HELLO, I am PRISONER #263
I am known by many names, others call me Feizhouren (非洲人), Heiren (黑人) and at times I am also known as waiguoren (外国人). Never the less, I have been around for a long time and I have adjusted.
The crime I committed? Information withheld. I am not paying for it alone though, I have other inmates with me, together we are serving our time. Held without any solid evidence, anything we say and do could be held against us. You cannot plead the fifth, you cannot plead innocence, and you CANNOT SEEK LEGAL ASSISTANCE. We have been found guilty of being and seeking freedom and therefore charged with outrageous demands and the audacity to be free.
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I’m serving my 6th month now, counting my days by hours and my hours by minutes, and my minutes by seconds till time has lost all meaning. I wake up to the same walls, with the same familiar sounds, opening the same books, same channels and looking at the same view, today is exactly the same as yesterday. Maybe it’s just me but the weather feels familiar too. I wipe my sweat off my brow and I realize it’s suddenly become very hot, I swear I can hear “The good, the bad and the ugly” playing in the background. Another day in the wild wild west, only this time, it’s in the East.
I have no idea what time it is right about now, what’s the point anymore, now I wait till the gates have been opened, I don’t want to miss out on courtyard time. It’s the only time we are allowed to mingle, but I have to be careful not to act out or else it’s back to solitary confinement and I might ruin it for everyone. This time I have to make sure that I am on my best behavior, it’s not just about me anymore. As the night approaches we have to make sure to keep our voices low, these days it’s so easy to get punished, too much noise and too much show of fun might get us into some trouble and will lead to our PRIVILEGES BEING TAKEN and nobody wants it to get to that.
But these days, the master has been lenient, they let us walk around and get some air from outside the yard, but obviously, always being watched. You could call it a prison slash tourist attraction because when we walk outside of the yard, I see the visitors and tourists pointing at us, mask free, with their pets and their families. Their relaxed faces, their happy smiles, I bet they wonder what it’s like living like me. Yet I wonder what is it like to be free, what is it like to know and feel freedom, but all I can do is imagine, maybe we could trade shoe sizes and they could try to walk in my shoes for a day, I doubt they would survive though.
Life here is a little complicated, we have the wardens who are in charge of where we go and opening the doors for us right after they make sure we are covered and protected, not for us, of course, it’s for the tourists outside. Then we have the jail masters, who give you a pass when they feel you deserve it if they are having a bad day then, no pass for you. Then finally we have the jail puppets or as some would call them, the jail bullies, or whatever other names they could go by. Those that watch the other inmates and try to control them by using the power granted to them by the jail masters. They are monstrous and at times, worse than the jail masters. And then you have us, the ordinary inmates. Our rights count only when we are within our rooms, once we get out those rights don’t count. But even then, the few rights I have could be stripped if I seem a little too close to being free until I learn to remember who I am and what I am worth. NOTHING… DO YOU UNDERSTAND!?… YES, MASTER.
But, what are we to expect, we committed the crime of simply being foreign, paying for a crime we are not responsible for and others living the freedom that belongs to us. Such is life.
We still don’t know how long this sentence is, some of us might die in here, some of us might go crazy in here, and some of us, well, we are hanging by a thread.
Tomorrow is another day, and who knows, maybe tomorrow I will be prisoner #262.
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