Recieved 2nd August 2018
JVA Köln, Thursday 19th July 2018
Hey there dear friends/comrades, how are things with you? How are you going? It’s becoming more, difficult is not the right word, maybe just more strange to keep writing letters while knowing my first trial is on Tuesday and there is (hopefully) a chance I can go free. In which case, this letter would reach you when I am, once again, wandering barefoot in mud. What a wonderful thought. Maybe I should talk about what “being inside” is like, for these of you who have never been in prison. One of my visitors said they imagined it as a bunch of islands. Little sand spots that we’re shipwrecked on perhaps. I guess this is pretty true, your cell is you island. Or maybe we are more like ships, that pass by each day on route to some place else, off on our own path. The “free hour” is like docking in a harbour or bay, resupply, socialise, gather yourself for the journey ahead. Then “Umschluss”, the three hour visit, a jump from ship to ship, a helping hand. Except you are a pirate, and each other ship is one too, so who are friends who are foes? You all have a common need, socialising, but beyond that what keeps you together? Now picture the guards, the police, are the Queens guard or military or whatever. It’s an easy choice here for us pirates – us and them. But there’s still snitches, still leaks. Information spreads like wildfire. I have no identity, so I have to watch what I say, what I write. Pirates are not exactly reliable either, and I imagine if shit hit the fan, it’s everyone for themselves. So much for “us”. But if you are lucky, as I am, you might make some “situation friends” you can (to an extent) trust. They look out for you, look after you. Most of them are long term, years behind them, years ahead, so they pick out the people here who make the time less painful. They’re also connected, which I guess happens when you’re here for a while. Need something? Go to them, they know where to get it or who to ask. I don’t know though, it changes here often. There’s about ten (I say “about” because you never see some people, but new faces in the yard is what I use to keep track) new people here in just three weeks, which is between ¼ to 1/3 of the house. 28 cells, two stories makes 56 cells minus Kammer (111), office (101-102), kitchen (104-105), fridges (117), door to courtyard (103), so, 49 cells. I know at least one (202/203) Is connected as a double cell (but it doesn’t change capacity). Not all cells are full. The lower floor (100’s) are, especially low numbers, (106-116), observation cells. Cameras, viewing hatches, the works. They’re usually full, there’s a lot of people the guards like to keep on watch (X10, for example). “Normal capacity here is if you count the people in the “free hour” and then add a couple for those who don’t like to come outside/can’t, about forty or so, changing weekly. Person goes free, new arrival. Like the song “Heathens”, you can instantly tell who are newbies. “Newcomers have a certain smell” or whatever. Yeah, they still smell clean. Try keeping that up with two showers a week. Anyway, right now I’d say we’re ships. Pirate ships, ‘cause there’s a few people sent to other houses for stealing recently. When I first arrived I would have said islands, before I had some good friends go free perhaps a workaholic family - “see you when I can!”. Everything changes but nothing changes, if that makes sense. People come and go, routine stays the same. You evolve with it, you have to. As for the “cell lottery” of which on you get (which I find matters a bit, 228, for example, has half the view taken up by barbed wire) I got lucky. Very lucky. 216. Second floor. Middle. Panorama View. This is (roughly, I’ve left out a few details like benches and the extra fence between courtyard fence and road) what I see. Not bad huh? Oh, there’s also goal posts on each end of the “lawn” (dirt). Maybe I’ll bring my drawing pad out to Freistunde tomorrow. Then I can send a realistic drawing of the yard by Monday (well, as realistically as I can draw). I should probably draw my cell too, at least that’s something to help pass time this weekend. Tuesday is so close now! That’s it for now I think. I’ll write again soon, also with this letter I’ll be send something I started writing as a positive thing (I was super busy that day) so it is unfinished, but I hope you like it all the same. Stay wild, stay BRⒶVE. I LOVE YOU ALL. <3 UPIII
Tuesday, 17th July 2018
Hey there dear comrades, I thought it might be cool to write a positive letter today, because there’s a lot of negativity around and, perhaps, you may need some strength/love/energy or something to help with what you’re going through. There was a comic I once say that said “humans are just plants with more complicated emotions”. I guess we are, in a way. We need light, water, nutrients and support, as well as social “web”. So please, if you can/are able, meet your basic needs. Drink some water, nibble on some fruit or vegetables, go outside for some sun and fresh air (or open a window!) and have a chat to someone. And sleep! Your body and brain need “down time” (like trees hibernating in Winter). If your body feels good, it might (hopefully) help your brain feel good, too. Look after yourselves, it’s easier to bounce back if you don’t burn out. You are not alone. Not now, not never. I’ve got letters flooding in from every corner: England, Sweden, Germany, France, even Australia, and those are just ones with return address’s (heaps have none). Only about half a dozen or so are from people who have met me. Every action is valid, and you are supported worldwide. On this note, write to prisoners if you can! Prison is incredibly isolating (I don’t say this to scare you, but I am alone over twenty hours a day) so I cannot even begin to tell you how absolutely important letters are. Show your comrades the support you would want. Even if you just send stamps, stickers, pamphlets, photos of the outside world, it helps. I’ve been staring at the same four walls and courtyard for three months (one month was in another “house”). Looking at photos of things that aren’t prison is wonderful. Even if you just want to write about yourself, what you’re up to (I’m currently sitting cross legged on the hard wooden chair in my cell, writing this on the desk. Sometimes, when my back hurts, I like to sit on the bed and lean against the dense yellow foam pillow while I write, or use it as a desk if my notebook is getting thin). And don’t get discouraged if they’re returned. Resend it if you know your friend is still inside. Let them know that you’re trying. Our love and solidarity is stronger than any oppression or isolation from the state. In this way, every action helps. Sending letters, protesting, direct action, workshops, statements, occupation, resistance, camps, projects, squats, and all those I can’t mention so this letter can reach you (and those I have missed, I’m sure there are many). Every single one of you reading this is incalculably (I hope that is spelt correctly) important. Your struggle is my struggle is our struggle. We are stronger together, and you are never alone in your fight!