On meeting Khalfani X Khaldun

5/12/98

Here is a man, a 29-year old black man who has spent the last 11 years in prison, the last two in a control unit and the two before that in isolation. In the last year, his mother and two of his brothers have died. Legally, he should have been released by now. The reason he has been isolated for the past four years and the reason he was not allowed to grieve with his family is that he is being framed by the Department of Corrections because of his political beliefs and for his actions inside the prison system.

When he first saw me, when I first saw him, his smile was one of love and sincerity, and it was beautiful and big. His eyes shone with clarity. He shook my hand and within seconds was praising me for coming to see him and for caring Ė not thanking me, praising me. Iím a white boy from the suburbs of northern Utah.

Then he talked, and I listened. His speech flowed freely and smoothly, and he spoke of many things. He talked about his past and now, the prison. He talked about his love, his fiancť and his concern for her. He motioned toward some guards and identified them as the search team. Motioned toward other prisoners and told me something about a few of them. No matter what he was talking about, it was clear to me that this man was a revolutionary because he cares. The life that emanated from this man while he spoke, the constant gleam in his eye and that beautiful smile are things I rarely witness outside of prison.

He spoke excitedly about his recent change of status from no-contact visits to contact-visits (Indeed, he hadnít realized the change had taken place until we were seated in a contact-visit scenario.) and the recent successes of the committed work by him and other prisoners of forcing the Department of Corrections to comply with their own DOC regulations.

This man amazed and inspired me, but the real surprise came when he told me that he considered himself privileged because of what he has. He spoke of the necessity of helping others, which is basically the cause of his harassment. But he still is doing what he can to help others.

In a just society, a man like Khalfani X Khaldun would be held up as an example of someone overcoming a criminal past and mentality to become a loving contributor to society. In our society, he is imprisoned and maliciously devalidated. What kind of a system allows this? For a just society, we must all learn to care for and help others no matter the consequences.