Sunday, January 22, 2012

Corcoran prisoner about changing public attitudes on prisoners & torture

Exerpted Letter from Zaharibu Dorrough (Corcoran)

Dec. 8, 2011

I honestly believe that there will not be a
better time to challenge the legality of
warehousing people in isolation than now.

As a result of the hunger strike and the
efforts "the magnificent efforts" of people like
you, the public is now aware of how their tax
dollars are being wasted. ...That has to be the
context in which it is framed to the larger
public. How their tax dollars are being wasted is
the one thing that every citizen out there has in
common with one another. Regardless of how they
might feel about humanity of citizens in
prison/isolation. Strategically that has to be
the starting point for progressives to build around.

Historically, injustice has had a tremendous
headstart....we are always playing catch-up, we
must work that much harder to not let citizens
forget. To constantly strengthen our relationships with one another.

Forging coalitions with like-minded
progressives. Putting faces to the stories of torture and abuse.

There are human beings dying "being driven to
suicide" as a result of the isolation that they
are being subjected to. That people are being
housed under such conditions would be shameful
under any circumstance. That it happens in what
is referred to as the world's greatest appalling. Conditions that are
responsible for literally driving people crazy
and to suicide is what isolation is intended to accomplish.

...there is still a lot of work to be done in the
nation educating itself in a way that will allow
us to develop the kind of strategies and tactics
that will make it possible to effectively and
permanently deal with the abuses and
disrespecting of humanity that is an all too
common part of this nation's history. Hate and
indifference (and it goes by many names: racism,
sexism, homophobia, poverty, religious bigotry,
classism) are the tools that are used by those in
positions of authority to maintain power....

Hate and indifference is so entrenched in our
cultural psyche that we actually believe that,
personally and institutionally, [we can still be]
fair and just. We believe this because we have
never been taught or encouraged to consider that
our growth and development, individually,
collectively, and institutionally, has occurred
within the same racist, sexist, homophobic,
classist... hateful and indifferent circumstance
n which we have lived. It is who and what many of us are.

... we are taught that the beauty of the free
market economy is that everyone is given equal
access to the market to compete for jobs and
economic prosperity. But...we compete against one
another for the smallest portion of the economic
pie. Hate and indifference is responsible for
the fierce and extreme competition...

Torture is a form of violence that has always
been used by totalitarian governments to
subordinate the larger society to its will.

...In order for this to succeed, it is necessary
for th larger society to be convinced that their
interest and the interest of those who are in
positions of power are one and the same.

Hate and indifference has robbed us of our
ability to look at each other and see a
reflection of ourselves. We see slave, homeless,
whore, faggot, red or blue, inmate,
prisoner...alien! These are a few of the objects
that we designate for one another. Our silence
sends a clear message of our acceptance of this.

The protests (of which the hunger strike is a
part) that are taking place throughout the
country and world is a demonstration that many of
us are determined to not only hold onto our own
humanity, but to reclaim it collectively.

We are on a course in which hate and indifference
will not define who we are. ...There is a
renewed sense of hope. And after more than 23
years in isolation, hope is what has kept me amongst the living.

There are things that have to do with simple
human honor. To resist and not surrender!


Michael (Zaharibu) Dorrough

Via -
Marilyn McMahon
Executive Director
California Prison Focus

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