Dream of: 28 February 1995 "God Lets Children Starve"

While Carolina and I were in a foreign country, Carolina was arrested and incarcerated. Although I was in jail with her, only she had been arrested. We were in a large room with other people, waiting for a lawyer to visit us. Finally two lawyers walked in, sat down at a table with us and began talking.

The lawyers seemed so young (probably in their late 20s), I quickly became concerned they might not have the experience we needed for this problem. Both concentrated on talking with Carolina, hardly acknowledging my presence. The conversation was in Spanish, and I restively listened to what they had to say. Finally, growing impatient, I began talking to one. After speaking a sentence, I saw a look of puzzlement on their faces, and realized I had spoken German instead of Spanish. I started speaking again, but again I spoke German. Scrutinizing one of the two lawyers, I realized something about him made me think I should be speaking German, but I couldn't place exactly what it was.

I stood up and began speaking English, which everyone seemed to understand. Walking back and forth, I explained that we didn't even know why we were being held, that we had been in jail all day, and that we were threatened with being incarcerated here for 30 years. I gestured toward Carolina to indicate how young and innocent she was, and how unjust it was for her to be in a situation like this. As I talked, I felt almost as if I were representing her before a jury, and indeed, besides the two lawyers, other people in the room were listening to my speech. I noticed one woman, probably in her fifties, paying close attention to my every word.

Carolina and I had a lot of money which the authorities had discovered. What they hadn't uncovered was a bag of marijuana which we still had and which didn't appear to be part of the reason we were in jail. Although I didn't think we would be able to take the marijuana with us when we left, I thought I might nevertheless try to take enough for one joint.

However, at the moment, my main concern was obtaining the right lawyer to free us. Impatiently I asked the lawyers whether they had ever handled a case like this. When both replied that they hadn't, I began to realize these two lawyers were very inexperienced. In fact, it looked as if they had been sent by some agency which simply sent out lawyers to help foreigners. I picked up a large wad of fresh bills and waved them in the air. I assured the lawyers we had money to hire someone with experience and I emphasized we wanted someone who knew the system and the judges here.

As I spoke, a well-dressed man with a beard and mustache who was standing with his back to a wall spoke up and said, "God put you here."

His comment seemed disingenuous to me. I pointed out a series of other catastrophes for which God was responsible, trying to show that even if God did put us here, that knowledge didn't help our situation. I said, "God lets children starve to death all over the world. God doesn't tell us if there is an end to our suffering"

I thought my last statement was particularly poignant, although I was unsure that the other man would realize its significance. I thought the fact that God mystified us by keeping us in ignorance of whether we would ever be free of suffering was important.

The two lawyers walked up to me, and with my back against the wall, began talking. The one on my left was so close, I thought I could feel a bulge under his pants between his legs inappropriately rubbing against my leg. I was about to push him back, but decided to listen to what he had to say. He chastised me for having made the statements about God, indicating that this wasn't the place to be saying such things. He also indicated that I should not be talking to other people in the prison. I pointed out that the well-dressed man to whom I had spoken looked as if he could be trusted. But I realized I might indeed have made a mistake.

The second lawyer on my right began talking. He held his thumb and forefinger about a centimeter apart, indicating the size of something, and mentioned maggots. I quickly realized he was warning me about maggots in food in the prison. I immediately recalled my experience of having once been in prison in Iran for eight months, and I knew I was already familiar with such things. But I quickly thought to myself that it wouldn't be a good idea for me to mention to the man that I had previously been in prison. I must also mention to Carolina that she should not tell anyone about that. I thought the fact that I had previously been in prison might hinder our release from this prison.

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