Russian MP Maria Butina: Angela Davis, please bring hope to these times of darkness
Dear Professor Davis,Dear Angela,My name is Maria Butina, I am a member of the Russian parliament. However, I am writing this open letter to you not as a state official, not even as a Russian citizen.I am writing to you as a human being, as a woman, as a sister who has been through the same experience as you. I was an inmate in an American prison for 15 months and 10 days, and I promised to your black incarcerated sisters to write this letter personally to you.I don’t want to talk about politics or political ideas. Even my case, believe or not, doesn’t matter right now. What really matters is the horrible conditions in which your black sisters are suffering right now in prisons and jails across the US.I have been through the whole hell of the CCB (Central Cell Block) in Washington, DC – lines and lines of iron-cold and concrete cells where poor women scream in pain all night through, where we sang your black gospel songs together so the screaming wouldn’t hurt too much. You, Angela, know that they don’t even give women pads, so all the metal walls are covered with menstrual blood. You know, I am sure, that there is no drinking water in the cells and the most one can get for breakfast, lunch and dinner is a sandwich of baloney, two slices of cheese, two little cookies, and ketchup on the side. We had to share this “meal,” two of us, with my bunkie since they just forgot to give her one. Angela, these women were constantly begging for help, but no one listens to their voices. They, you know Ms. Davis, are dreaming of plea bargains, since there is no other chance for them to get out. They agree to plead guilty to anything in these conditions, they would confess to anything, even crazy and notorious crimes. And the prosecutors are happy to take these “voluntary” pleas. They do not care who is really guilty and who is not. They just want to clean their beautiful, American-dream streets of those they don’t like. The poor black people. They don’t want to hear what led them to be homeless, begging for food and money on these streets. They don’t want to solve the problem. They are vacuum-cleaning the streets, throwing those in need in prison cells to work there for pennies. This is the America no one should see and no one should talk about. I promised my fellow inmates that I would to find you and shed light on what is going on. I promised that to your sisters who have become mine, too.I am in the minority, well, basically, I am the only one here in Russia who knows for sure that BLM is real. Yes, it is. Yes, in modern America. This is not a political game, as many in the world and in my country, sadly, too, want to see it. Like, you know, Republicans’ and Democrats’ games. No. This is real and I have been talking about this everywhere I could – in the media, on social networks, on TV. Unfortunately, I could only do it in Russia, because in the US they literally shut my mouth so well, no one could hear the truth. Let me give you an example. Lesley Stahl came to do an interview with me in prison and later after my release in Moscow. On camera, I told her everything about the discrimination that I witnessed against black women in prison. But, guess what? They simply cut this part out of the 60 Minutes show. I tried to publish my book Prison Diary in the US where I wrote about the issue as well. Guess what? No one was interested in publishing it.However, I will keep trying, Angela. I promised my sisters that I would put the truth out.