davis & George Jackson

 

The Love Letters of Angela Davis & George Jackson

On July 8th, 1971, Angela Davis and George Jackson met in a holding cell beside a courtroom in the Marin Civic Center in the company of two attorneys and an outside observer. It was the first time that they would be in the same room together for an extended period of time. About a year earlier, Davis had seen Jackson when she attended his pre-trial hearing. She had been organizing to free the Soledad Brothers.

After their July 1971 meeting, Angela Davis began to write a series of letters to Jackson. Paul Avery (1975) explains:

“She typed out her innermost thoughts single space onto, in all, 18 pages of legal size paper. Page by page, over a period of a month, the diary-like document was smuggled out of the Marin jail and into nearby San Quentin Prison’s Adjustment Center where Jackson, Clutchette and Drumgo were being held awaiting their own trial (p.16).”

After Jackson was killed in August 1971, Angela Davis’s letters to him were discovered in his cell. During her trial, the prosecution (which had a very weak case) seized upon the discovered letters to suggest that Davis’s motive for helping Jonathan Jackson (George’s younger brother) with his lethal hostage taking incident was her love for George Jackson.

Again Avery (1975) provides some background:

“When the prosecution announced its intent to introduce the “love letters” as evidence to be read to the jury, the defense cried foul. They argued that Ms. Davis’ intimate feelings were protected by the right of privacy and immaterial to the case at hand. The State responded that her own words proved the People’s case (p.16).”

A few days after hearing excerpts from her writings to Jackson, a jury acquitted Davis on all counts. Avery writes: “In the end, all the State could prove was that Angela Davis loved George Jackson.”

The letters are incredibly moving and poignant. It’s a shame that they are not readily available for everyone to read. Below is an example of something that Davis wrote dated 7/22 (the words are offered as they appear in the magazine):

This has been a week I didn’t think I would be able to survive. Not for many month have I been so depressed. Since I received word that you had, if only tentavely, placed me in the adversary camp, so many other things around me have crumbled, but I don’t think this is an appropriate time to bother you with all the details of my troubles. You’re the only one who can bring me out of states like this, but there’s this huge thing between us. Even on this level of communication, I feel extremely uncomfortable. I don’t love you less — that’s something beyond my control. But I just can’t go on like this. Please be kind to me and let me know immediately what this whole thing is all about.

I guess I really was angry when I wrote this letter of the 16th. The anger has more or less subsided, although I essentially feel the same things I expressed in that anger; the anger has given way to this unabated depression. If someone sees you tomorrow, please send back some word. I love you, but do you feel the same as before?

For These Incarcerated Women, Print Sure As Hell Ain’t Dead

My Blog Inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com

For These Incarcerated Women, Print Sure As Hell Ain’t Dead

Cover of Issue 31 by Jenni Gann

In the early 2000s, a group of women at Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Oregon were reading over prison zines created by men. They identified with some topics—racist treatment, guard brutality, human rights violations—but began to realize that the zines failed to address specific issues that women faced on the inside, things like sexual harassment and assault by prison employees, being pregnant in prison, and losing custody of their children on the outside. Thus, Tenacious: A Zine of Art & Writing by Women in Prison was born.

Artwork by Nicky Riley, a trans woman incarcerated in a men’s prison in Texas

“Being inside prison, there’s no way to produce your own zines. There’s no access to, say, a copying machine, or the ability to write mail freely to [people] in…

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