Chelsea Manning. (U.S. Army / AP)

In advance of her release from prison in May, whistleblower Chelsea Manning wrote a thank-you letter to her fellow inmates, from whom she was separated after the commutation of her sentence.

“To those who have kept me alive for the past six years,” she said, “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. …

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

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. …

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.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

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