Before, During, and After

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are pictures of me before, during, and after the events related in "Hard Realities." They tell a story in themselves, do they not?

Before - Wistful Hope

This shows me before my first trip to the Netherlands in 1991, as I prepared to leave forever the land of my birth.

During - the Pleasure of Semi-Escape

In Europe, I was happy, in spite of everything. This may have worked against me in the asylum-seeking process. Refugees are supposed to demonstrate fear. My relief -- my elation -- that I was no longer in the USA was hard to hide.

During - Improving Physical Health

In late 1992, at the camp in Rijsbergen, the Netherlands, I found myself getting stronger every day. My immune system seemed to improve. I was able to walk more than two kilometers. Twice a week, I worked out in the camp's gym.

After - Weakness and Despair

In October, 1993, in order to coerce me into returning to the USA, Belgian authorities threw me into prison for three weeks without formal arrest, appearance before a judge, or contact with any lawyer or human rights advocate. A couple of days after my "voluntary" repatriation, I tried to kill myself. Here is what I looked like a few weeks later. Though I had gained some weight in the hospital and had a decent haircut, one can see in my face what happens when two continents gang up on one asylum-seeker.

Hard Realities

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