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.