“…what is important is what we do inside the prisons where we find ourselves. (I feel the vomit rising in my throat at I type such odiously cheap and optimistic sentiments.) …”
I thought this real-life nightmare would be right at home on this site. After all, Hitchcock’s “The Wrong Man” was based on a real events too.
This news item was making the rounds the other day. It’s a familiar enough story – sort of – but I was struck by the human details especially in the version that appeared in China Daily.
Synopsis: two men didn’t particularly like each other and one day, the feud led to a bloody hatchet fight. One was accused of murdering the other man when a headless body was discovered. The accused man eventually agrees to the accusation – perhaps after a bit of torture – and serves 10 years of a 30 year sentence during which time his wife marries someone else and his children are dispersed to foster care. Then the “dead” man returns… to collect welfare. He disappeared initially because *he* thought he’d killed the other guy. THAT, my friends, is a story. Maybe even a movie. I for one would love to see Ben Affleck and Matt Damon go after each other with hatchets and no stunt doubles. And the screaming plot hole – that is, did NO ONE check the fingerprints on the headless corpse? – seems about right for a Hollywood movie.
Seriously though, the events themselves are beyond my ability to imagine: the miscarriage of justice, existential tragedy. Nothing can recompense the guy for his lost time and lost life. It’s hard not to wipe my brow and just say I’m glad that didn’t happen to me. The only way I can process it is on the level of story, of metaphor.
But purely on that purely metaphoric level – and I admit a rather lurid and ham-fisted metaphoric level – don’t we all receive things we don’t “deserve,” whether blessings or curses or just situations and circumstances. At the risk of sounding like Norman Vincent Peale here, what is important is what we do inside the prisons where we find ourselves. I feel the vomit rising in my throat at I type such odiously cheap and optimistic sentiments. King, Bonhoeffer, Solzhenitsyn, Wilde, Boethius, Thoreau, etc. all wrote important works while in prison.
But then again, Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf” in prison too.