My name is Jus and on 2015-07-22 I was arrested during a large scale police operation in Hambach Forest. That day after 8 hours of being removed from a concrete lock-on on top of the Remis tower I was vacuumed up into the North Rhine Westphalia prison system for the next 3 months. For the first 23 days of my imprisonment I remained on hunger strike protesting RWE continuous destruction of 12 thousand years old Hambach Forest (my, and many other climate and eco activist’s home), its and Lignite Open Cast Mine and its effect on the destabilizing the Planet climate.
During the whole duration of my hunger strike
1. I was kept completely isolated and incomunicado from my lawyer who was not allowed to see me for over 21 days with the prison staff refusing him access claiming that he was not my lawyer and did not appear as such in their files.
2. The jail medical doctor was not only verbally and psychologically aggressive and was not interested in the state of my health as much as in coercing me to sign consent forms that would allow the state to force feed me if I lost consciousness. He constantly informed me that hunger striking is not a form of protest but a terrorist tool(echos of RAF prisoners and their deaths in prison). Tried to scream at me, which stopped quickly when being screamed back at and having the door to his repression central “clinic” banged on( All of this is what made it convenient for years for RWE securities to drop of at the local prison long list of our forest activists who suffered broken noses, wrists and arms, as well as head injuries. Then detaining them for months as they recovered with charges of having attacked the security guards. With the later having of course no injuries to show for and being free to destroy last unique habitats on the continents and pollute and destroy the whole planet)
3. All my mail was blocked for the duration of the hunger strike, for 21 days for what seemed like months I was completely isolated from the outside as I did not even have any addresses with me to write to anybody on the outside. It felt like I was locked away with the key having been thrown out. Seeing how western parliamentary democracies were not just outsourcing repression and human rights abuses to the global south but were and are more than willing to nourish them at home.
4. I was put in the same prison cells with individuals that not only threatened me with physical violence but who went through a long list of questions that included.
a. list of European capitals and who, especially anarchists, I knew there.
b. what was the state of my funds (exact wording) especially for my defense
c. insisted, yes (really!) that I write them a letter with a description of what I did.
(The above was basically a dynamic of ultra repressive regime’s interrogation, complete with confession)
5. Sleep Deprivation throughout and after the hanger strike by being woken every half an hour as hunger strike was used as pretext to put me on suicide watch and wake me up every half an hour to check whether I was still alive.
6. With chants of “Sieg Heil” and “Allahu Akhbar” constantly raging out of cells on both sides of mine , it was I defending the forest from RWE who was classified as an violent extremist and prevented from exercising and sports while both the Nazis and the religious fundamentalist were not and were on very friendly terms with each other and the prison officials.
During all of this and afterwards I have received no support from many of the local more reformists and citizen groups that have affiliated themselves with Hambach Forest. Which to me showed the after-shocks of state and corporate disinformation and media campaigns, it reflected the wider echo like circles of repression affecting those many with fear, paranoia and distance. Which was to be expected from all who believe the present system can be transformed or salvaged. However I was and to this day continues to be deeply disappointing that during my whole imprisonment I also did not receive a single letter from local coal and radical prisoner support groups asking if there was anything I could use. Ironic given that being an info nerd I have not only seen but also distributed their fliers and literature containing accounts for donations for prisoner support – The same groups to which I now openly and indignantly not just appeal but demand that they do take a more forward role with the 9 and do not leave them feeling so forgotten! And more than to you it is a message to all to not just be ready but already form one person cells that recreate and actively continue what larger prison support groups set up to do. There is no other way as the state driven solutions to resource collapse, extinction, and climate chaos are more fossil fuel extractions are more repression and militarization. As this happen the night of capitalism might be a short one but it will definitively be a dark and cold one….so bundle up >:) and make sure that you have matches or a lighter at all times as hypothermia is a really shitty way to go.
However there _was_ a phenomenal amount of support from individuals and small groups from animal rights, feminists, anarchists, anti-authoritarian struggles and scenes…etc. Many of whom have got to know the ugly face of repression first-hand and who have made the, hopefully, life changing decision not to isolate themselves in a thick cocoon of privilege and distance as the planet continues to burns and the toolbox of repression is ever expanded. It is only for countless people like you through out the ages that many of us can choose the direction in which we can walk to and why there is still the present number of species and habitats still precariously holding on in forgotten, defended and hard to get places.
I deeply believe now that empathy and solidarity have this in common that it is not easily possible for somebody who has never been hungry and thirsty to realize how elemental and symbolic food and water can be. Just the same as it is not possible for anybody who has never been alone or been repressed or abused to realize how powerful of an act writing a letter or couple words on a postcard can become.