The journey is being long 01/02/2014

They have woken up early, cold can be felt.
Good morning darling, says her mum with a loving look.
She has taken breakfast slowly, cleaned her face, dressed up…
Meanwhile her mum has taken the blue and white bag bought in the shop and then they have left the house turning the key three times.
They have arrived to the square without escaping the nets of dreams.
Holding her mum’s hand she listens the good mornings shared by those that take the same bus every week. Kids don’t have the energy for such things.
The journey is too long, heavy, tiring— and mum tries to put the kid to sleep, and she makes it… but only after a few kilometres, she opens her eyes and asks: How far yet mum? … a little yet darling… sleep a little bit. The same question and same answer will be heard a number of times during the journey.
They have finally arrived. From the cold of the Basque Country to the light and warm of Al-Andalus… They have quickly entered the visit, she has shown dad the last drawing made on the school, and told him, proudly that she takes care of mum, and that she is telling him that she behaves, when she has looked his dad on the eyes and asked. When are you coming home dad?
And the prison officer has entered the room and said “visit is over” and when listening they have given the last kisses, the last smiles… I love you, says the prisoner on the last instant… once in the street again, they have gone to the bus, everyone has come out of the short visit happy, and sad, full of energy… and tired… on the way back we will listen again, how far yet? How much time yet?… and while thinking on the visit a smile will come to her lips.

Arkaitz Bellon 2014/07/01

When the news of your death struck us
I’m sure all of us in prison thought the same:
it could have been me, it could have been any of us!
And we made your parents, friend and beloved ours.
And now, when your body goes amongst ikurrinas
when I saw on TV, the violent silence of people has touched me…
And I have imagined the leaders of the Abertzale Left repeating
The words said by Palmiro Togliatti when the secretary general of the Italian Communist Party
was close to death after an attack on him, with love, with Responsibility! Tell our people to stay calm
When I have switched off the TV, I’ve listenned to ALBINONI’s addagio in your honour, I’ve remembered
something a friend told me sometime ago: The Basque Country is a Country condemned to death!
And as I did then, with more reason I want to tell you: No!
The Basque Country is a Country, a people, that lost its fear of death long ago..
which loves live…
as you do, as we do…

Justice is equal for everyone 02/08/2014

When Basque prisoner Arkaitz Bellon died*, he barely had a few months left to complete the whole of his sentence of 15 years for the alleged burning of a bus in Donostia. From that day I began to select some of the teletext of “Tele 5” regarding news items from legal rulings in the Spanish state. These are only a few of them:
03/03/2014 – sentenced to 12 years in prison for STONING TO DEATH a friend in Nijar (Almeria).
05/03/2014 – sentenced to 3 years in prison for ATTACKING his girlfriend in Cantabria.
13/03/2014 – sentenced to 4 years in prison for sexually abusing a 6 year-old girl in Linares (Jaen).
10/03/2014 – sentenced to 4 years in prison a security guard in Macarena (Seville) for trying to rape a companion.
15/04/2014 – the Supreme Court sentences someone to 9 years in prison for trying to KILL his girlfriend with electric shocks.
18/05/2014 – sentenced to 12 years in prison for stabbing to DEATH a man in Seville.
Pedro Cuevas spent 4 years in prison of the 17 that he was sentenced for KILLING Guillem Agulló (a leftwing youngster killed by a recognised extreme right fascist in Valencia) .

And in this way we can make a never ending list… and so in Seville stabbing someone to death is paid with 12 years in prison and burning a bus in Donostia it’s 15 years (of COMPLETE fulfilment).
Justice is equal for everyone, they say. These are the facts, you can make your own conclusions.

*Arkaitz Bellon, a 36 year-old Basque prisoner died in jail a few months before his release. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison for being accused of burning a local bus.

Prison’s grass-flowers 01/11/2014

We have found them in many prison’s courtyards, fighting against concrete and standing up looking for some sun. I wouldn’t say they are flowers, neither normal grass, truth be told, speaking about their beauty would take us to Kant’s debate about beauty.

When the sun shines strongly, there is always someone ready to water them, to quench their life thirst. Many times, don’t ask me why, it is Arab prisoners who water these grass-flowers, maybe due to the special relations they have with water…

On those occasions, I’m sure, the grass-flowers are grateful, with their chlorophyll hearts, to the prisoners, and as they are in the courtyard for a long time they never ask the prisoner why he or she is in here, to show their gratitude.

Sometimes when running on the courtyard I go by them, I believe they tell me, in the special language this grass-flowers have developed, LIFE AND FREEDOM IS ONE!

And maybe that is te reason having flowers or grass-flowers is forbidden in every prison.
Arnaldo Otegi

Colours are banned in prison 02/12/2014

And it is for that that they have informed me that correspondence can only be sent on white paper. It seems that the reason is a technical-logistical one: letters written on coloured paper are very difficult to photocopy and read. (sic)

So when they communicated it to me it reminded me of a delicious story that the author Eduardo Galeano wrote in 1976 and I think it deserves me to share it with you. The title of the story (based on true events) is titled “Forbidden birds” and it says this:

“The Uruguayan political prisoners may not talk without permission, or whistle, smile, sing, walk fast, or greet other prisoners; nor may they make or receive drawings of pregnant women, couples, butterflies, stars or birds. One Sunday, Didasko Pérez, schoolteacher, tortured and jailed for “having ideological ideas,” is visited by his daughter Milay, aged five. She brings him a drawing of birds. The guards destroy it at the entrance of the jail.

On the following Sunday, Milay brings him a drawing of trees. Trees are not forbidden, and the drawings get through. Didasko praises her work and asks about the colored circles scattered in the treetops, many small circles half-hidden among the branches:

“Are they oranges? What fruit is it?”

The child puts her fingers to her mouth: “Ssssshhh.” And she whispers in his ear:

“Silly. Don’t you see they’re eyes? They’re the eyes of the birds that I’ve smuggled in for you”

For that I have advised my friends that although my pages are white they carry all the colours of the rainbow hidden in them (above all red, to be truthful)… because they don’t know… white is nothing but the sum of all colours.

Arnaldo Otegi. Logroño Prison.