Quietly we stroll from the visitors room to the courtyard. When we arrived there, I look around me. The temperature is pleasant. The sun is shining. From afar I see multiple different buildings. In between them beautiful green grass. In the middle of the courtyard there are wooden benches and concrete tables. These benches are fixed to the concrete floor. We cannot sit on the benches because they are covered with bird droppings. It seems that the courtyard never gets cleaned. There seems no need to clean them. Because ‘inmates’ and their loved ones do not meet the standards of human decency. Besides that, ‘inmates’ and their loved ones have no rights. Therefore, they have no right to a clean courtyard. The garden is bounded by parkways. On those parkways I see a fence. I see that we are surrounded by this fence. We are in fact in a cage. From the cage I look up to the clear blue sky and I experience the contrast between freedom and incarceration. Pillars stand at the border of the concrete courtyard. People with their incarcerated loved ones hang around these pillars.
I look through the fencing, pondering, and see the other buildings. I also see a small square building with little blinded windows. When we are quiet for a moment I hear sounds coming out of that little building. Human sounds. As if someone says something to a neighbor in the street. I’m leaning towards approaching that sound. But I am stopped. Because I am not allowed to enter the grass. Thereby, the fence is in between me and the building. In the meanwhile, I concentrate on what I hear and I discover more and more chatter. People are calling to each other. I realize that I witness all kinds of conversations that are held shouting. Are there dozens? Or hundreds? Now and then I hear a laugh that is being carried away by the wind. It touches me. Because this calling expresses a desire for communication. Communication as an expression of humanity. I want to go there. I want to listen to them. I want to communicate with them. I want to be human together with these human beings. Because behind these blinded windows lives are lived. By people in inhumane conditions. Their call expresses a desire for humanity. Then, someone tells me this is solitary confinement. I shiver. I am still. I stare at the blinded windows. The wind in my face takes away something that is precious.