invisible

hermits, poems

This poem was given to me by my friend Vanessa. She photocopied it from an anthology she found in San Francisco public library so I don’t know the author. I tried looking online but drew a blank. I suppose it’s fitting in a way that the authorship should remain anonymous given the title. Still, I prefer to credit the talent behind such a delightful piece.

invisible

Invisible

A hermit is said to be living on the far

side of the lake, but no one has ever seen him.

They say he lives in a cave a little ways up

the mountain. They say he used to be a school-

teacher of some kind, and then one day he had

had enough. He’s not a holy man or anything

like that, he just got tired of people’s ways.

They call him Invisible Tom, though in truth

no one knows his name. He’s just their last,

best hope, but I don’t think he exists. These

same people, one minute they’re digging furiously

in a corner of their backyard, the next minute

they’re flat on their backs watching a television

program on marital impotence. I tell you, you

can’t believe a word they say. And yet I’ve

seen the sunlight glint on a bronze flagon from

over there and I’ve wondered what that life would

be.

 

the airman

poems

There is something about lone flight that captures the imagination like nothing else. There is no question part of this is the dramatic quality of the experience. Fighter pilots and astronauts especially, endure extraordinary physical forces at great altitude. Outside the air is thin to nothing and their transport grows white hot with the friction.

The Airman

Add to this the view. A view that shows you the very outer limits of our world.

But there is more to it. Within those hermitically sealed capsules the airman reminds us of our own strange relationship to reality. Through his visor he sees the world go by, and it is at once beautiful and terrifying. He is alone in there yet when he looks down on the earth he feels a connection he cannot explain.

My friend the London/Dorset poet Rick Holland wrote this verse, which I think perfectly captures the fascination with flight which grips us as children. A fascination which can stay with you through your life if, like Rick, you insist on being fascinated by life. For more about Rick and his poems follow this.

The Airman

I will see what the Airman saw

and higher, the view of the Astronaut

and higher, the tick of the satellite

and higher, ‘till height morphs to night

and Quantum plays out just as massive

and unknown as the small it contains.

***

Ground fears play out on a surface,

a revolving map of free states,

or  a global ball of electric

as data streams over state lines.

***

Sat deep in this cannonball universe

Sat deep in this one ward of stars

The higher we climb from our surface

The clearer we see who we are.

hitchhiking on route 66

journalism

This story was first published in the travel section of the Sydney Morning Herald on Sept 11, 2010.

hitchhiking through arizona

As the warm afternoon draws to a close, I begin to wonder whether I will ever escape this desert town. Barstow, with its dusty line of strip shops along the route of the old Union Pacific railroad in south-east California, has a corroded kind of charm that you can bear when you know you’re leaving.

The locals aren’t too complimentary, either.

”In Barstow you get all the women together, you still won’t have a full set of teeth,” a guy tells me the night before at the Super J Truck Stop, a few kilometres out of town.

I had been at the truckstop in the early hours, shivering under neon, drinking burnt coffee as I waited for a ride south-east towards Mexico.

The truckers file past in silence, doing their best to ignore me as they head inside to fill up on apple pie and bad TV. For the most part big-bellied midwesterners, they are a sombre bunch. I give up in the early hours. After coaxing a lift into Barstow from a truck stop attendant, I drown my sorrows in an all-night bar.

Next morning I emerge from the bathroom of Denny’s diner feeling dazed and with a numb face after a quick wash with the hand sanitiser. At the city limits, I wait by the freeway, on the old Route 66. The Mother Road, as it is also known, Route 66 passes here on its 4000-kilometre journey from Chicago to Los Angeles. This fabled artery of 20th-century America became synonymous with the spirit of travel and adolescent adventure captured in books such as On the Road.

When I was young, I heard stories from my parents about how they had hitched around England in the ’60s. I wanted to share their enthusiasm but like so many others raised on road movies and the Beats, it was the American landscape that I associated with the romance of hitching.

With his canvas bag and pack of smokes the hero of On the Road, Sal Paradise, seemed the ultimate road warrior, a renegade dreamer who lived by the adage that the journey is more important than the destination.

Well past the age when you’re supposed to have abandoned such romantic notions, I make my first attempt at hitching in the US. I have flown into Las Vegas and some friends have dropped me at Barstow. From here I plan to travel via Arizona to the Mexican border.

At the end of the day, I’ve gone nowhere. Hours pass by the roadside. I begin to wonder whether I’ve made a stupid mistake. A couple of online forums I had found suggested travellers are still hitching. The best of them was Digihitch, which contained nuggets of advice including state bylaws as well as testimony from hitchers and rail-hoppers.

The drivers who whiz by are obviously not subscribers and as they speed into the distance, my resolve goes with them. I call to double-check the schedule for the Greyhound bus and I’m about to call it a day when I hear a voice behind me. I turn to see a young man in wraparound shades standing by a truck. He is going to Flagstaff, Arizona, he says. Do I need a ride?

His name is Brook and he is a biologist on his way home to his girlfriend and little boy. And as I watch the desert sweep to the mountains and the sun drop out of the sky, the conversation shifts to the dramatic changes fatherhood has brought to his life.

There are few relationships like that between driver and hitcher, thrown together by chance for a few hours and probably never to meet again. The car becomes their confessional.

A veteran hitcher of five decades who publishes stories on Digihitch, Rex Ingram, believes the chance to positively affect someone’s life, either with your words or by simply lending an impartial ear, is one of the best reasons to hitch.

Ingram, who has hitchhiked through all the US states, writes that the intimacy provided by the automobile is conducive to conducting behavioural therapy on a level only attainable by a psychiatrist.

”I’ve been told of murders and robberies, loves and hates, emotional disturbances of every type,” he says.

Flagstaff is a pleasant college town near the rim of the Grand Canyon. We arrive in a blizzard and Brook drops me at a hostel. After a few days, I look online for a ride further south – it’s now possible to thumb a lift from the comfort of your dorm bed. Social-networking sites such as Craigslist contain sections where you can post notices offering rides or asking for them.

My ad gets a response within a day from a man in a beanie touring the south-west in his VW camper. As we drive to Tucson in the early morning, the hills and canyons of central Arizona are green after the winter thaw. Here and there the tumescent branches of the saguaro cactus rise like alien TV aerials, a cinematic shorthand for the American desert.

My driver, Joel, tells me about riding the rails. In the first half of last century, especially during the Depression, catching free train rides was a common way to travel in the US. Hoboes looking for work climbed aboard freight wagons in the dead of night hoping to avoid a beating from a ”bull”, the name given to the men hired to protect the freight.

A former inmate’s memoir published in the ’20s, You Can’t Win offers some first-hand accounts of this world. Its author, Jack Black, rode the rails in all seasons. In one scene, he describes seeing a young man crushed to death when a pile of timber collapses in his wagon.

No one rides the rails out of necessity any more, Joel says. It is mostly college graduates in search of adventure. ”It’s gutter punk,” he says. ”What a trust-fund kid might do to get his kicks.”

I stay a couple of nights in Tucson. The days are getting hot and in the historic Hotel Congress I sip whiskey sours and read ’30s newspaper articles about John Dillinger, the bank robber and public enemy No. 1 who was arrested here with his gang. As in nearby Phoenix, large areas of Tucson are sprawling suburbs devoid of character. Unlike its neighbour, Tucson makes up for this with a well-preserved downtown, which mixes Spanish-style adobe mansions with art deco Americana.

On my last day here, I wait at a petrol station for a ride along the final stretch – 110 kilometres south to Mexico. A minivan turns up, on the way to the border. The driver wants cash, then crams me in the back beside an old Mexican man with no teeth, sucking on dried apricots. Half an hour later the sky darkens. Streaks of rain bounce violently off the bitumen as I try to recall the Spanish for ”please eat with your mouth shut”.

Many commentators blame the media for the decline in popularity of hitchhiking. The depiction of the psychotic loner, either at the box office or in the news, has struck a chord in the public imagination. Add these fears to an increasingly atomised society, where people feel estranged from one another, and you are left with the impression that hitchhiking is a thing of the past.

These armchair obituaries annoy Ingram, who still hitches from his home in Chino Valley, Arizona. He says his golden age for hitching rides was the ’60s, when his US Marines uniform was an ”open ticket for the road”. But he disputes the idea it has become so much harder, or defunct, as a mode of travel.

”It’s always been hard to get a ride and it’s always been easy,” says Ingram, who once got stuck in Barstow for four days waiting for a lift. ”It’s not the time of year or the decade, it’s the getting out there.”

the fool on the hill (part 6)

* virgil, hermits

In between my trips to see Virgil I had driven the dirt road out to the I-17. Ostensibly to resupply but also to put some distance between myself and the stark, haunted world that he occupied.

the fool on the hill (part 3)

Next to the freeway I found myself in the town of Spring Valley. It was everything Cleator was not: new, neatly ordered and lifeless. Gone was Bloody Basin Lane. Instead, in the front lawns of the plastic-looking condominiums garden gnomes of sombreroed Mexicans rode plaster horses along streets called Meadow Lane and Peach Tree Road. The wild west reduced to kitsch.

I drove the freeway south 40 minutes to a strip mall where I spent the night in the parking lot of a Walmart. The supermarket chain allows camper vans to stay overnight for free on its premises.

I stayed up late reading a book called “You Can’t Win.” It is the memoir of an ex-con, Jack Black, and recalls his life as a hobo riding the rails. It is a rare firsthand account of the underbelly of early 20th century America filled with opium dens and pool parlours, cat burglars and safe houses.

Outside a gale blew hard pushing shopping carts over the tarmac and making the camper sway.

My presence there was an overcorrection, a thirst for the bright lights of the city after the somber vigil of candlelit nights in the desert. Looking out of the camper’s rear window the large neon Walmart sign was oddly comforting, something to zone out to.

In the store itself I was garroted by light. Neat pyramids of fruit sat on islands of freshness and overhead plasma screens showed Walmart TV on a loop.

In one of our conversations Virgil had told me about a winter he had spent trapped on the mountain after the December snows had not cleared. It was mid-February before the thaw came. In the meantime it got cold and as the weeks stretched out, wood for the burner grew scarce.

Outside the snow had lain in slabs across the corrugated roof and the guttering, hanging loose on loops of wire, was clogged with ice so that only a thin drip of water found its way through the cut-up oil can into the tank.

In the Walmart restrooms I found a document on the ledge over the urinal claiming that the world was under the control of the Evil One. It said that all true religion is personal and complained that mankind was a victim of his own “Image-ination.”

In the store an alarm beeped obnoxiously as I leaned on my trolley in front of some sports bras, trying to decide if I needed batteries. Walking around Walmart, looking at the world in boxes, I imagined Virgil shivering in his cabin in the predawn. The narrow scoop of canyon must have felt like an animal trap he had fallen into that winter.

Pushing his barrow he searched for the broken off branches of dwarf Juniper and Pinyon Pine and, on the way, collected the miniature baskets of bird’s nests, dusty and fibrous like the pipe tobacco he shaped into cigarettes using squares cut from his journal.

He made a path through the snow up the bank out on to the ridge to where the billycan, eaten by rust, swung in the dawn wind. And there he waited.

In an introduction William Burroughs’ wrote for “You Can’t Win,” the Beat writer lamented the passing of a world where life was cheap but where a man could clamber aboard a freight train in the dead of night and in the axle grease and coal dust taste what it meant to be in the Land of the Free. Burroughs asked the question: would the hobo author have been better off spending his life at some full-time job? He immediately decided not.

“He has recorded a chapter of specifically American life that is now gone forever. Where are the hobo jungles, the hop joints, the old rod-ridding yeggs?…As another thief, Francois Villon, said, “Where are the snows of yesteryear?””

Virgil too still believed in that romantic vision of the old west. His fear of going back to what had replaced it – the strip malls and condos of a nation consumed on image — was the reason he stayed on the mountain. This, and a concern that he might drink himself to death faced with too much society. “I love life,” he said to me more than once, his face fierce with candour.

As I paid for my AA batteries I thought of him at the billycan, watching the faint gnat of light of a car on the freeway some twenty miles to the east, heading back to “stinking civilisation.” I saw him crouched low, an arm slung round his shins, waiting for the first sunrays to hit his dirty and cracked face and for the ground to grow out of the darkness.

the fool on the hill (part 5)

* virgil, hermits

The last time I saw Virgil we drank beer by the billycan. It was a warm March day full of promise.

the fool on the hill (part 5)

Below the ridge the ground fell steeply away until it reached the dusty track that led to Cleator after a series of switch backs. The track replaced the railroad that was ripped up in the war to make armaments. Further along from us another path barely visible cut a diagonal down the hillside through the scrub and loose rock.

He had cut this path for the cowboys, he said, who still ran their cattle this way to market at the end of summer.

The cowboys — red-faced old timers who alternated between riding horses and quad bikes — paid him five dollars an hour but he would probably have done it for free, he loved the work so much. It had taken him two years of hacking and digging to finish the thing and he had followed the route of the old cart road from Alexandria.

He knew the layout of the old town intimately and on his porch there was an old photo of the Peck Mine from the turn of the century.

Listening to him I saw again the powerful connection he maintained with this disappeared world and I felt I had him figured out wrong. I had viewed him as an exile from life, as someone frozen in time, unable to shake off the painful memories of his absent family and yet equally incapable of moving on.

Yet seeing him this way betrayed how little I really understood about the reality of his life up here. In some sense, his solitude had allowed him to live outside of time. The need to move forward, to progress, to make plans. He did not feel this imperative and to tell him that he should was not just patronising, it ignored the simple beauty of his existence here. It was like the old joke about the rich tourist who goes up to the juice seller on the beach and starts to lecture him on how he can grow his business, and that with some hard work he might be able to pay some staff a few years down the line and, who knows, then he could take some time off for himself. Meanwhile the juice seller lays on his hammock casually scrutinising the mad man.

Aside from the concessions of the gas tank and a small FM radio Virgil had left modern life completely. He went down off the mountain only a few times a year, usually straying no further than Cleator.

Up here he wandered around the canyon finding the detritus of old Alexandria — the mouth organ combs, the vintage soda cans — and it helped to evoke that old world, just as the hysterical outpourings from the radio no doubt made the contemporary one seem more hostile and remote.

Nearby some animal tracks were pressed into the thin dry dirt. They were too large for a pack rat; maybe they belonged to a bobcat he said. I wondered if he ever got scared up here alone.

He knew he was vulnerable but he tried not to think about it too much. “Ya can burn yourself up thinking. It’s the same with that metaphysics junk. I prefer to keep my feet on the ground, live a day at a time. I mean ya don’t see a dog sitting around taking itself serious an’ shit.

“I can’t handle your civilization. All those responsibilities.” (He gave a weary wave of the arm.) “When my wife kicked me out I let her have everything. I walked away with nothing. I didn’t care. I was like that woodpecker nested in the cactus; only I lived in a crack in the sidewalk. You know I saw that lil’ muthafucka fight off a hawk one day. Kept coming back at him till the hawk got sick of it and flew away.”

His children would be in their forties; did he ever think of trying to find them I asked.

“That’s what you’d do I suppose,” he said. “Not me.”

I wanted to press him on it but he cut me off. He returned instead to the subject of the woodpecker. He asked me if I knew how it was that the bird knew where to look for grubs.

“I used to wonder about that,” he went on. “One day I was watching this muthafucka and he’d keep looking off to the side like he was watching out for something. Then I figured it out: He had his head turned to listen for grubs scratching under the bark.

“I guess there’s smart people who know that ‘cos they read it or seen it in a documentary. But how many of ’em learnt it ‘cos they seen it with their eyes?”

The day was ending and the sun had already dipped below the Bradshaw Mountains to the west, the bumps and curves of their dusty grey silhouettes like two lovers laid down to sleep.

america in lockdown

journalism, solitary confinement

This story was first published on the website openDemocracy on September 6, 2010.

solitary confinement

For Nelson Mandela it was the most forbidding aspect of prison life. When he looked back on the 27 years he spent as a political prisoner in his memoir, The Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela remembered solitary confinement as the experience that came nearest to breaking him.

“There is no end and no beginning; there is only one’s mind, which can begin to play tricks,” he wrote. “Was that a dream or did it really happen? One begins to question everything.”

The harmful effects of locking someone up in isolation have long been known about. As far back as the mid-19th century medical reports observed the impact. Between 1854 and 1909 there were nearly 40 reports in Germany alone, all of which identified solitary confinement as the major factor in the development of psychotic illness among prisoners.

In 1850, doctors in England were noting the high proportion of inmates that had to be removed from cells in Pentonville prison on the grounds of insanity – 32 out of every 1,000.

It was this body of evidence that played a key role in the gradual unravelling of the system of large-scale solitary confinement in the late nineteenth century. In America too, where the system had its roots among the Quaker communities of Pennsylvania, who believed that silent reflection in separate cells was the best way for criminals to do penance (hence, the penitentiary), it came to be recognised that isolating prisoners for long periods was both inhumane and ineffective. In 1890, the United States Supreme Court came close to declaring the punishment to be unconstitutional.

A century on and the lessons from history have either been forgotten or they are being wilfully ignored. In America, its use in a burgeoning prison system has increased dramatically in the last 20 years.

This increase has coincided with the growth of the so-called supermax prisons, a new generation of high security jails designed to keep social contact between inmates to a minimum.

The US now holds more people in solitary than anywhere else in the world. An accurate figure is almost impossible to come by, since the population within the punishment blocks of general prisons, known as Special Housing Units (SHUs), is too transient to monitor. Even so, observers estimate the numbers somewhere between 25,000 and 80,000.

At the Federally-run supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, inmates considered to be the greatest security risk are kept in conditions of extreme isolation that would leave even the Pennsylvania Quakers in awe.

High profile prisoners like Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and Arab terrorists convicted of arranging the 1993 World Trade Center bombing are kept in rooms constructed of poured concrete and steel for 23 hours a day. The windowless cells are illuminated day and night and are heavily insulated so that the inmates are denied either the sight or sound of other human life.

One inmate held in Florence is Tommy Silverstein. He has been kept in solitary for 27 years now, longer than anyone else in the Federal prison system. Silverstein was made the subject of a “no-human-contact” order by a judge after he murdered a prison guard in 1983. For much of his isolation he was held in a specially built unit — known as the Silverstein Suite — at a prison in Kansas where he had his own exercise yard. This meant his only human contact was with the guards or via the occasional visit, where a thick layer of plexiglass maintained his isolation. He has referred to his existence as “a slow, constant peeling of the skin.”

Laura Rovner, a law professor at Denver University, represents Silverstein, 58, in his case to have his isolation ended. Rovner wants the courts to recognise his treatment as “cruel and unusual punishment,” and therefore unlawful under the eighth amendment of the US constitution.

It is the same argument put forward by activists in Louisiana on behalf of the Angola three, a trio who between them have spent over a century in solitary. Two of the men, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox have been nearly 38 years in isolation. A third man, Robert King was kept there 29 years before he was released in 2001 after a series of appeals.

Much of Rovner’s case is concerned with laying bare the harmful psychological effects of Silverstein’s condition. There are a number of contemporary studies of inmates in isolation and, just like their 19th century predecessors, most express grave concern.

“What you see when reading these studies is the same constellation of symptoms coming up in different cases, and they’re simply too common not to be a pathology arising from the isolation,” said Rovner.

That constellation of symptoms includes agitated and self-destructive behaviour, anxiety and hypersensitivity, auditory and visual hallucinations and, in some cases, a permanent intolerance to being around others.

Rovner said the impact of his lone existence was evident during legal visits with Silverstein. “At the start of our meetings with him just an hour spent with us would send him into a tailspin for a couple of days, needing to sleep for 15 or 16 hours at a time.”

Professor Craig Haney, a psychologist at the University of California who evaluated over a hundred supermax prisoners and who has compiled a report for Rovner on Silverstein, wrote that “many of those subjected to it (solitary confinement) are at risk of long term emotional and even physical damage.”

The only one of the ‘Angola three’ at liberty, Robert King, said his ability to see distance was permanently altered by his years alone in a cell. “I had no concept of how you actually looked further, as a result of living in such a small space,” he said.

King now campaigns for the release of Woodfox and Wallace. The men’s isolation stems from their conviction for the killing of a prison guard, found stabbed to death in the early seventies in Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola.

Wallace, 68, and Woodfox, 63, have always denied the killing and insist their convictions and continued isolation are punishment for their political views. At the time they had started a chapter of the Black Panthers at the prison.

The men’s case gained international recognition in recent years thanks in part to the efforts of Anita Roddick, the late Bodyshop founder. Roddick’s involvement inspired her friend, British filmmaker Vadim Jean to make a documentary about the case called In the Land of the Free, and released earlier this year.

Rovner said the publicity surrounding the Angola three was part of a growing clamour for the US to change its approach. The legislature in Maine recently considered an amendment aimed at abolishing the use of solitary in the state. Meanwhile, a ruling in July in the European Court of Human Rights upheld a complaint by four British nationals facing extradition to the US on terrorism charges that they faced having their human rights violated if, as was likely, they were transferred to solitary at the supermax unit in Florence.

Yet in spite of this, there is no end in sight for Silverstein, as well as Woodfox and Wallace. All of whom had their recent appeals turned down.

“Sadly, the overwhelming public sentiment here is that they are getting what they deserve,” said Rovner. “The irony, however, is that if you asked anyone in long-term lockdown they would freely tell you they’d prefer the death penalty to what they’ve endured.”

‘after 29 years, I never really left solitary’

* robert king, journalism, solitary confinement

This story first appeared in London’s The Guardian newspaper on 28 August, 2010.

A solitary cell at Angola from the early 1970s

Robert King

I first entered Louisiana State Penitentiary in the early 60s, at the age of 18. I was in and out of that place for the rest of the decade. Back then, if you were young, black and had a record, police in New Orleans would come looking for you when they had a backlog of unsolved cases: it was called cleaning the books.

In 1969, I was locked up for a robbery I didn’t do and, while inside, I joined the Black Panthers. Three years later, an inmate was stabbed to death on my prison block and, because of my politics, the authorities saw a chance to pin it on me. In 2001, I was cleared of this killing but, by then, I had spent 29 years alone in a cell.

It was a dimly lit box, 9ft by 6ft, with bars at the front facing on to the bare cement walls of a long corridor. Inside was a narrow bed, a toilet, a fixed table and chair, and an air vent set into the back wall.

Some days I would pace up and down and from left to right for hours, counting to myself. I learned to know every inch of the cell. Maybe I looked crazy walking back and forth like some trapped animal, but I had no choice – I needed to feel in control of my space.

At times I felt an anguish that is hard to put into words. To live 24/7 in a box, year after year, without the possibility of parole, probation or the suspension of sentence is a terrible thing to endure.

I was kept in the closed cell restricted (CCR) wing of the penitentiary, which is also known as Angola, after the slave plantation that was on the site prior to the prison. Three times a week I was let out for an hour to go to the exercise yard, where I was kept separate from other prisoners by razor wire.

The wardens tried to discourage us from talking, but we defied them. We were beaten up and prisoners were found hanging in their cells. Whenever I was disciplined, it was for talking. I didn’t care, I refused to let them dehumanise me.

The worst punishment was the “cold box”, our name for the cell within Camp J. It was down a long hallway through three sets of secure doors, and when they pushed me inside, the isolation was total. They would keep me there for a month, in blocks of 10 days, shoving food through a slot in the door. I went for days without speaking to anyone. That kind of sensory deprivation was torture for me – to survive I knew I had to keep my mind active.

One pastime I had was smuggling out praline candies that I made on my cell floor. I traded tobacco to get the ingredients of sugar, peanuts and powdered milk. I made them using a cold drink can for a pot and burning toilet paper to melt sugar.

Another thing I did was to fold up toilet paper into squares and stick them to the floor with toothpaste to make a chessboard. I would call out moves to other inmates. When we were in nearby cells I played with Herman Wallace or Albert Woodfox. Like me, they were Black Panthers kept in solitary because they were seen as a threat. They had started a chapter of the Panthers, which had helped mobilise inmates to curb some of the abuse going on inside Angola at the time.

They are still in solitary after nearly 38 years – more than any other inmate in the American prison system. They were convicted of killing a prison guard in 1972, but there’s a lot of evidence that they’re innocent.

Since my conviction was overturned in 2001, I have travelled constantly, educating people about the widespread use of solitary confinement in America. The words of the US Constitution prohibit what is called “cruel and unusual punishment”, and yet that phrase could have been written to describe solitary confinement.

When I walked out of Angola, I didn’t realise how permanently the experience of solitary would mark me. Even now my sight is impaired. I find it very difficult to judge long distances – a result of living in such a small space. Emotionally, too, I’ve found it hard to move on. I talk about my 29 years in solitary as if it was the past, but the truth is it never leaves you. In some ways I am still there. I made a statement when I was released that although I was free of Angola, it would never be free of me. Until Herman and Albert can join me on the outside, I have to make good on that promise.

As told to Paul Willis

To learn more about the Angola Three go to this Website.