Why have you been studying both Arabic and Spanish?
I have been studying Fus’hah or Classical Arabic as it is known in English for the purpose of reading and reciting the Qur’an in the original language in which it was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.) I have been studying Arabic for about 3 years now. As a practicing Muslim I know that there is a natural and mystic power to the Qur’an that can only be felt in its original language.
As far as Spanish goes this is important to me for ethnic reasons. Yo Soy Boricua (I am Puerto Rican) and like many of my people I lost my language as a child. It’s important to me to master Spanish because it is a culture that I don’t want to lose and one that I would like to pass on to my children someday. Since my incarceration I have had the opportunity to meet and befriend more Puerto Ricans than I ever met growing up in Colorado and Iowa. It’s sad that outside of my own family the largest concentration of my own people I have found is behind bars. But this is no surprise since our island has been a hot spot of imperialization and colonization since the first white people set foot in the Caribbean. forced assimilation and imprisonment is the favorite way of the white power system to downgrade people of color and Puerto Rico and her people are no exception to that.
So, I study Spanish pretty much all day long in one way or another. I speak it now, as well as immerse myself in Spanish television, music and books. Not only has it become important to me on a personal level, but my mind now craves the challenges of learning it. And in the process it is awakening a pride in my ethnic identity that I have never felt before.
Are you listening to any music these days?
Always. Music is food for the soul. I have an MP3 player which I have loaded with a diverse array of music. I enjoy Reggae, Reggaeton, Salsa, Old School Hip Hop and Straight Edge Hardcore to name only a few genres I enjoy.
What do you like to read these days?
Thanks to my supporters I have been able to read nearly any book I have ever wanted to read. These days I am so wrapped up in study that I seldom read subject type material. I appreciate anything contemporary that I can get my hands on in the Spanish language, magazines, newspapers, comics etc.
Do you still want a subscription to the weekly Colombian magazine “Semana”?
Yes, I would like that very much. I used to be housed with another inmate that had a subscription and I really enjoyed reading the current and back issues.
Are there any Animals at the prison?
Yeah, through the fence I can see deer out in the field. We also have cats, raccoons, skunks and overhead hawks and vultures. There is a really big and beautiful tree line that is fairly close to the prison and I really enjoy just watching the trees sway in the breeze and the different colors of the Sky and Earth. For the last five years I have been either locked up in a control unit for so-called domestic terrorists or in county jails. in both places I was cut off completely from even the limited freedoms of prison. I remember that I would sometimes miss looking at the Sky or Trees so much that it hurt in my soul. For the first few years I didn’t mind so much but it stared to lead to serious depression after awhile.
How is your health?
My health is good. I don’t have any ailments and I take no medication, I think my teeth could use some work though. For 39 I’m doing well.
How is your handball game?
Depends on the day, I love to play. I’m one of the better guys on the court but some of these guys have been locked up and playing for decades, so the competition is stiff. Handball is an incredible workout but it is also really hard on your body. I love playing though, I’m addicted.
What about life interests you most?
Vegan Straight Edge and Animal Liberation Whatever It May take! ¡Como Siempre!
Mail correspondence to:
PO Box 1000
Marion IL 62959