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Manning writes: "To those who have kept me alive for the past six years: minutes after President Obama announced the commutation of my sentence, the prison quickly moved me out of general population and into the restrictive housing unit where I am now held. I know that we are now physically separated, but we will never be apart and we are not alone."

People hold signs calling for the release of Chelsea Manning during a gay pride parade in San Francisco in 2015. (photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)
People hold signs calling for the release of Chelsea Manning during a gay pride parade in San Francisco in 2015. (photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)


To Those Who Kept Me Alive All These Years, Thank You

By Chelsea Manning, Guardian UK

18 February 17

 

When I was afraid, you taught me how to keep going. When I was lost, you showed me the way

o those who have kept me alive for the past six years: minutes after President Obama announced the commutation of my sentence, the prison quickly moved me out of general population and into the restrictive housing unit where I am now held. I know that we are now physically separated, but we will never be apart and we are not alone. Recently, one of you asked me “Will you remember me?” I will remember you. How could I possibly forget? You taught me lessons I would have never learned otherwise.

When I was afraid, you taught me how to keep going. When I was lost, you showed me the way. When I was numb, you taught me how to feel. When I was angry, you taught me how to chill out. When I was hateful, you taught me how to be compassionate. When I was distant, you taught me how to be close. When I was selfish, you taught me how to share.

Sometimes, it took me a while to learn many things. Other times, I would forget, and you would remind me.

We were friends in a way few will ever understand. There was no room to be superficial. Instead, we bared it all. We could hide from our families and from the world outside, but we could never hide from each other.

We argued, we bickered and we fought with each other. Sometimes, over absolutely nothing. But, we were always a family. We were always united.

When the prison tried to break one of us, we all stood up. We looked out for each other. When they tried to divide us, and systematically discriminated against us, we embraced our diversity and pushed back. But, I also learned from all of you when to pick my battles. I grew up and grew connected because of the community you provided.

Those outside of prison may not believe that we act like human beings under these conditions. But of course we do. And we build our own networks of survival.

I never would have made it without you. Not only did you teach me these important lessons, but you made sure I felt cared for. You were the people who helped me to deal with the trauma of my regular haircuts. You were the people who checked on me after I tried to end my life. You were the people that played fun games with me. Who wished me a Happy Birthday. We shared the holidays together. You were and will always be family.

For many of you, you are already free and living outside of the prison walls. Many of you will come home soon. Some of you still have many years to go.

The most important thing that you taught me was how to write and how to speak in my own voice. I used to only know how to write memos. Now, I write like a human being, with dreams, desires and connections. I could not have done it without you.

From where I am now, I still think of all of you. When I leave this place in May, I will still think of all of you. And to anyone who finds themselves feeling alone behind bars, know that there is a network of us who are thinking of you. You will never be forgotten.

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+86 # Carol R 2017-02-18 18:29
What a beautiful message coming from a beautiful person. Thank you Chelsea Manning for what you have endured so that we can know the truth. So glad that Obama rescued you from many years in prison.

You will never be forgotten.
 
 
+27 # E.V.Debs 2017-02-19 01:51
I sent Chelsea an "attagirl" letter three weeks ago. I would encourage RSN readers to do the same. It will cost you less than half a buck and five minutes, unless you want to send her a card. I also sent a donation to the Guardian yesterday.

Her address is:
Chelsea Manning
Register # 89289
United States Disciplinary Barracks
1301 N Warehouse Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

Here's the text of my letter to her. Ethan McCord, whom she knows, is the former G.I. who rescued those two horribly injured little children from the van that had been strafed by the Army helicopter after their dad, at the cost of his own life, stopped to try to take grievously wounded victims to a hospital to save their lives.
----------------
Dear Chelsea,

We are so pleased that you will be released in May.

I'm a friend of Ethan McCord.

There is no way that we can thank you enough for the determination, courage and integrity that you have exhibited for the past seven years.

We wish you the best in your future life.
 
 
+67 # engelbach 2017-02-18 18:39
What an eloquent, articulate article.

Chelsea's humanity shines through in every line.

She's a powerful contrast to the crude philistines who call for her to be punished for exposing the crimes of the government.
 
 
+66 # hipocampelo 2017-02-18 18:40
It would appear that Ms Manning is well on
the way to adulthood. She did a service to those of us who distrust a secretive government.
 
 
-8 # LionMousePudding 2017-02-19 02:33
Someone help me to understand why the above comment is not condescending, insulting, sexist, and rude? For Manning was an adult a long time ago. I'm offended and simply can't understand why 34 people (and counting) up voted that comment.
 
 
+2 # maindrains 2017-02-19 19:58
She says herself that she "grew up"; Im sure the experiences she's had would promote growth in whatever manner you interpret it. Well done Chelsea Manning... I hope we hear a lot more from you in the future.
 
 
0 # E.V.Debs 2017-02-19 03:35
"...is well on the way to adulthood." What does that mean?
 
 
-2 # LionMousePudding 2017-02-19 11:34
I'm with you. What the hell is everyone thinking??!!
 
 
+57 # Jim Armstrong 2017-02-18 18:53
We can only hope and pray that the new administration will not succeed in their almost certain attempts to reverse her rightful claim to freedom.
I am afraid we may have more work yet to do to ensure justice.
 
 
+53 # Margolicious 2017-02-18 19:02
How touching. God Bless and Keep this national hero that did the right thing and suffered and went to jail for it.
 
 
+42 # draypoker 2017-02-18 19:11
Good writing.
 
 
+24 # dadhantat 2017-02-18 19:59
Albert Einstein said, among many other things, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." You are a miracle Chelsea, living in this reality to teach all of us about ourselves. You are a good human being: the greatest praise and compliment I personally can give a person.

PEACE BE WITH YOU ALWAYS!
 
 
+82 # Femihumanist 2017-02-18 20:03
Manning spent six years in jail, mostly in solitary confinement, for telling the American public what it had every right to know. Snowden is hiding out in Russia for telling the public what it had every right to know.

Flynt discussed American information with Russia and gets off with being fired. Petraeus tells his girlfriend and biographer classified military information and gets by with being fired.

Yep. It's a fair world.

Let's hope that from now on, Chelsea gets everything she deserves for her bravery and true patriotism.
 
 
+8 # E.V.Debs 2017-02-19 02:28
Petraeus didn't get fired. He retired as a 4-star general. He resigned on November 8, 2012, after 14 months as director of the CIA. He later pleaded guilty to illegal storage and distribution of classified information. On April 23, 2015, a federal judge sentenced Petraeus to two years probation plus a fine of $100,000. The fine was more than double the amount the Justice Department had requested.
 
 
+9 # ellen9 2017-02-19 08:21
He should be in jail along with Flynn.
 
 
+14 # reo100 2017-02-18 20:24
Chelsea, You are our hero and we are so grateful for the sacrifices you made for the good of the human race. I for one, appologize for the torture you suffered at the hands of the "War Machine" Animals who committed these criminal acts. May your life be full of love and happiness♡
 
 
+15 # John Cosmo 2017-02-19 01:18
An inspiring message from an American hero.
 
 
+18 # pushingforpeace 2017-02-19 02:04
Chelsea Manning has paid dearly for her heroism. I hope she gets a hero's welcome when she is released. She paid dearly to save innocent lives.
 
 
+14 # tm7devils39 2017-02-19 02:36
AND...for having the bravery to bring to the light of day governmental misdeeds and non-humanitaria n policies that negatively impact the World, a Nobel Peace Prize should go to:

Manning/Snowden/Assange (Jointly)

(But don't look to the Nobel Committee to have the intestinal fortitude to make that recommendation. ..for obvious reasons)
 
 
+15 # janie1893 2017-02-19 02:37
All good wishes Chelsea!
 
 
+14 # immanuel.wallerstein@yale.edu 2017-02-19 02:37
AMEN, thank you Chelsea. You are honest and you are strong.
 

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