A letter from prison

Letter from a young inmate to the young people at Genfest2018. “Even behind bars you can live for a united world, by trying to love and serve everybody.”

“These words are precious to me, since they are written by Chiara Lubich:

‘I can imagine that all of you . . . feel the full weight of the violence and terrorism that even spreads across entire nations. Young people not much older than you believe that they can change society by kidnapping, killing and committing every sort of criminal act. Without a doubt they never found more positive ideals to live for and let themselves wander onto very dangerous road. Many people are frightened and unable to live at peace. What can we do? What contribution could we give?’

These words perfectly sum up what I’m going through right now. I’d like to share with you what I’m living and how abandoned I feel in this moment, perhaps a bit as Jesus felt when he was abandoned on the cross. This sense of abandonment is something I felt in all four of the detention centers where I stayed and where I found myself among teenagers who were for the most part younger than me.

At first these kids frightened me. They were against me and even wanted to kill me. But I tried to get close to them and realized that what they were missing was understanding, a lack of opportunity and, therefore, a lack of love. I’m not trying to justify them, but they also need love and help, only that they looked for it by drawing attention to themselves in the wrong way. But it was the only way they knew.

My parents try to live for a united world and, ever since I was a small, I did too. It’s easier when you belong to a community where everyone tries to live in that way. Whereas, for people who are afraid to let themselves love, it’s harder, especially when they see that this love doesn’t correspond to what they see around them, such as thieves and assassins. Nevertheless, it’s only love that cuts through all the limitations and this is the more precious truth, despite of everything I’m living in here.

Now these guys come into my cell and ask me for advice or help, especially when they’re going through ugly moments. Some of them even want to know more about Youth for a United World (Y4UW) which I belong to in spite of my situation. Lots of them ask me how I am, if I need anything; one even calls me brother.
What I’m living in prison can turn into an invasion of love that little by little spreads where violence reigns, just like gentle rain that penetrates deeper and deeper into the soil…”.



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