Thursday, April 7, 2011

The infamous Roumieh Prison: get inspired

I have been inside Roumieh prison a few times (visiting that is) and I never felt more in danger inside than outside those thick high walls and wires, or to put it better I never felt less in danger outside than inside the prison. People outside are no more free. It is inside a prison, that the highest forms of humanity can be seen with bare eyes: Regret, vengeance, solitude, rancor, anger, hopelessness, but also a lot of pride, are the walking spirits there. I never understood why cellphones, TVs, and internet -why not?- are prohibited inside. It is not a man deprived of his freedom you should fear but a man stripped of his dignity. That's what you learn from the big masters. Get inspired:

To assert in any case that a man must be absolutely cut off from society because he is absolutely evil amounts to saying that society is absolutely good, and no-one in his right mind will believe this today. Albert Camus

The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons. Fyodor Dostoevsky

In jail a man has no personality. He is a minor disposal problem and a few entries on reports. Nobody cares who loves or hates him, what he looks like, what he did with his life. Nobody reacts to him unless he gives trouble. Nobody abuses him. All that is asked of him is that he go quietly to the right cell and remain quiet when he gets there. There is nothing to fight against, nothing to be mad at. The jailers are quiet men without animosity or sadism. All this stuff you read about men yelling and screaming, beating against the bars, running spoons along them, guards rushing in with clubs -- all that is for the big house. A good jail is one of the quietest places in the world. Life in jail is in suspension. Raymond Chandler

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