(Blog Editor’s Note: Have you written Chelsea a birthday card yet? It’s not to late. Check out our Political Prisoner Birthday Poster for December here to get her address and more.)
From The Guardian
Yesterday, December 18th, Chelsea Manning – heroine, whistleblower and inmate – turned 27. She has been behind bars for four years and eight months, ever since her arrest for leaking classified US documents. There isn’t much prospect that she will be released any time soon. Manning is serving a 35-year sentence, with the earliest possibility of parole being in 2021. She has appealed to Barack Obama for a pardon. It seems unlikely he will grant it.
It is against this gloomy and unpropitious backdrop that leading writers, artists and public figures from around the world are today sending Chelsea birthday greetings. Their contributions include letters, poems, drawings and original paintings. Some are philosophical – yes, that’s you, Slavoj Žižek – others brief messages of goodwill. A few are movingly confessional.
All send a powerful reminder: that for millions in the US and beyond, Chelsea Manning is an inspiring moral figure who deserves our continued support. Her leaks, published in 2010, at a time when Manning was unhappily stationed with the US military in Baghdad, revealed the true nature of America’s twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also illuminated the gulf between Washington’s private thinking and its public diplomacy.
Edward Snowden sums up the mood of collective gratitude: “I thank you now and forever for your extraordinary act of service and I am sorry that it has come with such an unbelievable personal cost. As a result of your courageous act, the American people are more informed about the workings of our government as it positions itself for endless war … For this we all thank you. Happy birthday, Chelsea.” (more…)