Dream of: 23 June 1996 "The Importance Of The Internet"

I had been incarcerated in a prison in Syria. I had been charged with an extremely minor offense, something to do with some faulty paperwork which I had submitted to someone. I didn't think I would be in prison for a long time, but then again, since this was a Moslem country, anything was possible.

I recalled that I had once before been in prison in a Moslem country, in Iran. Since I was already experienced with Moslem prisons, I wasn't terribly shocked by my situation. This prison was much nicer and quieter than the prison in which I had been jailed in Iran. Although I was in a section with 20-30 other prisoners, I had more privacy than I had had in Iran, and I wasn't worried about my safety. Overall I thought I would be well-treated. I even thought I might find my stay there interesting, and that this experience could be part of an ongoing exploration of prisons in different Moslem countries: before it was over I might visit them all.

Among the people who were jailed with me, I noticed a few familiar faces. I saw two or three people with whom I had attended Grant Junior High School. I particularly noticed a black–haired girl (about 15 years old) whom I thought I recognized from my junior high school days. I didn't want to say anything to her at the moment, but I thought later I would ask her if she had attended Grant.

As all the prisoners stood milling about in a large spacious room, a man came in to make an announcement. He was tall and thin, and had dark black hair. He began explaining to us that all the prisoners would soon have access to the Internet. I was truly amazed by this announcement. I knew we had computers in the jail, but I had never thought we would be allowed to use the Internet. I knew one of the worst aspects about jail was being cut off from everyone, especially my family. I also knew my sister had recently obtained access to the Internet, and that this would mean that I would now be able to communicate with her, and thus my family, from jail. That would certainly make jail much more tolerable.

The man (all business) said that the installation of the Internet access would be complete in a few days. He said that once the installation was finished, it would be necessary for anyone who wanted to use the Internet to write him a letter and send it to him so that he could complete our access. I immediately perceived a problem. I knew the man wasn't actually a member of the prison staff, and that after he left today, we might not have any more contact with him. Therefore if the prison officials didn't want the prisoners to have access to the Internet, the officials might somehow sabotage our letters so the man would never receive the letters. Then the man would never complete our access and we would have no way to reach him. The man would just conclude that the prisoners hadn't been interested enough to write the letters, and we would be left without access.

Worried by this thought, I spoke out. I told the man that we were definitely interested in having access to the Internet, and that we would definitely write the letters to him. I told him that if he didn't receive the letters from us in a few days, he should check back with us, because something must have gone wrong. I tried my best to impress upon him how important access to the Internet was to us.

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