A Film Script
The present manuscript fell in our hands as a matter of coincidence. If providence had not provided it so, this heroic story would probably be lost for all times. Our task consisted in editing and publishing this vivid report of the social murder of a person, and his resurrection, three years later, as a transformed individual.
What strikes in the story is the hero’s firm decision not to fight but to turn inward to find within himself the true meaning of the events that had been collapsing over his head like the proverbial Tower of the Tarot. And as the two figures to be seen on that 16th Grand Arcane of the Tarot de Marseille, our hero fell upon grass, and not hard ground, and survived his fall. But the shock was immense!
Human history, seen through the paranoid eyes of biographers, seems to be an unending succession of trials. We got a Socrates drinking poison, and a Jesus hung at a wooden cross, we got a Giordano Bruno burnt alive with all his books, and a Wilhelm Reich ending his days in prison for having provided humanity with a truly effective cancer cure and a whole lot of other discoveries that merit not one, but at least five Nobel prizes.
Meanwhile, the leader pigs and political ants, bare of wit and even barer of humanity, continue their nowadays global witchhunts so as to make humanity save for eternal stupidity.
Among present-day heresies and government-declared crimes are standing out those, unknown in any past century, that label as criminal and perverse the consumption of certain ferns and mushrooms, declared illegal, as well as natural behavior shared with so-called underage children in the form of touching, caressing, kissing and fondling their bodies, thereby experiencing sensuous pleasure.
Apart from the fact that in the madhouse of modern society no philosopher and no social psychologist ever asked the pertinent question if declaring nature illegal is not by itself an abuse of governmental functions, or at least an act of mental derangement rather than respectable government behavior, the even more pertinent question remains unanswered why the herd of mainstream individuals, counting billions of people, silently go on to be driven, crooked and led astray by a tiny oligarchy of mega criminals?
The present manuscript is rendered and published unabridged. The names and identity of individuals and organizations mentioned have been changed or abbreviated in order to preserve their reputation. The author, Bernard F., renders a first-person account.
Our motivation for the publishing of the rather unusual plot is that it may serve as teaching tale for future educators who come up with daring new solutions for revolutionizing early child care and pre-school education in accordance with the findings of modern child psychology that stresses the need of the small child for abundant tactile stimulation and taboo-free body care.
What hits the eye in the present autobiographic story is the amateurism of the hero, and the lack of information of the parents about the details of his educational approach.
Significantly enough, the trigger of the affair came from one of the families where the author had not provided a written information about his methods and educational convictions, and where the parents thus were kind of thrown over the head by his approach, which later led to grave misunderstandings about Bernard himself, and his primary motivation for the work.
The law enforcement authorities, the judges, while specialized police squads were meeting Bernard with more understanding, were not believing that Bernard acted from an educational motivation and not from a ludicrous attempt to achieve easy sexual gratification through the access to small children that his work provided him.
As a result, what may have altered the situation from the start, would have been at least four elements:
— A written draft with detailed information, handed over to all of the families, right at the start of the work;
— A female collaborator who would have had the role to provide the missing mother-replacing element and whose task would have been to inform and prepare the mothers so that they can render a fully informed consent about Bernard’s alternative approach to early child care;
— An outsourcing of the educational work from the home to a professional facility setup in full agreement with the authorities and where more people are around the children than just Bernard;
— Such professional facility directed and managed not by Bernard himself but by a reputed individual with full credentials in the field of early child care and a widely accepted and long-standing background in alternative pedagogy (such as Steiner, Montessori, Frenet, etc.).
A First-Person Account
I would like to ask the following questions right at the onset of this report:
Am I a criminal? Did I intent to hurt anybody with what I did as an early child care worker and child psychologist? Did my educational approach, while it was admittedly not sufficiently propagated and communicated to the parents, trigger anything so bad that I had deserved a punishment of three years of prison for it, and half of this fine even in voluntary isolation detention because otherwise I might have been badly hurt or even killed?
Is it that what our justice and police forces today want, that is, to jail people who do all their best being progressive for bringing about social betterments that benefit our young generations, and are useful?
I leave the answer over to the reader. The answer that the system was throwing over my head was that I am a baby rapist, organized child abuser and predator who is a danger to social welfare. Besides, what became obvious in my case was that it was not even criminal justice that really judged me but the press, and since the press is free and can do and say what they like in order to serve the perverse tastes of the populace, all can happen.
Is that right as it is and should it be tolerated any longer? Do journalists not have a responsibility for what they smear in their morning papers? And why, while it may be in principle recognized that such responsibility exists, is it not validated and respected when it’s only about cases that are about so-called sex with minors?
And in addition, why can this society just subsume all it wants under the dubious notion of sex that it likes to subsume under it, even if it has really nothing to do with sex in the usual meaning of the term?
These questions that I intently ask here because they are not answered to this very day and because they were not answered in my trial in any way, because they were overruled by jumping to set judgments and conclusions, are important enough to be one day scrutinized in a scientific manner.
Without doing this, I think, and after what happened in my case, it will not be possible to find an emotionally healthy and sensuously nutritive approach to early child rearing, when parents, and especially mothers have other interests than taking really care of their babies. And this is simply a social reality today that we have to see as it is.
To formulate such a new concept for early child education that adequately provides the nutrient, affectionate and tactile care for children that is missing in traditional child education, it is necessary to define what really is sex, and still more importantly to define what is not sex.
This task can be done only by national parliaments that are well informed so that they can do the far-reaching decision-making to change all the laws currently applicable in this area of professional child care.
If this is not going to happen, it will all become worse, and many good educators may be trapped in the same way as I was because, honestly speaking, it is as good as unavoidable to get involved in sensual, if not exceptionally also sexual exchanges with children when a permissive educational approach is applied, and when there is true love between educators and children.
This is simply a fact of life that a democratic and freedom-loving society must be able to face once it is grown-up eventually to possess the maturity to accept its responsibility to regulate such social and biological facts of life in a reasonable manner by socially coding the erotic love between adults and children when it’s non-harmful and not a matter of violence and coercion.
For without such social acceptance and a valid social code for it, intergenerational love will always remain taboo; yet taboos bring about chaos, not lawful behavior, disorder, not order, rape and destruction, not positive growth.
In addition, teachers need some kind of emotional and sexual consulting so that, when being around children all day long, they can avoid sliding into situations they can’t handle without creating havoc and triggering very heavy and unforeseen averse reactions such as in my case.
Fate was really going down on me like the proverbial Damoclean sword, and all possible resistance proved to be useless. And this was so much the more queer and frightening as the story was starting in such lucky and harmonious ways, and that was the ultimate reason that got me in a deep and lasting depression, while fortunately I was strong enough to not succumb to suicide.
I had read forensic reports, before that time, regarding sexual crime against children and many a cruel confession was among those texts, but what I was going to experience in my own life was worse and more cruel than all of it.
I had not the slightest idea or premonition of such a blow of destiny, except strange dreams that a paranormal would perhaps consider as precognitive.
The year before, in December, I had been graduating as a child psychologist, but did not find work in my profession.
On a holiday journey to Italy, I visited day care centers and pre-schools in the town of Genova and got compliments because of my good Italian, and also because it was said I had much talent for working as an early child educator. It was also said that my diploma in child psychology was just another qualification for doing this job in an excellent and exemplary manner.
Encouraged, I stayed longer than I had planned and destiny developed in such a way that I did not find work, in Italy either, in my original profession as a child psychologist. What happened, however, was that two directors of international pre-schools and day care centers offered me the position of assistance director, if I really wanted to definitely move away from Germany and establish myself in Genova.
I did not think long as all had been so coincidental and really looked like a new way, and last not least the wonderful weather in Italy and the relaxed atmosphere in the schools made me accept the offer on the spot. In addition, I became friends with one of these two directors, Gianna; she encouraged me further to look for work as a house teacher in upper-class private households.
I found this novel idea strange and daring at first sight, as I am a man and not a young au-pair girl, and thought what people thought of a man in his thirties going to work as a babysitter? In addition, I feared to be ridiculed by the children themselves.
But Gianna replied I had a huge information lacuna in this respect and, typically for an academic, was not following up to the drastic social changes over recent years in this area of service-providing. Reality was, in Gianna’s view, that in Italy and most other industrialized societies, a growing number of parents from the upper strata of society were looking to find for their children an affectively rich, emotionally stimulating and creative education, but that teachers qualified for providing such an education were simply lacking.
The other point I should consider, she argued, was the fact that the early separation of mother and child that is the regular case with traditional day care was triggering child trauma in most cases, while this was officially hardly ever admitted. However, when, like in the ancient custom of the house teacher, the caretaker comes to the family instead of the child being taken to the caretaker, most of this trauma could be avoided because the child remained in his or her customary environment that also meant the continued presence of familiar persons such as maids or pets.
I was dumbfounded. All this was new to me, and sounded highly interesting, and it was an idea I never had before, while I well had been familiar with research on the tactile deprivation of infants and children, and knew that day care was more and more considered as problematic because of the abhorrent ignorance in these new money-making professions of the tactile, sensuous and emotional needs of small children, infants and toddlers.
In addition, Gianna explained me, it was psychologically important that the mother was being an intermediary between the child and the teacher. This intermediary role was essential, research had shown, for the child to build the necessary trust to the teacher, which could simply not happen in traditional day-care as in most cases, the mother simply leaves the child there in the wardrobe and goes to her work place.
In the ideal case, Gianna concluded, the teacher was living with the family and was fully integrated in the life of the family. This would insure to avoid any possible cause of child trauma.
My immediate objection was that it was after all pure luxury to waste one teacher for one single child, while in schools the ideal ratio was considered one to five or even one to ten.
Gianna simply laughed at my argument and said I could be assured that in Genova currently there were many families who could afford themselves this luxury, but that despite the high remuneration they offer for such kind of a caretaker, it was almost impossible to find any.
Upon my further remark that all this sounded as if the teacher had to be a male, which triggered further laughter with Gianna. She replied that traditionally in ancient Greece the institution of the house teacher had somehow been associated with pederasty and that most of those teachers were hired for educating young boys, and only in exceptional cases, for girls.
But she added that this was of mere historical or anecdotic importance and that the present situation within modern consumer culture was entirely different because modern society, for the least in North Italy, was treating girls and boys pretty much alike in early child education and that for that reason such discrimination did not make sense any longer.
I found it still esoteric what Gianna told me, but I was going to get a more detailed picture soon after this talk with her. I knew that psychologically speaking, all was true what Gianna said, but I was having my objections regarding societal acceptance of a male going to work in families with small females. Somehow, my gut told me that that was really a daring constellation, while I could well imagine that Gianna’s reasoning was correctly reflecting the social realities.
To be true, I pretty much forgot those details over the next days, as I began working in the two day care centers, which meant I had a workplace for the mornings and one for the afternoons, and in addition, and following Gianna’s advice, I inscribed for an evening course at Genova tech school, for receiving a diploma in Early Child Care that allowed me to later open my own day care center.
In the meantime, I developed an intimate relation with Gianna who was a very passionate, emotionally sane, affectionate and sensual Italian woman whom I began to like more and more on all levels. I could talk with Gianna just about all and everything, she had an open mind and her judgments were always emotionally intelligent on a high level, and in addition she had been from a well-to-do family from Milano and had experienced an exemplarily positive childhood.
As my job was really my vocation, I had formerly not been able to find such a partner, and here luck was really having its hand in play, as our passion for children was mutual, and Gianna is a woman who truly loves children in every sense of the word.
Gianna was fully absorbed by her profession as an early child educator and it sufficed to see her at work in her day care center, and one knew that she was married through and through with her job and that it was for her, as for me, a vocation, and not a bread-job.
She just loved to be around children, and even the management part of the task, because she had also quite a lot of administrative paperwork to handle, and in her relationships with the parents, she had to show solid psychological knowledge, and first of all tact, and patience. And she had all of it, really all, which was something I had never seen before in a woman in such a wonderful perfection. To make it all round, Gianna found that for a Viking, I spoke Italian exceptionally well and had something of an old Roman about me, remarks that I naturally received as compliments.
After about two months Gianna said she had received a phone call from a friend who was in touch with a high-class family from Genova, the father was an Italian, and ambassador, and the mother an English business woman.
They had heard of me and the mother of the child wanted to talk to me. She had the idea I could work in their house as a teacher for their two-year old daughter. Gianna said, even if I had still the same objections, I should at least go there and talk with that woman, just listen to her, and not judge in advance.
I objected indeed that I was very busy with my work for two schools and in addition had the evening course still not finished. I simply had no space in my agenda, said I. Gianna replied I had a short-sighted way of looking ahead in life, first of all because the evening course was soon finalized, it was just a matter of months, not years, and that I should tell the family simply from what starting time I was available for the job. So I went there, but in an inner attitude of it will be a nice talk without anything further.
And all came out entirely different as I had expected it. The family was living in a magnificent villa in the finest quarter of Genova, the father of the girl is a well-known ambassador, and the mother has a chain of fashion boutiques in the center of Genova and in other towns.
What surprised me right at the start of our meeting was the incredible wit of the mother, and her outspokenness about the task at hand. She said she had no guilt to admit that her career had more importance for her than the new challenge to be a mother to her daughter, and that she simply had no time for her child. What counted for her in life was her career and that meant la moda, la moda e ancora volta la moda, and besides that, pretty much nothing.
Her husband was luckily accepting her as she was, while he was a little sad that she experienced such a scarce amount of mother feelings. Upon my question how she could handle that daring situation on a daily basis she said she had a Chilean helper who was ‘something like a pearl,’ and who was very loving with her daughter Angela, but that, on the other hand, it was inadmissible that Angela was learning bad Spanish instead of good Italian and English, and that such a situation was after all inadmissible. The Chilean woman was excellent as a maid but she was from very low class origin and could not provide an ‘adequate caretaking’ for her child.
Upon my further question how the father was dealing with this situation, the man, who was a very calm and distinguished person, said he had some moral scruples how easy his wife was taking her motherhood, but he was pretty sure he was not able to change her, as she had a very strong personality. And that had been the reason why, after all, he had asked around in their rather large circle of friends and acquaintances to find a house teacher for Angela, provided that such still existed in our times …
It was by the way interesting to learn that they had had au-pair girls on several occasions, one from London and a local one, and that this had been much of a catastrophe every time. Upon my surprised question why this had been so, I got to hear that the girls simply had demonstrated interest only for television and video games, and not the slightest interest for playing with Angela, and for communicating properly with her.
Angela was a very intelligent baby, the father continued, who had no interest for television or movies, but was very creative, foremost interested in drawing and clay work, and that Angela had found the girls stupid and boring, in her own words, which had been the reason to each time dismiss them before the contractual period. And unfortunately, all search for a house teacher, to avoid the early separation needed for day care, and because Angela was simply not ready for it, had been unsuccessful, virtually to this very day. Until just very recently, Elina, Angela’s mother had spoken with an old friend, Gianna, who had told her about a young child psychologist from Germany who was looking for work … and that had triggered with him a certain feeling that he should talk to me …
I was sitting there, in that moment, in a timid mood, realizing that so much positive energy and so many opportunities had arisen all around me since I was in Italy, while before I was virtually bathed in despair how to find a job and handle my little life. I was kind of speechless also about the aristocratic and wistful attitude of this father, and the outgoing, fearless and honest spirit of that ambitious mother. I saw that this was an exceptional situation and that, only looking at this couple, I could be sure that Angela would be an exceptionally intelligent and gifted child.
When I asked what their ideas was regarding work time and salary, I was again surprised, because they wanted to pay much more for lesser work time that I was having in both day care centers, and in addition I would be living in a nice apartment on the top floor of the villa and all living cost, food and laundry would be covered on top of my exceptional salary. I was speechless.
Elina added quickly that of course Gianna could come any time, or for the weekends, when I wanted this … and I found this very respectful for indeed I could not have imagined how to accept this situation if I could not have continued my love with Gianna. After all, I imagined, Gianna could come also for doing some work with Angela together with me, an idea I found really charming and attractive.
Paolo, Angela’s father, also said it wouldn’t be a problem if on some afternoons when Angela was having her nap, I was helping out in the day care center for two or three hours, all that could be arranged easily, and that should not be a reason for my denial …
Well, after all this, I was honored but still indecisive, and suddenly I got an idea. I thought we had forgotten the most important thing to do. We had forgotten to ask Angela herself what she thought of the idea and of myself? So I said the main decision-maker in this case, besides of course the parents, should be the child, Angela herself, as my own decision was irrelevant if Angela was somehow not bonding with me or against the very idea to have a male house teacher around her.
Paolo, upon this argument, sat a moment in silence and then looked in my eyes and smiled. Bravo Bernardo, he uttered, I must admit to my shame that we had not a moment thought of that! What you say is absolutely true, and I think the best is to bring Angela and you together and simply observe what happens … But his wife objected.
— Well, darling, I think you go a little too far here in your permissiveness; are you aware that Angela is only two years old and that it’s after all we, her parents who have the responsibility to take decisions for her, or not?
Whereupon she gazed at me, and I felt awkward. She had asked her husband but it was obvious that she expected an answer from me. It was obvious that the couple was divided over this question. So what could I possibly do or say in this tricky situation? I decided spontaneously to say what I really felt and thought, even if it was not going to be to my advantage:
— Well, I think Paolo had an excellent idea …, I began, and as I again saw him smiling at me from his armchair, I continued I found the idea very charming to make this little test with Angela, to just call her right now … to see how she would react to meeting with me.
Paolo said Angela was sleeping now, but the next day this would be easy to realize and actually also desirable, and we should simply do it. Elina remarked that she was going to surrender under the majority of two men and after all the whole thing could not hurt.
Whereupon I took a leave and went to see Gianna who was in no way surprised about the details of the conversation. She only said:
— I see you live and work there, but not for long.
Upon my astonished question why not for long, she added:
— Simply you are soon going to face a whole army of upper-class families who are going to ask you working for them as well, because this family is very well-known and they have an incredibly large and influential circle of friends. The whole thing will simply be the novelty of the day and you are going to be pushed around with still better offers and still better work conditions …
— But no, I countered her optimism. I’m not a gigolo, after all, and when I decide myself for Angela, that means, that I decide for that particular child and not for the house, or the work conditions, or the salary …
And Gianna said I was ‘simply an idealist’ and another would act differently in such a situation, and when I asked her how, she continued:
— Look, another would do it professionally from the start, setup a company and write a concept that can be duplicated, replicated, so to speak, and he would find adequate and talented educators and would train them, so as to meet the need of the market … which would lead to the simple result that he would make a lot of money.
And I had answered laconically that I was not thinking of the money but of the quality of education, and Gianna again laughed me in the face and said I was a hopeless idealist.
The next day I went to see Angela and all really went as in a dream, as if it was all set in advance by some mysterious force. Angela virtually jumped in my arms, she loved me on first sight, and it was mutual. She jumped up in joy when her parents explained her the idea they had thought of me working with her as a house teacher, that I would live in the house, that I would play with her, educate her, and even sleep with her, if she wanted that, and that she was going to study English and Italian with me, and later on also German, and that Donna Anna, the helper form Chile was not able to do all this because she was too busy with her work for cleaning and cooking. That is why they had thought to hire Bernardo for the job …
Angela nodded, came toward me and said in a decided manner, I should right now start to play with her! She gave me a little velvet doll that was a bit torn up and asked me, if I could repair her doll, so that it would look nice again?
In a sudden presence of mind I asked Elina to hand me sewing utensils and when she was back with a little box that contained the desired, I took out of my pocket a new clean handkerchief that I had put that morning, after perfuming it a little, and with some stitches I sewed that handkerchief around the doll, like a robe, and somehow the result looked very nice. Then I gave the doll back to Angela, adding:
— My dear little girl, here you have a new princess!
And Angela stormed toward her mother with a cry of joy and peeped she was enchanted with her new magician, and he must never leave her again …
And the parents, really enthusiastic about that result, spontaneously invited me for dinner and insisted I had not only mastered the little test but that I was simply brilliant in every respect and that one could only thank destiny to have guided such a pearl of an educator toward them.
After dinner I improvised a little on their wonderful Steinway Grand and Angela glanced at me with loving eyes, and the parents said I should teach her piano playing!
So I accepted the work, despite my initial doubts, and quit the job in the second Kindergarten remaining with the half-day job in Gianna’s pre-school, and moved to my new workplace. And doing that, without knowing it, I had entered the abyss, for here it all started.
It is true that I continued to have a sexual relation with Gianna and was happy in this love, while I found Gianna at times a bit dominating and harsh; she could have temper tantrums, and even dictatorial reactions, but that was rather the exception. For children I never had felt anything sexual, but this changed now dramatically.
Angela was a very erotic little angel and she expressed her sensual feelings very openly and did not know any shame. I can only say luckily so, for I knew this was the right and healthy way and that nature was having her game, and the parents were wistful enough to respect rather than destroy her early erotic charm. They actually found that rather funny and thought it was a good omen for my relationship with her; their reasoning, I think, was psychologically sound.
Angela’s carefreeness was indeed an expression for her building strong trust with me, and that she felt comfortable and safe in our relationship, also in moments we were in an intimate setting, upstairs, with none of her parents at home, and she crawling in my bed when I had a nap sometimes in the late afternoon. Also did I have the impression that this couple were intelligent and free-thinking people, who were emotionally mature and who did not have major hangups and therefore could grant their child this natural freedom. But I was not aware of the morality in that country that today is rather hidden, so that one may easily think it belongs to the past.
I also had been quite in the dark about one quality of Italians, that I misunderstood, that is, their charm, their pleasing nature, their sociability, and often also, their humor. Yet I was not aware that this was much part of the Latin mentality, as we Germans are not as polished as they are, but in Germany gross misunderstandings as in my affair are less likely to happen because things would be blocked before it really comes close to the danger, so to speak, or if they are not blocked, you can be pretty sure you can follow through without great risk.
On the other hand, things got out of hand in a certain way in taking another child and here I made probably the major mistake. It was as Gianna had predicted it, that my vocation would have a larger positive feedback still with more opportunities. After already one week of my work with Angela an old friend of her mother called who, while telling me she had not yet spoken with Elina, was interested to give me her three-year old son Giulio for staying and studying together with Angela, and that, provided we could agree on the basic conditions, she was pretty sure she could get to an agreement with Angela’s parents as well, for this to work out.
The idea was namely that Giulio was staying with us for entire days, and that her mother would come to pick him up at the end of the afternoon. She offered me a very lucrative remuneration when I considered that I had hardly any more work to do with two children instead of one, and yet had almost the double salary. Here also Gianna was proved to be right.
My answer was hesitating because I was kind of convinced that Angela’s mother did not wish this to happen and was against such a rather unusual situation, but I was completely wrong in my worries. Angela’s parents were enthusiastic about the idea that Angela got a little friend at her side and that besides, Giulio was from a very good family of high standing, his father being a high official and ministerial executive with the government, and last not least it had been ideal that despite of a bit more social life for Angela we could effectively avoid the trauma of separation that putting Angela in a day care center would entail.
The only one who found the solution queer was Gianna. She remarked laconically all civil servants were idiots and that, if I was asking her, I should not get involved with such kind of children. I found her opinion exaggerated and subjective and could not see what she meant in more precise terms?
Only when it was too late, after my arrest, I was slowly getting the whole picture, and was getting clarity what Gianna had meant. And the inquiry judge who was after all not a bad guy in this affair, and who was quite correct with me, said during one of the sessions that I had two things against me in this trial: it was that I was a foreigner and that I had stepped on the feet of high people. He had said this only after he asked me if I wanted him to give me an advice, and I had agreed.
And I do not really remember what event it was that let us start our little sex games, and I do not want to put the responsibility in the feet of the children, saying they had been seducing or provocative. While I must honestly admit it appeared to me that they were very excited, to say the least, much of the time we were together. I remember that initially I did not feel any sexual arousal when I saw the children naked, and that happened often, because it belonged to my tasks to bath Angela in the morning and in the evening, and her parents had told me they were not against the fact of bathing the two children together, as it was not giving me much more work, but that for Angela it would be so much more enjoyable to take the baths together with her little friend.
Well, to say, it was indeed enjoyable for Angela for she began without any shame to play with Giulio’s little penis, and this virtually from the first day. I first did as if I did not see it and found it normal, by the way, and that it only could do good to the children to be natural with each other. But it went further.
The two children began to really love each other and they played longer times together. And once I surprised them when Giulio was on top of Angela and really did it with her.
The children at first did not notice my presence and I watched them a little, and it was during that moment that for the first time I felt some kind of sexual arousal I had not known before in my life. When I came closer, the children first were afraid I would punish them, but when I smiled and made a permissive gesture, they joyfully continued. I kneeled besides them and began to gently stroke over Giulio’s little bottom, and that aroused me even more, as the boy was of an amazing beauty, and his skin was smooth like a young apricot.
It was probably that day, while I do not remember it exactly, that I began to take baths together with them and to massage them extensively with body lotion after our short but joyful journeys in the bathtub. They loved that activity most of all and really serpented under my hands, with their naked little bodies, on Angela’s large bed.
And as I was naked myself, they began to stroke me and put creme on me, and I found that very relaxing. And little Giulio took the habit to put little kisses on my mouth and to put his little arms around my chest, when we were naked on the bed and that was a heavenly feeling that I had never experienced before in my life.
And all was as if destiny actually wanted to support my innocent love with these wonderful and intelligent children; what happened was that Giulio’s mother was enchanted about my work, and the real harmony between the boy, Angela and me, and she said she was not against, if I agreed and if Angela liked it, that Giulio once in a while stayed the night with us. I had nothing to object but made sure the idea was in full agreement with Angela’s parents, but they really welcomed it and said it was just as if Angela had found a little brother, and that that was really more than they had ever expected.
Besides, Elina was very outspoken that a second child was anathema for her and that her career primed.
The interesting thing was that Angela, besides little moments in the afternoon, never slept with me, and did not express any desire to do so. She actually had a wonderful and luxurious room of her own, with her own television set and DVD, all kinds of dolls, toys and video games, and her bed was a queen size bed of the finest American brand.
I sometimes felt I wanted to just crawl in her bed after she fell asleep at night, so good it felt with her, but I thought it was going too far perhaps to even ask her parents about it, so I just stayed a moment when she was already asleep and caressed her body or her hair, so grateful and happy about the wonderful and perhaps unusual love I experienced with her and the boy.
So what I did was to clearly ask Giulio if he wanted to sleep with Angela. He did not make a definite decision and most of the time actually slept with Angela, but at times with me, and he really seemed to enjoy, and perhaps needed, both.
I got a hint that my symbiotic feelings for the children had somehow a mirror in my own childhood and that it was this kind of love that I felt I had with my mother. And contrary to the way I was brought up, I reared the children in a completely nonviolent manner, without punishments, which made the children trust me to a point to be completely carefree in front of me, and with me. That included that they joined me on the toilet, to be close with me, curious about just everything. We were bathing and taking showers together, went outside to swim in the pool, slept together and sometimes, I was thinking I was just like a loving and emotionally nutritive father who gave his kids an abundance of tactile stimulation.
I really could not consider my relation with them as sexual in the general sense of the term. And it was parallel with my ongoing relations with Gianna, and there was no disturbance of the two kinds of relations.
One was my work, the other was my love life, while later in my trial this distinction had been completely overlooked or was smashed down.
I had not the slightest idea that my loving behavior with the children could be considered not only as sexual but as outright criminal and that one could get the absurd idea I had penetrated this small boy sexually, although any evidence had been lacking for this assumption. I simply had not done it, for I had been convinced anyway that sexual copulation between a man of my age and a small child of his age was impossible.
At that time and in that position, for sure, having done that with Giulio or Angela would have seemed to be a clearly reprehensible act, while I thought that joyful sensuality without penetration was part of modern parenting and not a sexual behavior in the true sense of the word.
They had extended the story here which is clearly violating constitutional law and a reason to get the judgment annihilated if ever I had done a formal appeal at the national constitutional court.
And here I am pretty much at the end of my confession, for there really was nothing more to it, while the press was spinning a whole ugly story around these base facts, because obviously my real story had not been obscene enough for that boulevard paper. They wrote black and white I had violated babies and things of the kind.
Very strange was also that when I was arrested, there was no evidence at all and that I was arrested a year after I had stopped working in that family.
Fact was namely that as much as I had been loving these children, I had stopped the work because of a new interest in academic studies and the idea to make a doctorate in child psychology that would allow me to work later in academia and research, which really had been my dream since many years.
So I started a doctorate in child psychology at the university and was writing a thesis entitled Tactile stimulation, or tactile sexuality: where is the difference?
I would never have anticipated, at that time, that my own life would become a test forum for my scientific thesis. For in my trial all the discussion was eventually being focused upon this question. It was asked if I had gone beyond the limits of legal tactile stimulation of small children and instead had engaged in illegal tactile sexuality with them.
Following the advice of the inquiry judge and my lawyer, I had not submitted an argument to the court on the question which had been my attitude in this case and how I myself would evaluate it. I simply dropped on their advice the idea to defend myself. I only said I had in no way the intention to achieve sexual gratification through this work and countered the accusation of the prosecution I had accepted that workplace only for ‘satisfying swinish desires with the children that I always had fostered but never had the occasion to let out.’
The judges interrogated Gianna who clearly said she had maintained love and sexual relations with me over the whole period that was in question in the trial and that as a man I was sexually absolutely normal, if one would ask her opinion.
The senate president coldly replied her that she had not been asked about her opinion, upon which the forensic psychiatrists and physicians were giving their statements on the state of health of the two children.
Those said clearly and without ambiguity that for none of the children any traces of penetration could have been found; also on a psychic level, the children had been found completely normal.
The senate president and the prosecution attorney, obviously unsatisfied with that entirely positive dictum, cross-questioned the expert witnesses, trying to get them caught up in contradictory statements, but they did not succeed.
The experts, evidently experienced in forensic expertise, were clinging very clearly and calmly to their initial statements, just repeating what they had said, what eventually culminated in an audible hum from the side of the president.
He seemed intimidated and not sure of himself. Upon which he whispered quite a long time with the other judges, who were holding their hands in front of their mouths, and a moment later he announced that the senate was going to retire for an internal meeting and was back after the pause.
After the pause the judges questioned the forensic experts about my psychic health and said I had a symbiotic fixation which could be retraced to early infantile trauma; that I was searching for emotional security with children because my ego was insufficiently structured, which in forensic psychiatry was called a pre-psychotic condition, and that this etiology was always going along with strong depressions and acute suicidal tendencies.
The judges concluded that this psychic condition was however not to be considered as alleviating the fine, but in the contrary was considered by the senate as an aggravating circumstance because as a child psychologist I should have known and foreseen that I was inadequate for work in early child care and that, as a result, fact was that I had consciously misled and betrayed the parents of the children.
The prosecution attorney, quite obviously under the influence of what had been written in the press about my case rather than based upon the facts, was roaring in his accusation I had raped the holy family and that was deserving the ultimate punishment. He asked for the highest possible fine which was six years of prison with the possibility of parole as I had been a first-time offender, which meant in clear text I would have to effectively stay three years in jail.
My lawyer, in accordance with what we had discussed earlier on, argued that all that was submitted to the court in this trial was irrelevant, first of all because there was no evidence at all for admitting conscious tactile sexuality being the behavior in question in this trial, and second that I had completely lacked any conscious intent of doing something wrong or illegal when applying the measures of tactile stimulation that were in question in this affair.
She argued her point quite well in her long speech, but the court was completely unaffected by it. They did not answer her with one word, as if the judgment had been rendered in advance and her speech being a mere procedural formality to be endured.
Thus the senate followed without hesitation the prosecution attorney and in that very moment I became fully aware that my lawyer’s strategy was wrong from the start and that in that affair I should have defended myself rudely and intensely, and that I perhaps should have taken a credit at a bank to finance a good lawyer, instead of being defeated to that point in a trial that was not about me, but about a straw man who was carrying my name and for whom I was serving as the scapegoat.
It was then obvious to me that the senate just followed opinions, and not the law, that they followed the press which was the instance that had judged me, or certain parents who were furious about me because I had educated their children in a way that was not in agreement with their educational or moral convictions.
The most interesting in this trial had been the reaction of the parents. Elina faced the senate with blank rage and contempt. She uttered she had not thought Italy had turned out to be a fascist state where people were jailed for mere convictions or because they had stepped on the toe of certain high people in the government. Upon which the prosecution attorney really shouted the parents they had absolutely nothing to say in this trial, just had the last word which was a formality, because in cases of this kind the ‘prosecution principle’ was applied, not the ‘accusation principle,’ and that all the criminal prosecution thus was one effected sua sponte as a matter of governmental responsibility. Elina rudely countered this answer from the side of the state was only confirming what she just had said.
Giulio’s father, who was most probably, and in the opinion of all people I consulted about it, the instigating agent behind this whole affair, had not come to court. He had sent his wife. Upon the senate’s question what she had to say about all this, she fell in tears and said this was simply too much for Giulio, that before the opening of this sordid affair the boy had been happy, pleasant, healthy and well-adjusted, and now he was timid, anxious and retired, and that he was now much afraid of everything.
And the worst was that Angela’s mother and Giulio’s father now hated each other to a point that the children had no more chance to play with each other, which had had a very negative effect upon Giulio.
In the following months I was going to learn how important the little critter is in life, and to what extent one’s personal fate may be entangled with transpersonal events, and with the world of the spirits. This shall be the focal point of my story.
What I think today about this affair and also pretty much about the whole of my former life is quite different as at the time when I was arrested.
That may be one of the reasons why the report looks more friendly or peacefully as the events really have been, for it was all very traumatic to go through and it has left traces in my unconscious that are till today not healed.
However, what I would like to note here is that our perception of reality is subjective in the sense that we actually distort reality under the influence of our emotions, which in turn are triggered by certain events in the outside world, and this so much the more when those events are of a sudden and traumatic nature. Then, when we look at the story again, after years, in hindsight, all may appear in a quite different light. Thus, a certain distortion can also be created through too much detachment, actually, through too much affective distance to events.
This being said, I prefer to have in my life a too much of pacifism over too much of revolt and combative righteousness.
That was always my intrinsic nature. However, in our aggressive-competitive culture and value system, pacifism is often equated with fatalism, or the two terms are even held for synonymous. But I believe this is a wrong way of looking at things. Peace, inner and outer, in one’s own house or on the global level, is never the fruit of laziness or passivity, but actually a very active process as it requires constant watchfulness, something that has been called right action and that Lao-tzu called non-action.
I know that in this trial I had not been combative, for the least from a certain moment on the timeline of events. But it was exactly my being beyond a mere fighting-back attitude that I could find a totally new way; to be true, this attitude activated a force in me that is not me, but that acts through me.
It was on a thirty of January, as I remember, that it all started. It was in the morning at six thirty that two men with red ties arrived and took me to the office. They said they had to talk to me. After waiting hours in a cold cell, at eleven I was eventually called by the judge. In the over-heated office a young smelly woman with acne in her face was sitting at a simple desk and presented herself as the inquiry judge. She gazed at me with unveiled hatred and asked for my personal data.
Upon my question why I was arrested, she replied that I was to be informed later on. Now I should first give her information how I was earning my life? I said that I was working now from a scholarship because of my doctoral studies, but that my girlfriend was earning a good salary and that my lifestyle was modest.
— So …, you have a girlfriend here?
— Yes …, why?
— Oh, we did not know that.
She seemed to search something in the papers on her desk and then gazed again at me and asked me in which way I had been working with children?
I replied that some time ago I worked with children in families and schools for a limited period, as I later had to concentrate on my doctorate. She asked if I had the necessary qualification for this work and I answered that I owned a diploma in Child Psychology and in addition had graduated in Early Child Care at a Genova tech school.
Again she looked in her papers, somewhat surprised and murmured:
— This, also … was not known to us …
Then she suddenly looked straight in my eyes and asked aggressively:
— Which educational paradigm do you follow?
I asked back what she meant by educational paradigm?
— Montessori, Steiner, or something like that …, she added.
— I am familiar with these educational concepts, I replied calmly, but I do not follow any of these systems. Systems are rigid and stiff, while children move and change rapidly. Education cannot be molded into systems!
This had been my simple and short answer and I had been myself surprised how I was able to put in words what since years I had felt only intuitively.
— Sure, pedophilia is in your opinion the best educational approach! she boasted.
I added that I was not of that opinion whereupon her eyes virtually shot me down. Once of a sudden, and sweaty of fury, she threw her head back and yelled:
— This man is not credible. Imprison him!
The car stopped in a court yard, in front of a huge stairs that led to the main entry of the castle. Looking at that stairs, I suddenly remembered that I had seen it in a dream some time before, but had forgotten the dream. And like in the dream, I did not go up that huge stairs, but rather a small stairs down and through a door, in between the two officers. I repeatedly asked for calling a lawyer but it was denied to me.
The cell was old, humid and badly heated. It was like a bunker. All was old and terribly ugly, yet clean. I was freezing and went to bed as soon as the guard closed the cell. I tried to use auto-suggestion to warm my body, especially my icy feet. In order to pass the time, I began to rime. As I had not yet any writing utensils, I formulated poems in my mind and memorized them. In utter despair I remembered the beautiful time with the children.
I had no idea what I was in for, and I was getting to know it only months later and after I had done a complete confession. When I finally heard what had been the reason the police had been alarmed, I could hardly believe it. Fact is that I had stopped working in all of the families because of my new doctoral studies that I had to finalize and that I wrote, after all, in Italian, a language I well mastered in daily conversation but that I had not yet mastered writing in on an academic level.
The cause for my arrest was eventually communicated to me by a female police officer from the sex squad who had been invited by the inquiry judge, on a previous question if I wanted to meet her? I had nothing against it, and was very surprised to get from that woman a lot of smiles and compliments for my work with the children. And she said I did not have the profile of a pedophile as I was sanely emotional, while pedophiles usually suffered from a rather locked emotional condition together with a high level of narcissism. She said that contrary to the police officers who had been investigating in my case, and who had pretty much no idea of sex offenders, she had been studying those matters at the police academy and was doing an additional degree in psychology at the university.
Indications for a fixated pedophile condition were in her view absent in my case, that she simply took for a gigantic misunderstanding. She said I probably had made a big mistake in not communicating my special educational approach prior to beginning the work in those families.
Whereupon I said I had done it at least in one case, where I had given the mother of that little girl a short text I had written about my alternative educational approach. She said she knew about it, and had extensively talked with that mother and that she persisted in her view that I was not a criminal and that she had sent away the police two times in a row in the firm conviction the whole matter was a misunderstanding.
And that the police had been coming to her a third time to tell her what I had been in for. When I asked her to tell me about that matter as neither police nor judge had told me so far, she laughed and said it was almost ridiculous, that Giulio, the little boy, who had been together with me in the house of Angela and who was, then, four and a half years old, had told to his little friend he was missing me very much, that I had played so nicely with his penis when I had been taking care of him and Angela and that he had liked that more than all the games the new babysitter wife was now playing with him.
That conversation had been overheard by that new babysitter, who was a woman from the neighborhood, that woman had called the mother of the boy, and the mother the police. That had been all, really all, and that besides the police had nothing to reproach to me except what I unfortunately had confessed, as without my confession, she concluded, I would be out of jail for a long time already.
Well, the confession was equally of a kind that in most countries would not have been substantial enough for a criminal pursuit, as there was no evidence and the forensic experts had testified in unison that the children were in perfect physical and psychic health and that no signs of injury or sexual penetration could have been found.
I had been saying that, in accordance with my educational project of which I had given a copy to the police officers, I had taken regular baths with the children, had fondled and massaged them with body lotion after the bath, had kissed them all over their body to affirm their body-acceptance, not leaving out their genitals, and had at times done a nap with the boy while we both been naked, during which occasion I had sometimes masturbated against his naked skin.
In addition, I had taken nude photos of them that had been found in my flat. That had been all. But it was enough for the press to write I had raped babies and toddlers and that I was an organized pedophile.
And for the reason of those sordid press publications that appeared in a local newspaper, I had been beaten up violently by a Yugoslav prisoner a few days after my delivery in that old shabby town prison. With blue and red eggs and a penis wounded from the kicks I had received in my genitals from that man, during the morning walk, I was taken to the sanitary section of the jail where nobody wanted to give me first aid, where I was receiving regards full of hate from all the female nurses, and where no doctor wanted to take care of me, until one male nurse told me in a shabby manner all that was going to heal by itself and that I should be guided back to my cell.
I was spending the day with pain in my genitals and belly and at the end of the afternoon the cell door suddenly opened and my stuff was hurriedly packed, while I was told I was going to be transferred to another prison, where I spend the months to come, actually almost a year, until the judgment was eventually rendered.
That prison was not bad, it had been a former drug rehab center, called C.R.D.D., which stands for Centro de Riabilitazione de Dipendenza della Droga. As prison space had been lacking for those waiting for their judgments, these premises were used for the purpose.
And it was not to our disadvantage, as it was a modern building with perfect sanitary conditions, single cells with good furniture and large windows. There I stayed almost a year, until my judgment.
The day after the fatal verdict I was again attacked, and again by Albanians, who had wanted to kill me, but I was warned, in my early morning divination, by the Tarot and I had not left my cell for the morning walk, whereupon they tried to break the walls of my cell.
As that prison had been a former drug rehabilitation center, the walls between the cells were from mere gypsum, not concrete, and those guys used tables and chairs to break the wall. It was a dramatic moment.
The director who had hated me from the first day, as the guards said, but who had nonetheless given me a nice library job, called me via inter-phone to tell me he did not like me but had to save me, as he could not tolerate lynch justice in his jail, thus I was going to be transferred to the regional prison the next day, and for the moment he was going to put me in a cell downstairs on the basement, where I was going to be safe.
The cell was quite cold, though, but I had to keep up with the discomfort for half a day and a night as it was an urgency matter. I agreed and in a matter of minutes I was taken down, and the guys of that gang were told I had been transferred so that they stopped breaking the wall and calmed down. To follow was an interesting conversation in that chilly cell, with that jail director, who despite his aversion against me, had come to see me.
The first thing he said after telling me I was going to be transferred the next morning to the regional prison, was:
— I give you exactly one week to live in that jail. We had cases like you. They usually end on the cemetery.
I choked down the fear that came up in that moment.
He explained he wanted to warn me, and recommended me to draft a formal application for isolation detention on a special division for terrorists, police killers, highly dangerous criminals and people like myself. I went to take the form and I filled it out right there and then, and signed it.
Suddenly he asked:
— Tell me one thing, man, you don’t need to answer if you don’t want to, but you know I have read the morning papers today and what is written there is simply terrible. And honestly, when I look in your face I cannot believe all that. Is it really true that you have raped babies?
I told him what my matter was really about and his face became pensive, yet in a sudden flow of emotion he bursted:
— Yeah … but man, wait a moment, you must have a hangup despite all as a normal educator would not masturbate in such a situation, agreed to take baths with them, but I wouldn’t personally agree already with the fact that you licked them after the bath …
I gently corrected him, saying that I had not licked the children after the bath and had not done any oral sex, but that I had kissed them, and that I believed there was well a difference between oral sex, and licking, on one hand, and kissing on the other …
Whereupon he nodded, leaving my cell without a word.
Early the next morning, the short journey in the back of the police car, to the huge regional jail was an interesting matter as well, for despite the thick glass that separated me from the two young police officers who were sitting in front of the car, I was able to overhear their conversation. It was the younger co-pilot who started talking, saying:
— Well, hm … this is a hairy case after all, don’t you think so? This guy has done nothing in fact, what he did was little caresses on small children, things that normally parents do, while he of course was only their babysitter or house teacher.
— Agreed, said the other, but as a general advice, let me tell you it’s not your job to inquire about the right and wrong of what all those guys we are driving around have done or not done. It’s perhaps a political matter altogether …
— If you ask me, this guy has stepped on the feet of somebody highly placed, otherwise I can’t explain this case, and you know I have asked around a little and heard what’s written in the papers is a gigantic humbug …
— Again, let’s stop questioning, as I tell you; I am older than you and have more experience in our job; you know, it can be dangerous if you continue asking such kind of questions, it’s not your job to ask these questions, but the job of the prosecution and the judges …
— Of course, and frankly, I don’t wanna be in his skin for the judgment, as I know that our judges here are very conservative …
When I arrived on the division with those blue metal cell doors, that was air-conditioned, I saw a guard searching for something in a garbage container. Eventually, with an angry face, he was pulling out a huge hat, and said:
— Who the hell has thrown away that old hat!?
Upon which he noticed me in the reception area, came toward me, smiling, not at all unfriendly, and said:
— Oh yes, I know who you are. We have a special place for you, you see here, we give you the cell in between these two guys, to your left you have Rudo, a Spaniard, and on the other side a guy with the name of Mauro.
Both have done similar things as you, and perhaps you can spend a good time with them, becoming friends. Anyway, the division chief said you are going to work with them in the workshop, and they can show you how to do the work as they are in for much longer, they were in before you and they will still be in when you are gone, and a long time after you are gone …
I was placed virtually in one row with child rapists and killers, which I believe is something that gives metaphorically a signal what the mass mind thinks about people like myself, and that it is unable to distinguish between admittedly erotic forms of loving children, and violent forms of not loving children.
A guard in C.R.D.D., that former drug rehabilitation center, who had been very friendly, had told me details about these two spectacular cases that long went through the press. He had explained that these cases had brought up the public opinion in the country at that time to an extent that my own case was drawn in a negative spiral like a whirlpool. The press had described me in their spooky tales as a wolf in sheep’s fur and in one of the articles a drawing was published that was taken from a new edition of Little Briar Rose.
Compared to the stories invented about me, what was written about Rudo was relatively mild and articles tended to stay with the facts. Spanish illiterate construction worker raped and strangled little girl in elevator. Nothing was added, nothing was left out. The story, for reasons unknown to me, was not tasty enough to lubricate the lascivious fantasy of the journalist.
Mauro’s story was detailed without lies. He was a citizen of the country, not a foreigner and got all kind of backup and protection. He had money to pay a lawyer. A dozen youngsters brutally sodomized, tortured and killed in an unheard-of bloody fury that left the bodies of the poor lads torn in pieces and partly burnt.
The story was published in many newspapers, and seemingly, that was the authentic version. I have not seen what he did, so I don’t know for sure. But when ten newspapers write the same thing, there is some likelihood that it was so. In my case only one newspaper reported as my case was not as interesting as Mauro’s for the perverse morality of homo normalis. It was not spicy enough. So it was presented in a totally distorted manner, and a whole story was made up around it. A sordid story.
Mauro was relatively privileged and his murders were described as a deliciously violent form of child pornography. That’s after all how journalists worldwide today make public opinion. He was privileged because considered as a psychopath. As a result, he could be tranquil. He had no guilt. He was proud and demanding. He insisted upon civil rights. He was upright.
And I got the beatings. For a few kisses and strokes, for nude photos, baths taken together with children and a lot of body care. If that is human justice. I shit on it.
Countless psychiatric experts had examined Mauro and fought each other if, or not, he was responsible for his deeds.
An astrologer published a book on his case in which he tried to show that during all of his gruesome acts, Mauro’s planetary transits had shown square aspects between Sun, Moon, Mars and Saturn, a constellation so dangerous and so oppressive that Mauro could hardly have acted differently.
Mauro had one of the best lawyers of the region and appeared to all as a proud and upright guy, expecting from everybody to recognize his importance and his right for a just and careful trial. Needless to add that the fact that he was a citizen of the country and not, as the majority of the detainees, a foreigner, made a huge difference for him, and for all people involved!
I had no lawyer at all, and no money to pay one. The state lawyer I was assigned told me openly she had defended a family in a civil suit against a pedophile. And she had won that law suit.
I had to go for the morning walk with Rudo and Mauro and was going to work with them in a workshop. The division guard called me to his office, twinkled with his eye and jovially remarked that I probably had abundant topics to discuss with the two others. And in this point he proved to be totally wrong because a normal conversation was impossible with these guys: they were emotionally blocked and totally secretive about their trials. I even gained the impression that they either took me for a naive illuminated extremist, or a spy. None of them was ever telling details about their acts and contrary to most prisoners, they were not at all curious to learn the truth of my case.
I had the feeling that they were not humans, but walking spirits, cold, totally rational and emotionally dead. In their presence I felt uneasy and restless, anxious and insecure.
They treated me with a smiling haughtiness that I have not seen with any other inmate I met during the three years of my prison term. Both were excellent chess players and played every day chess for hours, putting me Mat with a jovial grin after not more than five minutes.
I had nothing against them. I believe that in every war or civil war soldiers and paramilitary forces do worse than they had done. And yet intuitively I felt that they did not take me for an adult but for a somewhat spoiled child that was playing prison time just for experiencing another fancy in an altogether fanciful life.
Observing them and daily being around them for eight hours, I found they were suffering from a strong sadistic fixation and that they were unable to let go and simply feel the pleasure of living. They were meticulous in all they did and in our work much faster, much more precise and much more effective than I was. Our work consisted in assembling electric switches, a highly manual and repetitive routine task that required good manual skills and high concentration. Rudo was brilliant in it. He put up the prison record in work and had a considerable amount of money on his prison bank account. A few months later, he ordered an expensive stereo from an electronics shop in town and let it deliver to his cell.
I was informed that Rudo was on very good terms with the director, because he worked so well. When I asked what the director thought about myself, I heard that he hated me as he never had hated any other prisoner.
While Rudo and Mauro were still very young with hardly over twenty, inside they were very old. Their inner parent was hypertrophied and their inner child in a cataleptic condition. They choked all their emotions. Mauro expressed that in body language by holding the cigarette with the glowing end toward the palm of his hand.
When considering the cigarette as a penis symbol, this gesture by itself shows an utmost degree of sadism and points symbolically to the sad and tragic reality of his sexuality. Further, the way Mauro talked was a dictionary. He spit out mutilated phrases as if he vomited language.
An eruption and then nothing for a few minutes, then another linguistic diarrhea, and then a long silence. His way to walk was totally lifeless, compulsive, unconscious, as if he was throwing his huge baby-body from one foot to the other. His head was immense, and he was already bold. His tiny blue eyes glittered like supernovas in a front that was a huge wall of silence.
When I gave myself repeatedly a suggestion to learn the truth of his life, I got a dream in which I saw a farm on which Mauro and his father were working. Mauro who was an adolescent in the dream, had committed some minor mistake and his father set out to punish him for it. He told the boy to lower his trousers what Mauro did without delay.
Upon which the father, with incredible brutality, rammed a hay fork in the ass of the boy …
The terrible anxiety that Rudo and Mauro were suffering from began to grip on me. I felt like an icy shower every time when I was going to be with them. After a day passed with them, I was shivering of cold when, at the end of the afternoon, I was entering my cell after work.
Rudo told me about his youth under the Franco regime in Spain, and about the cruel punishments he was subjected to in school. A teacher had almost torn out one of his ears, and he had to be hospitalized and the ear sewed to his head again by a gentle and skilled doctor.
I had to spent most of my free time with Rudo who had received a generous request from the side of the director to teach me how to work efficiently. And this task, Rudo really carried out meticulously, as he had learnt already at fourteen to work hard and earn his life, and I became his little sheep-student who knew nothing about manual work.
First Rudo taught me how to assemble electric switches as fast and effectively as possible, then he showed me how to clean the division and the dark chambers, even when they were covered with feces and vomit from bottom to the ceiling.
Then he initiated me into cleaning toilets. Eventually I was surprised to receive still another job because it had not been offered to Rudo. It was the food distribution on the division. And this work I liked very much. And while I was thus open much more time than the terrorists and police killers on the division, my anxiety worsened. When I told Rudo about it, he only laughed:
— What the hell do you have to fear?
— It’s not fear, it is a form of general angst. It’s not rational, and besides, completely involuntary. I have no fear of anything particular. It is a general anxiety that comes about without conscious control and that steadily grows until a peak level, and then diminishes again.
— You are going to become schizophrenic here, he then joked.
— And you, Rudo, how long are you here already, if I may ask?
— Five years.
— What? God, and you have not turned crazy?
— No. Why should I? I have a good life here. I have my work, I have plenty to eat and can play chess as long as I want. What do I need more, besides freedom?
— Is it for this reason that the prison direction likes you so much? Because you always smile and work so hard?
— Of course. See, most prisoners are stink-lazy, soil their cells like pigs and do just all to get everyone against them. And then, on top of all this, they ask the government to feed them, understand them and care for them. They are parasites, if you ask me. I do not ask anybody for help or support. I work with my hands. After my liberation I shall pay the cost for this affair, penny for penny, from my savings. This is how it should!
When Rudo was talking, one simply listened.
A certain authority was around that youngster who had just turned twenty. In all he was two hundred percent, and in his opinions as well. Impossible to contradict him. He was like a wall when it was about defending his point of view. His worldview was fascist, all about law and order, cleanliness and good morality. He never even went for the one-hour walk on the roof, in the morning, saying he did not need that. I could not believe one can have such a good physical condition to stay immobile for years, without even one daily walk?
But Rudo definitely was a very healthy and strong man, and very youthful, actually looking much like a strongly built adolescent.
He never spoke of feelings, of art, literature, or lifestyle. Opinions and theories were dangerous imponderabilities for him, aesthetics considered something like ‘intellectual pornography,’ and love for him was an insult. He was a total and ruthless realist, hard through and through and not to shake in his concrete base setup: he was a total stoic. Or totally stubborn, depending on one’s way to see him.
The anxiety became more and more unbearable.
While I tried to choke the terrible shame-and-guilt feelings that the trial had triggered, the general anxiety began to take paranoid forms, and this despite my constant work with positive thought. I began to be self-destructive.
Once I had accepted my condition, I simply wanted to be useful. I said to myself that it must have had a reason why destiny placed me in such an awkward place and condition.
And thus I tried to make the best out of it.
On the division there was a young Arab from Tunisia who had killed a man, and he was in a terrible state of mind, bordering schizophrenia. He slept the whole day and waked at night and was called more often to the prison psychiatrist than I. The division chief allowed me to speak with him through the peephole in his cell door but he strictly defended me to get into his cell for conversing with him. His name was Mono.
— The youngster is highly dangerous! I can’t take the responsibility. The guy is unpredictable, the chief said upon my request to give Mono more headroom for communication.
And yet, with patience and persistence, and the help of the prison psychiatrist, who was assigned to be my therapist, I succeeded to change Mono’s detention plan.
Dr. Edward Salinger, the psychiatrist, had expressly supported and backed my work with Mono and communicated his opinion to the division chief. In addition, we all were benefited by the fact that the prison director changed at that time. A young and dynamic director was then going to rule the institution, and this new chief was more positive regarding myself than the former one. But only much later was I going to learn from Dr. Salinger and the social service that I had really gained merits for my support work for other inmates.
With Dr. Salinger’s intervention, I was eventually able to visit Mono in his cell when I had finished my daily work on the division, and Mono told me his story. He was tortured by his father during his entire childhood and youth. For even minor mistakes his father had tied him naked at two solid branches of a tree and whipped him with such a ferocious violence that his blood was soaked by the earth underneath.
This young man moved my heart. He confessed he was decided to suicide himself but because of my incessant interventions he came to abandon the idea. Then he recounted in detail how the terrible paranoia had more and more sucked off his vital energy and drove him into confusion, despair and self-destruction. Dr. Salinger thanked me later for my work with Mono and said he was not able to do much for him because the young man had unfortunately not trusted him and his good intentions.
And there was another young man I tried to give support. He was transferred to our prison and everybody said it was a mistake of the authorities and that the guy belonged to a psychiatric hospital.
The guards were upset when he arrived and said that they could in no way give appropriate care for that prisoner. He had killed a guy but nobody knew why. He was small, about nineteen years old, fat, round and heavy, baby-like and constantly smiling. He had a funny way to walk, falling from one foot on the other, which resulted in his walk to appear insecure, shaky and slow, and he always looked down on his feet. My first impression of him was that he was unable to face the world or to look into the world. With his high-pitched voice he came over as a child. His name was Pablo and I called him jokingly Pablito Picasso or Little Picasso.
All the guards seemed to be relieved that I began to take care of him, as they evidently did not have clues how to deal with that guy.
— But this lad is a child! He does not belong here. What a sordid error! the division chief exclaimed.
Dr. Salinger explained the detention plan for Pablo was inadequate as Pablo needed daily psychiatric care. He thanked me for the time I took to comfort Pablo’s detention a little, confessing he felt to be in the dark in that case because he had received as good as no information about Pablo’s condition. And because of lacking time he was not in state to grant Pablo adequate psychiatric care.
In the meantime, it had become daily custom that Pablo came to visit me in my cell whenever he wanted to. The ritual was always the same. Pablo ducked along to my cell, wheeled toward me and plunged onto the bed. Then he smiled and I gave him what was left over of fruits, yoghurt, chocolate or biscuits. His desire to leave was as spontaneous as his wish to come. He simply got up. Then I knew he wanted to go and rang the bell for a guard, and Pablo waited patiently until the cell was opened, and ducked out without a greeting.
Pablo was accepted as he was, without detention plan, security devices and prejudice. Nobody on the division ridiculed him and the guards even developed a certain tenderness when facing him. He was treated very well and even the chief began to smile at Pablo, when he met him on the division:
— Well, well, Pablo has taken his habits here, he used to comment. But he can’t stay for long. This is a prison and not a kindergarten …
Nobody predicted what was going to happen. I was distributing lunch on the division and when the guard opened Pablo’s cell, Pablo jumped out with a kitchen knife in his hand, and right toward me …
The guard was faster than fat little Pablo and the latter was immobilized in a second, but we all stood there in silence for a moment, deeply shocked and simply unable to believe what had been going on in front of our eyes.
Pablo had wanted to kill me. Was that possible?
The news spread like a fire in the whole prison. Something like that was a novelty, unheard-of and perhaps for some guys a reason to hold their bellies of laughter about me. However, neither any of the guards nor my psychiatrist, nor the director laughed about the incident.
Pablo had achieved what perhaps he had wanted to with his attempt: he was immediately transferred into a psychiatric hospital.
Dr. Salinger was deeply moved when he called me the same day, and he had an explanation:
— I think Pablo was overwhelmed by your goodness. The guilt-and-shame pattern and the constant fear he is suffering from must have put him in front of a miracle regarding you and your unwavering kindness. Pablo must have lacked a rational explanation for so much devotion; the result was, I guess, that he believed you had after-thoughts regarding him, and perhaps wanted to prevent a later disappointment with you; we cannot exclude that he has lived through similar experiences before and that they turned out bad for him, and this time he wanted to be quicker than destiny …
Dr. Salinger’s explanation made sense to me. The incident helped me gain clarity about the bioenergetic nature of psychosis, an insight so important that it later served me with drafting my healing approach for temporary psychosis as the primary etiology of highly violent child murder.
The result of my observations was that psychosis is not a mental illness, but a blockage of the bioenergetic or emotional flow that is the result of the guilt-and-shame pattern and the overwhelming angst that is part of it. This angst, this general and for the most part irrational fear simply is the result of pent-up vital energy that is blocked in the emotional body, which is part of the luminous body, and that, because of lacking discharge changes its polarity from positive to negative.
This is the functional explanation of how the murderous impulse comes about in the organism, how it is built up energetically and how we can explain it. The impulse is not just a thought-form that comes from a will to kill, as it is wrongly believed.
However, this is probably not so in non-passionate, cold and premeditated murder that has a purely rational reason, like ‘I want your money and as you are not going to give it to me, I kill you and take it.’ Murder committed in a state of psychosis is what makes in my opinion the bulk of murder cases, not premeditated murder, which occurs in a rare exception of cases.
This has absolutely nothing to do with good-and-bad categories and is generally not a matter of morality. It’s a bioenergetic law. Most murders are committed in a state of temporary psychosis, which however in many cases is not diagnosed as such and thus not considered in the criminal trial. While most people and many psychiatrists still believe that psychosis was something definite and irreversible, my research has shown that psychosis is rather a dynamic, moving, flowing, increasing and decreasing kind of etiology, and in no way something fixated.
Now, in this situation, I actually got ample opportunity to study the personality of three highly violent inmates and their murder cases. In fact, to some extent I was able to help them change their pattern through our fruitful and amicable exchanges.
It was almost magic when one day somebody knocked at my cell door and began to talk to me through the peephole. It was Raiko, the short bear-strong muscle package that had beaten me up in the town prison. This guy had made not only my life so difficult in the first stage of my detention, but as I had heard in the meantime, also the lives of dozens of other detainees and an equal number of guards that he had beaten to a point to be ripe for hospital.
In my case, as the inquiry judge had revealed it to me, he had sworn eternal revenge for what he believed was a child rapist. He simply had taken for granted all and everything what had been written about me in the morning paper.
In the meantime, he had got tidbits of information about me through rumors in the huge prison, and from some not-at-all-stupid prisoners who belong to the internal prison mafia. In fact, most people won’t believe it, but the most intelligent men that I have met in life, I have met in prison. And he had been in touch, as I heard later on, with some of those elite guys, who were robbers for the most part, and who had done their research on my case.
This was how his set opinions about me and my case were shaken. And that day, he stood in front of my cell door, staring through the peephole, and urged me for help.
— Only you can help me, Bernardo! I am in a dreadful situation. I know you will hate me for what I did to you, but I have nobody else left, as all turned away from me. I am very sorry for what I did. I have hated you for what they told me about you, and I did not know if it’s true or not. I just saw only red. Now they have thrown me in the dark cell because I have beaten up the guards several times, and I think they have the ass full of me and will let me roast in the dark for months. You are the only one who can help me because the chief said that if you agree, and I apologize to you, I can go for the walk with you, with you alone, every morning. Otherwise, I will be closed up without daily walk. And I promise you I will never ever again aggress you, and perhaps even, if you want, you can tell me your true story and I will tell you my true story. Some people told me that I was a fool and that most in your case was based on blunt lies, and that you are in fact a revolutionary educator or so, and that some people found you politically disturbing! I was stupid enough to believe all this rotten stuff they smeared in the news about your case. Can you pardon me?
I did not hesitate. Something very clear and quiet in me told me that this man, while he had been highly violent, was trustworthy, a man of word, so to say.
I thus declared toward the division chief that I formally agreed, whereupon Raiko’s detention plan was changed. We were called in the early morning, when the others were still sleeping, for our rounds on the roof, a wired cage. And as it was bitterly cold, we shared not only our new friendship but also the freeze.
Yet the cold was only outside while inside we gave up our mutual suspicion and quickly built trust. We had to tell each other a lot. He spoke about his childhood that was a series of horror stories. Since his most tender years he was physically abused and humiliated in the most terrible ways, and cruelty was the daily bred he got to eat during his whole childhood and youth. He said I was the first and only human being he had ever shared his story with and that it had been very oppressive to carry that burden of untold truth on his back for years and years.
He was raised in a highly patriarchal environment in which it was not allowed for boys to cry or show emotions. One day he said he wanted to share a secret with me, and began:
— You know, to be honest, I cannot be angry with you for what you did with the children because I did worse. It was when I was still very young. One day my cousin, a ten-year old girl, came to live with us because her parents had problems and went on a long travel. My mother said my cousin had to sleep in my bed because we had so little space in our flat and nobody else accepted to share the bed with her. And while I have not been conscious at that time that I could be sexually attracted by a child, one night, when she was sleeping, I was overwhelmed of desire, stripped her naked and did it with her. In the morning I had strong guilt feelings and was dying of shame. I also had strong fear because I had done something that in my culture merits the death penalty. Today I think it might be that this event, as I never could speak about it and free myself from the shame, might be the reason that I’m so violent. I wanted to prove to myself that I’m a strong guy, while I of course knew that in that fatal moment, I was a very weak guy …
I replied that he had been only human, and not weak, in that moment, and he seemed very surprised. I pursued that most men would have acted exactly as he had done in that moment, and under the same circumstances, simply because the opportunity was given to enjoy something forbidden.
And that not many people can resist such a unique opportunity for illicit enjoyment. And that this had nothing to do with being a male or a female. And that we should not forget that, after all, his own mother had placed the girl in his bed …
Raiko was so happy to have been freed of the oppressive secret that he smiled for the first time and wished me to meet, after my liberation, a boy or girl I cherished and with whom I could enjoy complete love.
Soon the guards began to tell me that something had changed with Raiko and that the violent Yugoslav simply was no more the same as before, and that he even began to smile at the guards when opening him for the walk, as such behavior had been unthinkable before. And thus Raiko did not stay long on the political prisoners division and was carried over to the normal detention plan after a few weeks.
The next miracle happened with a quite famous terrorist who had put fire on our division. The young Shiite with the name of Mohammad was known to me since before my arrest. When I was working at the airport, during the semester holidays, one morning I could not access the building as the airport was hermetically closed and surrounded by dozens of police cars. The Lebanese terrorist had forced an airliner to land, whereupon he shot down a passenger before he was caught and arrested by an elite squad that stormed the plane after the murder. Mohammad, shortly upon arriving on the political prisoners division, burnt his cell and the smoke became toxic within minutes because of the air-condition system.
The whole division had to be evacuated and two inmates almost died in hospital because of the toxic smoke in their lungs. Most however, like myself, came out with some strong cough for a few days at most.
Mohammad was punished with the dark chamber and I don’t know how long he would have stayed there if I had not intervened for him. We were all of course very angry at him, but I felt that only open communication could bring about a change.
Thus I went to the door of the dark chamber and told Mohammad I was ready to forget about his dreadful act if he formally apologized to me and to all the other political prisoners for what he had done.
He did not reply for a long moment.
Then he answered rather softly, and in the frail voice of a young intellectual that he felt ashamed to have caused life danger to all of us and that this had not been his intention. He had been unable to foresee how his suicide attempt could affect all of us, as he had ignored that the division was hermetically closed and air-conditioned.
He then explained that his intention had been, according to an old Lebanese tradition, to end his life through burning his body. Accordingly, he had put fire to his mattress but ‘that damned mattress’ had not wanted to burn but only ended up to produce dreadfully stinking and obviously toxic smoke.
And when he promised me to do that never again and agreed to go for the morning walk with me, I went to the chief, who was very surprised.
— What are you telling me, you want to help this guy? Are you out of your senses, man? This is the most dangerous monster in the prison history of this country! And besides that, I have no competence to take such a decision. The only thing I can do is submit your intervention to the director. But I tell you, he will never agree …
The chief was wrong and the miracle happened: the director agreed! And thus I went to the roof with Mohammad, in the early morning, during the months to come. And the guy was freezing because he had not even a warm jacket and absolutely no funds to buy one, thus I gave him one of mine.
And not unlike my story with Raiko, I quickly became friends with Mohammad, and soon upon the request not only of myself but also of the priest, he could leave the dark chamber and was put in a normal cell.
Mohammad told me in all detail how, just fourteen years old, he was recruited for the war against Israel, and that he had been a frail malnourished boy during his whole childhood, and could hardly hold the heavy Kalashnikov in his hands. And it had not been a wonder that because of his lack of experience and training, he had been caught soon by Israeli soldiers and was detained in a concentration camp where he was cruelly tortured and humiliated.
And there, in those moments of near-death and utmost suffering, he had sworn eternal revenge to Israel and its main supporters, the United States and Western Europe. A terrible hatred had burnt in him and it had well been that hatred that helped him to survive the dreadful torture without losing his mind, and that gave him the energy to endure it all until he could flee.
When he talked about his childhood, it became clear that in his life the guilt-and-shame pattern was very strongly present and that he went through terrible anxiety, insecurity and extreme poverty. He was so nervous that he was unable to hold his hand still. He was so thin and frail that his body was constantly shivering. He said he just did not want to eat and after so much fasting and so many hunger strikes for the good cause of Muslim religion, he was at the border of a nervous breakdown.
His case was one of the most spectacular criminal cases in the country’s history, as it had been one of the first cases of Islamic terrorism in the world. As a result, he was one of the most hated men in the country which condition of course did not help him to accept his murder and get beyond it.
Our talks seemed to have a calming effect upon his psychic condition, and a little later also affected positively his soma. One morning he told me calmly he was eating more now and had even gained some weight. After some time, he began to smile at me in the morning, when we were slowly walking up the stairs to the roof.
The guards could not believe it. They said they had never seen him smile before and had thought that he was unable to move his face to anything else than a pale rigid mask.
But that was not all of the miracle.
He began to ask me many questions about Christian religion and the two prison ministers. He said when he looked at their faces, intuitively the Catholic one seemed to be more empathetic whereas he found the Protestant one rather cold and judgmental. I had to smile at his remark because I knew both of them well and what he had observed was exactly true. And from that moment I was convinced that Mohammad was a very sensitive and intelligent young man, who had a keen sense of observation.
I had indeed come to be befriended with the Catholic priest while I avoided the Protestant guy as much as I could.
I hated it when he was doing the prayers in the chapel on Sunday morning and not the priest because his patriarchal arrogance and self-righteousness was hard to bear. And this impression was shared by all my friends who joined the Sunday morning ceremony. This Protestant guy really believed he incorporated eternal wisdom and righteous behavior, and his celebration was not one of forgiveness but one of moral admonishment.
The priest however was a truly humble and truth-seeking man who had no set opinions and was open to learn, interested in many things. He was a non-conformist, but did not boast with it, but was simple-minded and affectionate. Everybody liked him. He came often to my cell to talk and get psychological advice in sensitive matters, or regarding his prison work, or even in private matters such as his celibate and the difficulty to live up to it.
And what was unusual was that he asked the guards to close him in with me, something that normally never occurred because during official visits, and for obvious security reasons, the cell doors remained half-open. He explained to me that what he was telling me out of his life was not destined for other ears, and I can thus not report it in this book because of confidentiality.
I was full of admiration for him because of his modesty and honesty, and his straightforwardness in all matters. He was the prototype of a priest, and hypocrisy was not known to him. He was a true servant of Jesus, but not in a fanatic sense, but in true simplicity, humanity and humaneness. He often said that the only true morality was to be simply human and that all other morality only destroyed the last little bit of good that was left in the human race, and in that point I totally agreed with him.
He gave me unconditional support, also vis-à-vis the authorities. Regarding my trial, he again and again affirmed that I had not yet done the step to accept myself unconditionally and that I was still too much caught in guilt and self-justification — and that this was certainly a pattern that has its roots in my childhood.
And that I had been too modest in my whole life and had to accept all I had done with the children because after all, it had been beautiful. And that I should begin to see the beauty in my physical exchanges with the children and the love we had thus shared on many levels. And that if I did not begin thinking that way, I was probably never to overcome the guilt-and-shame pattern that was originating in my humiliating childhood.
He was psychologically very well trained and constantly participated in seminars to broaden his mind and counseling perfection.
Yet I could feel that he was not as serene as my psychiatrist but that in his life there was dolor, a nagging pain and virulent emotions that he tried to control but was hardly able to. He was not one of those who thought they had acquired some form of wisdom; rather was he a searcher of truth, a questioner of things, and civil disobedience seemed to him a natural and necessary ingredient of personal integrity.
He tried to learn from everybody, and said he had met many prisoners who were more intelligent than himself and that he had learnt much from people that society labels as criminals and that he himself considered simply as people-in-trouble, and thus in a state of transformation, of growth!
He was a great human, somebody I truly respected and loved to receive in my cell, as I was so enriched by the exchanges with him. We had much to talk about, psychoanalysis, dream research, parapsychology, fast learning techniques that involve the right brain hemisphere, tactile stimulation of children, baby massage, birth without violence, ecology, and more…
He found my educational approach very positive and even necessary and thought it was good to share nakedness and body pleasure between people of different generations, and that children needed to learn handling their emotions which in traditional education they could not learn. He said one day:
— The tragedy of your case was that you shocked some of the parents because you did not inform them about details regarding your educational approach. I see only this problem in your case. In such a position, you need to be transparent and clearly state what you are going to do! And when the parents don’t agree, you go and find another family where your approach is appreciated. If you had done it that way, I’m sure you would never have been incriminated in the first place.
Thus, I could warm-heartedly recommend this priest to Mohammad if he wanted to receive a Christian minister instead of the Imam who came about once per month to see him. Mohammad replied:
— With the Imam it’s very formal. It’s praying together and it’s not common to discuss private things with such a person. He’s rather an authority figure, and it would not be considered manly to share private details or ask for personal advice. I could however imagine that with the priest I could talk about things that I cannot talk about with an Imam …
I said the priest was a great human and yet very modest. And when Mohammad heard that word, modest, he was still more interested to meet the priest. He declared:
— For me, personally, modesty is the highest value in a human being. Nobody can really impress me, however high he is placed and how much knowledge and wisdom ever he might have acquired. Because without modesty, a person will only end up in arrogance, blindness and selfishness.
I said that I shared his conviction and that my experience had shown me that this was true, and in fact I was convinced at that moment that Mohammad himself was basically a modest person, and that he had not committed his crime because of arrogance or because he needed a power thrust, but that he had been, in that very moment, in a state of temporary psychosis.
Mohammad more and more often affirmed he deeply regretted what he had done, not only the murder but also the many years of religious fanaticism he had been caught in and that this fanaticism, when he looked at it from his present perspective, was simply an outflow of his hatred, and could not really be justified with any religious belief, or any existing religion, as really all religions preached love, and not hatred.
And that Muslim religion was no different in this point, while it was interpreted by some fanatic religious leaders, such as Khomeini, in a way not in accordance with the Koran, and thus as a quest for war, aggression and rigid morality.
And one day Mohammad asked for receiving the Catholic priest in his cell, and after a few private conversations with him, some weeks later, this Shiite terrorist formally applied to adopt the Christian faith and declared he did not wish to see the Imam even once more in his life. And this information went around like a fire in the country and, while I don’t know how it ever penetrated outside, was to be read soon in the newspapers.
And when I asked Mohammad why he had changed his religion, and that he had not needed to so because he was respected and accepted as a Muslim in just the same way, he said that it had been because of that man. That the priest had made such an overwhelmingly positive impression upon him that he had felt he was like a lost father for him that he had found again.
I was strangely touched as this former Muslim had stated the quintessential idea of the gospel that describes the priest as a shepherd and in his caring role as a symbolic father figure.
And I did not even need to ask Mohammad if he had not acted for tactical reasons, so as to impress the authorities, because I knew him good enough to be sure that his inborn honesty and noblesse would not allow him to do something so shabby.
And soon Mohammad had gained a stable personality and was also physically in a much better condition, and he was changed to normal detention with a bonus for excellent behavior. And privately I tend to think that Mohammad did not stay lifelong, and thus twenty-five years in prison because he had left his inner prison and became a free man with noble convictions and a peaceful demeanor.
And shortly after he was transferred, another Mohammad arrived on the division, and when he heard about my positive work with Raiko and the Shiite, he asked the chief right away if he could go with me for the morning walk. He, too, was on total isolation plan and labeled as highly dangerous. He had murdered his family, wife and two little daughters in a terrible bath of blood and his case had been almost as spectacular as Mauro’s in the press.
The chief agreed and so we went up the roof in the early morning and I listened to his story and he heard mine.
I learnt that he was from an Iranian upper class family and his parents quite wealthy merchants, and that, according to an old tradition in Persia, he had to be educated in an exclusive European boarding school.
In this boarding in Belgium, where he passed almost all his childhood and youth, he was regularly asked for sex with the educators, Catholic priests. He reported that the handsome boys were encouraged to frequent the bedrooms of the priests and to sleep there. He explained that the physical aspect of the thing had not been a problem for him, but that the psychic dimension was the crux: he had died of guilt-and-shame because in his home culture what was broadly labeled as homosexuality was among the worst a boy or man could be accused of, and that it merited the death penalty in orthodox Islamic circles.
Later, when he married, he had tried to forget the oppressive memories and believed that he could simply switch over to a normal life with wife and children. And that, totally sudden and unexpected, he was once caught in terrible feelings of revenge and an unspeakable hatred after a simple and banal dispute with his wife. And despite the fact that he well had thought that disputes were normal in a marriage, he had been overwhelmed by an irresistible impulse to get rid of of her and his two daughters forever.
Mohammad was in private psychotherapeutic treatment; his psychiatrist seemed to assume the triple murder was a direct consequence of the homosexual experiences in the home.
Rather carefully and tactfully I tried to convince him that it was not the premature sexual experience as such that had triggered the murderous impulse, but the fact that he had repressed and defended that experience instead of accepting it as a simple fact of life.
Mohammad first was scandalized about my view of his case, and almost yelled at me that he was in no way against homosexuality but against the fact that priests abused their power over children they cared for and that what had revolted him was not to be fucked by men when he was still a boy, but to be fucked by men who were supposed to be pure and sexually abstinent by the very job they were doing. That had caused his uncontrollable feelings of hatred and revenge, and not the mere sexual interaction that he could well have got along with.
However right Mohammad was of course from a moral point of view, he was yet unable to look at life functionally and dynamically. In fact, he put each and every event in a corset of moralistic categories. A priest was for him a well-defined function holder of rules and obligations, and not a human being with wants and weaknesses. He and the other Mohammad had this in common with so many Muslims that they were unable to look at life from an energetic, functional and dynamic perspective instead of imposing upon the dance of life a static, rigid and morality-soaked overhead.
And contrary to the other Mohammad, he was less modest and less communicative. He thus simply concluded that my way to see his case was not acceptable to him.
This did of course not affect me because I had not asked him to share in my point of view, and had not expected any specific outcome of our discussions.
What I wanted to get at with him was simply to encourage him to think by himself about the facts of life instead of citing authorities or religion as the ultimate fake-rule of conduct. And observing his body language attentively, it was clear that this man suffered terribly, that he was something like the very incarnation of suffering, while the other Mohammad had traits of serenity in his face, not unlike Osama Ben Laden in his younger years.
My honest remark had thrown him in a dreadful confusion that made him shiver as in a feverish coma. Sweat was on his front once of a sudden and his eyes were dilated with anxiety.
After a pause, during which we turned our rounds in silence, looking at our breath in front of our almost frozen lips, he suddenly freaked up, and then calmed down at once, and said very calmly, so calmly that I was shaken by a sudden fear:
— Well, well, after all to hear this from the mouth of a convicted pedophile is not surprising …
That’s how he was. Defensive. But I did not let him roast for long in his confused nervous anxiety and insisted:
— Tell me the truth! What was really going on between adults and children in that monastery? How felt that sex? Was it really forced upon you or not? Did you really have no choice? And why, after all, did you not kick these guys in their eggs? And what, if you really had defended it with all your force, what would have been the consequence?
As my question was so direct, he could not continue with his vague allusions, but had to put real salt in his soup. Upon which it was very interesting to observe how, when he tried to put the story in more detailed terms, the content changed.
While the first version seemed to have been taken from a sensation magazine, spiced up by the typical child abuse vocabulary that today is so much in fashion, the second version was put in his own terms, reflecting his own thoughts and feelings.
While the first version of the story read the children had been forced into anal sex, the second version conceded that every priest had a certain range of preferred love boys and that most of the time, that attraction proved to be mutual. While the first story alleged that the priests had recruited the boys for sex, the second version conceded that basically the whole thing depended upon a bargain between priests and students.
While the first version boasted that any defense of a boy against a priest’s erotic advances had been absolutely impossible, the second version conceded that a boy who really resisted was free to go and sleep alone.
Whereas the first and so to say official version of the story started from the premise that all had been a one-sided affair where priests won and boys lost, the second and so to speak unofficial version conceded that priests who liked boys and were sexually gratified by them, showed their joy, satisfaction and gratitude openly and granted their preferred love boys many privileges, gifts and advantages.
All in all, while the home was something like a torture seminar in the official version, it was much more like an exclusive brothel for men and boys in the unofficial second version. Thus, eventually, Mohammad admitted that it was not the experience itself that had triggered his immense hatred, but the fact that he had been unable to reconcile it with his Muslim religion. Whereupon I asked him a last and probably revolting question:
— And you really believe that you can continue living in this world like that, judging all-that-is on a rigid scale of values, as if you were the Creator in person?
He became very pensive. And for long he spoke nothing and we silently turned our rounds in the icy cold. Eventually, when the sun was raising a little, he smiled and said I had asked a very good question and he wanted to take his time and think it all through.
The next morning he said my question had been so interesting because he felt his psychiatrist had thought exactly the same about him, but had been too coward to openly express it. And that he had hated him because of that cowardice, and that he could explain his sympathy for me only because I had so much courage. And that, what we talked on our daily walks resounded in his chest for hours every day, like a refrain, and that the last question I had asked had been the most important one.
And he seemed light and content that morning, for the first time. And one day he said:
— Now eventually I can understand what you meant regarding sex with children. It is very strange but now I can see it totally while before it seemed to me something like a perverted lifestyle. I could not accept it because I thought it was contradicting religion, while I now see that it does not forcibly contradict nature. And the difference in my thinking is that now I believe that religion has no right to change, dominate or distort nature and that, if it does, it’s an artificial concept and not rooted in life. Now I can also see that I could have prevented all that in the home from happening, if I had really wanted to. The problem was that I hated myself because once in a while I experienced a little pleasure in bed with some of the priests and that made it only worse because I began to qualify myself as morally weak. And moral weakness is really the worst for a believing Muslim! Now eventually I can comprehend that I should have given myself more freedom, instead of imprisoning myself in a rigid corset of moralistic rules. I see now that I could have mastered that challenge of my childhood much better and more easily with a more permissive and flexible mindset and that perhaps I could have profited even of those illicit love affairs in one way or the other.
The next morning Mohammad appeared with a smile on his face and said he could now understand why his psychiatrist had told him his superego had been too strong. I nodded and replied I had not wanted to use psychoanalytic jargon in analyzing his case and had rather tried to express the same truth with simple words.
Mohammad seemed to be more content than ever before and eventually began to talk about daily matters instead of rambling about his past or about religious or moral principles. And finally he uttered hope that after a successful psychotherapy his lifelong sentence might be abridged.
And from all my heart I wished him exactly that!
But I still had to master the final challenge. I felt that I could not remain on the political prisoners division without risking serious, and perhaps irreversible, psychic damage.
The symptoms indicated it more and more clearly. My paranoia grew with every day, and so many of my great art works had already been the victims of my self-destructive impulses. After about one year in isolation, when my psychiatrist was on summer vacation, I thought the right moment had come.
I knew that Dr. Salinger would not have supported nor tolerated a move into normal detention because he simply lacked any positive precedent. And thus, my psychiatrist would have rather increased my fear through his own fears, and could not have helped me to grow beyond myself and my self-protective instinct that in that exceptional situation was not really useful to me, but rather blocked my evolution.
I simply had to close my eyes and jump in the cold water. I had to have for one moment total unwavering trust in life and in my destiny! It was a question of survival.
When I thought about what I had heard about my so-called predecessors in fate who had ended up in rolling chairs or in the grave, I repeated to myself only this, and with the utmost stress upon words:
— I have no predecessors because I am unique.
And if it was true that others had been mistreated, mutilated or killed in normal detention, I had to affirm over and over that my case was not to be compared with their cases.
Period. Had not the inquiry judge remarked my case was unique in the juridical annals? And if this was so, why should I worry what had happened to others?
And what about the successes, if not to say miracles, that I already had experienced in that unusual trial situation? And what about the inner strength I had built during that year of solitude through my daily program of martial exercises and meditation?
And for what other purpose than building strength had I gone through the first half of a two-year hypnotherapy?
— When you came up to my office the first day, you looked like a scared child, Dr. Salinger remembered jokingly later on.
And yet, despite all this reasoning, I was of course afraid. But something in me was stronger than that fear. It was curiosity. I sensed that that curiosity was in turn linked to something fundamentally powerful in myself: it was life.
I again had a true joy of living, and despite all, had built that joy of living behind bars, in prison, and in isolation detention, and at a place where it perhaps was least expected to happen. I was no more suicidal as the forensic experts had written it in their expertise as being my constant condition. In finally accepting myself, I had accepted the life force in me, and that was the reason for my abundant joy of living.
The priest was very wise, he did not advise me either way and confessed me honestly he was afraid about me, but did not want to influence my decision in any way. He said he prayed for me every day.
Implicitly and without giving me a direction or opinion, that man had helped life in me to grow, and to prepare for a still greater blossom. He had done a great deal for that growth to happen, first of all through his trust in me, his love and his unconditional acceptance. He had helped me bury Peter Pan and to develop an adult way to face life, a sort of manly stoicism that was part of the Roman aristocratic tradition in Antiquity. Last not least I saw that my mission on the political prisoners division was coming to an end. In addition to what I wrote previously in this report, I have given support to two more prisoners, both of which had been isolated for years because they had killed policemen. Both were eventually transferred into other institutions, and with Rudo and Mauro I had reached a dead end.
Dr. Salinger actually had asked me to support his work a little and have some preliminary talks with the two others, but we had eventually to admit our total failure. Mauro took a private psychiatrist because he had money enough to afford one, or got help from the government, and Rudo let Salinger fuck off several times in a cynical way that led the psychiatrist abandon his case.
— What the hell does this doctor want? Rudo had asked me several times at work. I am not crazy. And I wonder why you go there? Psychotherapy — what a nonsense! I have made a mistake and pay for it. Period.
I found it a bit strange to call strangling a child a mistake. Regarding the rape of that little girl, I believed him that he had not done it but that this detail was added by the myth-composing journalist who had shown all his skill in the public presentation of my own case. But still …, to call the murder of a child a mistake sounded queer in my ears. Human beings do not commit such kind of mistakes. This is simply so. We do not murder others, let alone children, for banal reasons. Never. But Rudo’s belief system was different.
Rudo was totally disconnected from his emotions! But he could not see that this was his problem. This knowledge, as it is in the body, cannot be grasped or gained intellectually. As his body was dead, Rudo was no more connected to its intrinsic intelligence. That was why his murder was ultimately a mystery to him. A mystery that he accepted, but that did not favor the evolution of his soul power, because he was barred against the very truth that had triggered the tragedy.
Finally I asked direct questions about his murder and he replied the girl had been insolent and provocative. One must imagine that an industry worker comes to a building where he has to do some work, takes the lift with a little girl he has never seen before, and strangles that girl in the lift because, as he explained:
— She has made me nervous by her way to behave, and to talk. She was insolent and impolite.
It is unbelievable. And yet that is the very reality we have created in this perverse society where people are locked in their emotions as the result of moralism. Rudo read the Bible every morning and evening and frequently quoted from it.
Both Rudo and Mauro had an overwhelmingly strong guilt-and-shame pattern but were totally unconscious of it.
Mauro however was different from Rudo in that he was at least curious about himself and his obvious perversity. Once, during our walk, and while he held his cigarette, as always, with the burning end toward his palm, he said, strangely shivering:
— You know, I am simply curious about what the psychologists think about my case. I know something is wrong with me and admit it, because when it came over me, nothing and nobody could stop me. It was totally compulsive. But I would like to know one day why this was so, and perhaps, while I do not believe it, that pattern can be changed in a way. So why not at least give it a try?
I found his attitude good and reasonable, and it was to my knowledge later also positively rewarded by the authorities, while Rudo’s evolution seemed to have totally stagnated after Dr. Salinger had traced him out from his support list.
The guards more or less encouraged me to move over to the open section, while they did not leave a doubt that in case of an accident, I would have hardly any help from their side.
After all, I had been put on the political prisoners division on my own request after I was informed what had happened to other prisoners with a pedophile charge. The prison simply was too large for an effective control of every prisoner at every possible moment of the day. Especially Enrico from the social service was happy to see me on the other side of the fence as he had a psychology project and wanted me to participate in it.
I sweated terribly when I pushed the cart that was highly loaded with stuff. An incredible quantity of affairs had accumulated during the two years of my imprisonment. Why do I need so many things? I thought to myself, looking at the guard who pushed two more carts loaded with boxes over boxes. When we stood in front of the cell at the other side of the fence, I was bathed in sweat.
It was summer and I became aware why I always had frozen feet and legs on closed division: it was because of the air-condition. In normal detention there was no air-condition and cell windows could be opened, but in the corridors it was very hot. Heat stands for emotions, cold for their death, I thought to myself, and sent a quick prayer to heaven. And when I was in the cell and the guard about to leave, I asked him to close me in. And he replied very calmly:
— This would be the greatest mistake in your situation. If you want that, it’s better I guide you again back to the closed division. For when you show fear, you make down from the start the possibility to be accepted in the lion’s cage. Thus, to be accepted means first of all complying with the rules and doing away with special treatment because that triggers jealousy. Here the rule is that cell doors are open during the day and only closed at night. You can freely move in the building and outside, in the area of the workshops, and you can even work with the group that sets up a prison-internal T.V. channel. We have put you on the division where you have the greatest chance to be accepted. You are here among the prison mafia, so to say, the bank robbers and those murderers that understand themselves as social revolts. Your greatest enemies are the little thieves, such as Yugoslavs and Albanians, because they think they are here for nothing and want to make the law, and they are a large and powerful gang. Try to get along with those here on the division. Most of them are Italians and are very strong as a group and they are respected by the law makers. While they seem to be proud and sometimes come over as arrogant, they are intelligent men who have probably long inquired about your case and know that you are not here for what was written in the newspapers. They are not fallen on their head and have their own information sources. So, try your best and, first of all, never show any fear … good luck!
I choked, but tried to hide that I was shivering of fear and thanked him, silently praying. Shortly after he had left, somebody knocked at my cell door. A short wrinkled elder with blue intelligent eyes and strong Roman accent asked if he could come in?
I welcomed him, smiling as good as I could and he came straight toward me and positioned himself face to face, without shaking hands:
— We know you since long, he began. We know what you are here for. You cannot expect much from us, but what regards me personally, I respect you. I know that you are not like the two others over there … If one of them comes here, he will not survive the first hour. We know that you are different. We also know more or less what was true and what was invented in the press clippings about your case. You have not raped or killed children, but we cannot accept your educational paradigm for that reason. For us Italians, you must know, children are holy and untouchable and we do not accept to initiate them into sex too early. We think that this corrupts children’s morality and lets them become bad people. As for me, I have thoroughly studied your case because I found it interesting. I will try to get my group behind me in order to protect you a little, but please don’t expect miracles. I cannot control this jail and if you bring up the Albanians against you, you are dead. Never show any fear and don’t be too nice to people …
I thanked him and felt that what he said came straight from his heart, and that he was a man of honor whose word I could trust. I liked Angelo on first sight.
His eyes expressed a certain cruelty and much hatred, but also deep humanity and comprehension. And his name was really an omen, an angel; he was that for me in that moment and perhaps, without his constant support, I would not have survived my keen jump into the deep ocean?
Later I was going to learn more about him and his life, and most of that he told me himself when he invited me to his cell, mostly in the early evening before dinner, and we had an original Italian espresso together.
Angelo, after having shot some during his career as a bank robber, was caught and got a lifelong sentence. In prison, he began to paint and became within short a very successful and nationally renowned painter. His canvasses were to be found in some of the town’s best art galleries and sold for high prices.
About his childhood, Angelo had nothing good to report. It was the story of a child of poverty in Rome, a little boy who went through all cruelties that one can think of, who was constantly beaten and who learned very early to steal for having something to eat because in his milieu, nothing ever was gained without violence. Angelo was a rich man and had his own atelier on the division, a large room that was made by tearing down the separating wall between two cells. Opposite to his atelier was his normal cell, which made that he occupied not one, but three cells altogether.
His influence in the large regional prison was incredible, his name known to each and everybody. He was something like the grey eminence among the inmates and what he said was executed without questions and most of the time also without delay. And yet, how much power this elder Italian had I was going to learn only later on, and through an event that was going to touch all of us.
The first days passed without an incident which invoked in me a premature feeling of triumph. This feeling was fed also by the compliments I was going to receive from my psychiatrist when he was back from his vacation:
— I have not met a guy like you in my whole career as a prison psychiatrist! Never in my life, not even in my dreams did I expect you were able to move over. And now you have shown it to me and with it, you demonstrated that I have underestimated and perhaps misjudged you from the start. For you are much stronger than I ever thought. And perhaps, after all, I know only a little of your multiple personality …?
I confirmed that he was right, but said it had surely also been through the therapeutic work with him, and because of his wonderful support that I had built the strength that eventually I had needed to do that decisive step. He seemed to be glad and thankful for my recognition of his work and simply replied that ‘from now we were colleagues.’
Then he added that, indeed, my case was of a very different nature than those of the two others on the isolation division and that the more intelligent inmates in the open section were able to see and respect that difference.
From that moment, our work was more constructive than before because I was more open and more robust in discussions; my fear level had dropped almost to zero. The exceptional challenge and the fact that I had abandoned myself to it and just moved with the flow of life instead of rigidly holding back and protecting myself endlessly had made me grow. Peter Pan was dead, and jumping into hell had turned out to be the gate to heaven!
And yet, the year was not yet over and it was not going to bring me only sunshine. I was going to shed more tears during that single year than in my whole life before! Angelo had been right in that he was not able to control the whole jail. I had to stand several attacks on my life, but how that happened each time, and how I was warned and protected bordered a miracle.
However, the first month all looked rosy for me and the prison’s chief guard who had clearly been against me under the old director, had gradually changed his opinion about me under the new boss. In addition, as he had fully encouraged my moving over to normal detention, he was proud to have been right in the end. (As I heard later, he and Dr. Salinger had had some discussions about that question). As a kind of welcome present, he offered me a very interesting and desired job. I became clerk of the prison library.
Only later became I aware how much jealousy this had provoked with many inmates who had been on the waiting list for that job for months and months, while I came over from isolation and got that job within the first days of my arrival.
And the social service had fully backed the proposal of the chief guard, and the director had followed. I could almost not believe that this privilege had been initiated by the one single authority person that I had thought really hated me to death and that was himself feared and hated as no other in the whole jail.
The job was really nice and comfortable as I could sit in the large library all day long and had a computer at my disposition that I also could use privately, so much the more as Enrico’s psychology data base project was declared official activity and I was allowed to use the library computer for the programming work for Enrico.
Besides that, the library was the ideal place to spot out the more intelligent inmates and bond with them for intellectual talks and friendship, or interesting discussions. And as also the guys of the social service, and last not least the teachers from outside who were offering workshops, came to visit the library once in a while, I was not lacking good conversations, and in addition had the chance to lobby a little for myself, and prepare the necessary backup for a smooth liberation.
Now I had ample opportunity to form closer bonds with Enrico, that young intelligent and dynamic guy who did excellent work in the social service and who had a real heart for prisoners. Professionally, he had graduated as a psychologist, and but had taken a job with the government for mere reasons of financial security. Thus, Enrico lived two lives, one as a social assistant and one as a private psychologist and free lance life coach. Enrico was an interesting man, tall, slim and handsome and always full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm.
His idea was to establish a psychological data base for the prison library that was intended to provide prisoners with an easy device to better know themselves and analyze their problems using our interactive software, instead of needing to go through all the literature that was going to be extensively quoted in the program. Besides that, he intended to use the database as well for his private consultations.
I assured him full collaboration and was convinced to be able to input the immense quantity of material within a few weeks, whereas I had no idea how the whole thing was going to be digitized and packaged as a software. I was not yet familiar with computers and began with taking an informatics course for the next six weeks. Besides that, I inscribed for a Russian course and an evening course in pottery and another one in drawing.
Soon I was going to meet a banker who was known as Banker Soldanski, a white-haired Polish-Italian elder who had a consulting firm in Genova and some millions on his bank account. He had been fined with a prison charge for a dubious financial transaction and used to say ‘For just one million more I have made a mistake, like a schoolboy who stole a candy!’
And yet, he said that as director of his bank in the United States he had thirty-four billion dollars under his hands, and that one of his clients had been the young Bill Clinton, the later president. Clinton, he explained, as most other top politicians in America had won his fortune through partly illegal, or border-legal, transactions and financial manipulations — and without being immensely rich, it was not possible to became a president of the United States. Soldanski had a good sense of humor, was witty and intelligent, but he could also be very haughty and arrogant. Our friendship was first most intensive and we went for the walk every day together, but then cooled down because I felt Soldanski treated me more or less like a naive dreamer and constantly made down my support work for other inmates. His few but pointed remarks about my affair were grinningly and aggressively vomited assumptions that lacked out on any factual foundation, and he was too arrogant to simply ask how it had been in reality.
But with every day more I saw that his hard and biting demeanor was not directed personally against me: he was like that toward everybody, and I guess also toward himself.
In my conversations with him I learnt that he could not accept his life as it was, including the mistake he had committed and that brought him a short prison fine. Soldanski, as so many intelligent and highly effective people, was himself his greatest enemy. He was too perfectionist in all and everything and required of himself basically the same what he required of his foremost work tool, the computer, that is absolute and unwavering perfection. Therefore, he was often discontent and moody.
His way to walk expressed his intellectual overhead very well in that his body moved like a half-moon, the upper half bending over the lower, with his head looking down on his feet. In order to balance out that awkward position, Soldanski held his neck stiff and tried to look not, as it would have been natural, on his feet, but straight ahead. When he was in his cell, he was to be found always at the same place: at his work desk behind his laptop. He told me he was working out a financial software because a book he had published about fund management had sold very well, and that now he had the idea to sell the software and give the book as a free present with the purchase.
I learnt much from this elder and admired him in many ways. With his almost sixty years of age, he was wonderfully active and brilliant intellectually, witty and industrious. And as a colleague at work, as I had to work with him closely for a certain time for Enrico’s data base project, he was present and magnanimous, helping me out with infinite patience when I was stuck with the computer.
He was a banker since decades but actually had learnt to handle the computer only in his recent years, and this was amazing, because he seemed to be just that, a learned and experienced programmer! When you saw him in front of the 22” screen in the prison computer lab that he directed, you thought that this man had done nothing else in his life than handle computers, and handle them perfectly.
Also in the Russian course he was brilliant and had the best pronunciation of all of us, and with his elegant and distinguished manner he was also the best cavalier when chatting after class with our young and good-looking female Russian teacher.
I was thankful for the thoughtful daily conversations with the intelligent elder, and so much the more depressed and sad when I heard from other friends, that Soldanski tore me down in front of others behind my back. After my liberation, I wrote him a letter and received the following laconic reply:
— Please abstain from further letters to me! I have made bad experiences with prison friends, something you probably will understand. I have therefore broken off all these contacts and do not wish to keep ours either.
I found many new friends through my work as a library clerk because intelligent and communicative inmates liked to look for books and people with whom they could have a good talk that went beyond the daily gossip or complaining about the chief guard, who was the number one target of most prisoner’s hate feelings, or endlessly crying their fate. Among those friends were first of all Iranians and Iraqis, Israelis, Pakistanis, Brazilians, Portuguese, Bolivians, Colombians and other people from South America.
The Italians on my division tolerated me at best and besides Angelo I could not make friends with any one of them. These people liked to discuss constantly, and with rather loud voices, especially in the evening hours, when they cooked their pasta and visited each other, or when they dined around the big table in Angelo’s atelier.
They talked about everything, the newest prison gossip, political news, rumors about the chief guard or the director, and new arrivals in jail. And they made plans, what kind of plans however I still ignored at this time. And not seldom I overheard that they were talking about me and my case and that Angelo tried his best to defend my position, but not always successfully. In fact, they put him more and more in a defense position and Angelo sometimes called me for a coffee and closed the door of his cell, something he did very seldom.
— It’s hard for me, now, really, because of you, he used to say. They try to find every day something to fuss about, and I think they are just jealous. But I cannot ignore their opinions because we are an important group in this madhouse and they see me as something like a leader …
Only one time, at Angelo’s birthday, I was invited to join their opulent dinner and I was astonished beyond measure what was put on the table. They simply had everything that they were not supposed to have in a prison, and when Angelo looked in my puzzled face, he laughed and said We have all here! We have weapons, wine and whores! And I had thought it had been a bonmot and had no idea that he had been speaking true.
Not everywhere I was accepted. In the pottery workshop, one after the other of participants turned away from me and stopped talking with me. It had started with two inmates who seemed to be eaten by hatred against me, and they gradually brought the whole workshop up against me.
When they all had turned away, I cried a whole evening and then simply did not go there again.
When I told Enrico, he was angry and went to the workshop teacher asking him why he had tolerated that discrimination. But the guy said he had not been able to do anything against it as it had been so subtle and not something he had under control. Enrico, then, found my decision to just drop that workshop the best I could have possibly done.
Shortly thereafter, something similar was going to happen in the computer lab, but Enrico, then alert, acted immediately and only when he defended me, Banker Soldanski, as director of the lab, was ready to have a good word for me and the courage to send the troublemakers out.
But the hardest trial I was going to face in the television studio where I was invited to participate because of my previous qualifications in video shooting, editing and sound engineering. The hostilities were getting at a point that the two professionals from the national television who were directing the workshop drafted an official complaint with the director against what they called discrimination and sabotage of the project.
And here Angelo, for the first time, fell in my back. I had gained the respect of the RAI professionals with a few letters full of ideas, among which the idea of introducing a mascot, Charlie, that was intended to embody the creative and relaxed character of the channel. I also had given suggestions for improving the program.
In fact, besides football and quite vulgar polemics against the chief guard and other targets, the channel had not much to offer and I was addressed often by inmates with the remark that the prison T.V. program was poor and stupid. But Angelo, who understood himself as the grey eminence of the channel seemed to feel threatened in his position.
After the first work day in the studio, I had a dream that clearly predicted the end of my involvement in the channel. In that dream I was sitting in front of a T.V. set that showed the logo of the channel that I had designed and the mascot that I had proposed to introduce, and a moment later that T.V. simply shut down, as if somebody had unplugged it, and when I tried to turn it on again, I was not able to.
Upon which I woke up and remembered that dream and the feelings of sadness and depression that it had triggered. And so it was. I tried to hold my position, despite the daily hassle and the useless ugly discussions, until I was formally dismissed by a group voting in which it was forwarded that child abusers could not be tolerated in a public program that, at a later stage, was destined to be watched also outside the prison walls.
The T.V. professionals were upset and the older one threatened to stop his prison work on the spot and filed another complaint with the director that however remained without a reply. I had to leave the channel. Period.
My domain remained the library and neither Angelo nor any of the other Italians ever put their feet there. Instead, I was going to receive interesting visits, such as the one by a young Israeli who had worked as a spy for the CIA before he was arrested for a minor drug affair. He and a Kechua native from Colombia shared with me much that for confidentiality reasons I cannot report here.
And after some time, this small, dark-skinned and very discreet and silent native came regularly and something like a friendship was developing between us. He had asked me to write a letter to the chief guard as he wished to apply for a cleaning job on his division, and as I was known to translate for Spanish-speaking inmates and draft letters to the authorities for whomever asked me for it, I did not hesitate to do that little favor for him. And as that request was crowned by success, the little man showed me a smile, and Enrico commented that it was something like a miracle that this silent and suspicious Indio had bonded with me, as he had absolutely no other friends in the prison.
A little later we even went for the walk together, something that some found highly uncanny in an environment where group-links primed for security and other reasons. Thus, our friendship was causing daily gossip and rumors of all kinds.
I liked the little man very much. There was something boyish around him, something very vital, something that has been lost since centuries in our Western civilization. He came over to me as the Don Juan Matus from Carlos Castaneda’s books, and I learnt from him as much about the Kechua culture in Colombia as Castaneda learnt from Don Juan.
When I told him about my paranormal dreams, or how the I Ching and Tarot had saved my life, he was not surprised at all, nodded and once commented tenderly:
— Bernardo, tu es un indígeno blanco …
We conversed in Spanish as his Italian was rudimentary. He, as many others, told me secrets that I promised to keep and therefore cannot unveil in this report. On the other hand, I found it unusual that he was so exclusive in our friendship and never had the slightest exchanges with others.
Enrico said he was the most secretive of all prisoners and nobody had ever succeeded in having a normal conversation with him. I therefore felt honored for his trust and his dedication to our unusual friendship.
And other inmates from South America who had of course observed our relationship, came to see me in the library, among them Ruben, a white guy from Paraguay, who was going to become another close friend. Most interesting I found of course all conversations about childlove, and now I got a much more diversified picture of what people think and feel about it than I could get on the close division. While discussing this subject had been taboo for Rudo and Mauro, I now saw that it was rather common among men to discuss about sex with children and to openly exchange opinions, even controversial, regarding loving children erotically.
The most interesting of all was the great variety of the stories I was going to hear. None of them resembled another and it was impossible to make out something like a standard pattern regarding erotic relations with children.
And as all of these men labeled themselves as heterosexual, but still had had sexual experiences with children, the theory of pedophilia more and more appeared to me as an ideology that has little if nothing to do with real life.
What I concluded after having got this knowledge from supposedly straight men and their sex lives was that more or less all men desire sex with minors once in a while, if not on a regular basis if the opportunity arises and matters are not too dangerous. It is perhaps important to note here that none of these men were Westerners, some of them were Brazilian, some from Iraq or Iran, but definitely most of them were Hispanic, from South America.
The young Israeli, not surprisingly so for a Jewish orthodox, found sex with children as the quintessential temptation that a civilized man had to defend, but admitted that the attraction for this kind of sex was probably universal and that many men could simply not resist it. He reported to have watched a man have sex with a small girl and what had most frightened him was the hard and almost violent manner in which the man had pressed the child’s body against him. He recounted that story expressly as an example of non-penetrative sex and added:
— Even if it’s not penetrative, it may be shocking for a child, especially when the man is so rough in his overall attitude …
He found it inadmissible for a man to lie down on a tiny girl with his full body weight while rubbing his penis between the girl’s legs. And that the guy he had seen had pressed very hard to reach his orgasm and that such a treatment of a child was not very loving after all.
— But perhaps you are the exception? he argued. You take care of everything I guess, as I know you now. But surely not all men do this who do sex with children …
Whereupon he laughed and thought it was good to treat this fear topic in a joking way as that helped understanding it, while the public discussion was so full of fear that it was virtually impossible for most people to form a clear opinion in this respect. Regarding my affair, he was scandalized about what I had suffered and repeatedly reproached me what he called my defeatist attitude:
— Your strategy was totally wrong! You should have attacked instead of defending yourself. Attack is the best defense. You should have reacted with aggressiveness, not with pacifism. Your pacifism was qualified as perversity, right?
I had to admit that his point was correct. How cunning was his judgment in my affair, while in his own life he was hardly able to see the red thread wherefore he committed one suicide attempt after the other. And yet, he, as the only one, had penetrated the logic of my case and showed me how weak I had been to defend myself. He pursued:
— Your state lawyer was not paid by you and therefore she could say what she wanted to. They have all trapped you. And you? You let them do it with you like a sheep! How can you ever advocate your educational cause when you defeat your own ideas? As a social reformer you have to be strong, and you have to do what you do professionally, and consistently, and not, as you did it, like an amateur and day dreamer …
He almost had shouted when he said this, so upset was he. What he said put me in a pensive mood for days and I felt thankful as he was the first and only one who really saw the psychological reality of my affair. Now I eventually was able to see that one could defend my case very well if one wanted to and that not all was so black-and-white as all people around me had always put it.
Now my parents came to visit me for the first time for they had not known what had happened to me, and were not informed by the authorities. My father said:
— I admire you in some way! I would have killed myself already during the first week. Never in my life have I heard of a scandal that was so little based upon facts than yours.
My mother and her partner were scandalized when they knew the details of the case. They had known nothing because my lawyer had not informed them in any way. My mother felt guilty for not having supported me for almost ten years and wanted to take up her support, but was stopped by the prison authorities who argued I earned enough money in prison to be able to order from outside what I needed next to the alimentation that was anyway provided. As they allowed a larger present once a year, my mother bought a computer that later was delivered from Germany to my great joy.
Now I also got support visits. There was a medical doctor, Gil, who had been through a similar affair regarding adolescent boys, that he was charged to have raped, but fought his case and was held not guilty at the end.
Gil liked to write long letters and I loved to read his quite literary style. Our conversations enriched me much and he urged me to write a book or longer article about my affair that he wanted to publish. They are fascists, he said, as they always were fascists and will always be fascists.
As the I Ching did not advise me to publish a book about my case at that time, I dropped the idea. Gil thought I should remain just as I am, as he put it:
— I have the same problem. I am fine with all kinds of social work, be it with youngsters, but it with prisoners, be it working with handicapped children. But the profession of a doctor is for me simply a way to earn my life, but it does not fill me with passion in any way!
Gil insisted I was the ideal educator and should perhaps switch to management training after my liberation and only after my criminal record was erased, take up the work with children.
Through Gil I became friends with Carlo and Pierre who, together with Gil, participated in a group of spiritually motivated people that regularly visited and supported prisoners.
They were interesting men. Both were of Italian descent.
Carlo had seen the whole world and went through unbelievable hardship. When he came to visit me I could forget all around me for two hours, so fascinating it was to listen to his life stories. Carlo had gone through much worse than I and his presence humbled me. Dieser Mann hat unglaublich Viel geleistet, I thought to myself, thus paraphrasing what Svjatoslav Richter once said about Friedrich Fischer-Dieskau.
And yet Carlo had not lost his passion for life and for people, and never developed the arrogant hatred with which so many people block themselves against the flow of life, thus becoming rigid, old, impotent and dead. When I asked Carlo the secret of his vivacity and his passion despite all he went through over two decades, he said very softly: Agni Yoga, the Yoga of Fire. And he gave me a booklet that he confided me with a warning.
— The teaching of these practices was once secret but the Hermetic tradition has ceased in the New Age. And yet, you should never use any of these highly effective practices for selfish reasons or for material gain only …
The booklet with the title Heart was written in the 1930s, obviously by enlightened people who were close to the resistance against Hitler and it was re-published by the United States Agni Yoga Society.
I read the book several times but it could not tell me anything new. In the contrary found I that it was admonishing people instead of purely focusing on the teaching. Most of the practices taught in the booklet simply explain how to use our paranormal faculties of mind, and this is taught today by many, and I myself found the books by Helena Blavatsky, Leadbeater, Uri Geller, Barbara Marciniak, Jane Roberts and Sanaya Roman even better, because simply more instructive.
The most interesting discussions with Carlo I had about Wilhelm Reich as he was the first individual in my life who, like me, had read all the books published by Reich and he thus, contrary to most people, knew to value my ideas.
Pierre was a nutrition consultant and ecologist and had immense knowledge about nature, natural cycles, bioenergetic flow principles, holistic living and what Fritjof Capra called the hidden connections. While Carlo irradiated turmoil, Pierre was surrounded by the greatest peace I ever felt in presence of a human being.
The last eight months I spent in a high-and-low of harmonious friendships, multiple exchanges and privileges, on one hand, and the greatest opposition and most dangerous hostilities, on the other. Enrico had kept his word to get me a piano and one day a brand-new Yamaha Grand was delivered to the newly established music room and I was nominated director of the music atelier.
Now I was both chief of the library and the music room and had my own band composed of prisoners, and we sometimes played on birthdays, and once for the T.V. channel. In addition, the two ministers asked me to play the organ in the chapel for the Sunday prayers when the organist was ill.
Thus, two times per week I could play piano for hours in the evening, and the chapel was opened to me in the afternoon for practicing the organ. And I even received a piano student, a young Iranian with whom I was befriended as he belonged to the circle of my best friends.
One day I had a strange feeling when a quite hard-spoken prisoner entered the library. He asked me strange questions regarding myself and my case. And before he went out, he said with clear stress on every word ‘The time is ripe that you are taught a lesson, but for this time one that you will never forget!’ I did not know what to do. I felt that the lad had not been in the mood to joke and he and his friends were in no way known to me.
They were not known to any of my friends and seemed to be a clan that kept for themselves most of the time. And thus, as there was no way to do anything about the danger, I prayed, as I had learned it from the books of Joseph Murphy, in the sense that I repeated simple positive affirmations.
I affirmed over and over that I was protected and that nothing could happen that was not in accordance with the principles of love, harmony and understanding.
I did these prayers in the morning and in the evening, for several days, and then, as nothing happened, I forgot about the incident, and a few weeks passed.
Then, one morning, that same prisoner entered the library, but to my astonishment held both arms straight in front of his body. His arms were in gypsum.
— What happened to you? I asked naively and saw that the expression of his face had totally changed, as if he was not the same person. Something like light irradiated from his front and his eyes were glowing of joy.
— I … will explain all to you, he said very softly, but you must promise me that you will not tell any other inmate what I will share with you now.
I nodded and he continued, after a pause:
— We … had planned a holdup against you. All was meticulously prepared. I know you will hate me for this, but it’s the truth. We wanted to kill you, and we were not the only ones in this jail. For you have many more enemies here than you might think. We had organized all, I mean I had organized all, and my friends were just standing by, waiting for instructions. I am terribly ashamed to tell you all this …, but I have to get it off my soul!
He paused and obviously waited for me to reply anything, but I remained silent and looked at him only with big eyes of surprise, and so he pursued:
— It sounds incredible, but it’s true. We had planned all in detail, but that day when it was set out to happen, you did not come to the library. My friends said we just had to plan for another day and time, and we postponed our attack. The next day, as I am in alleviated detention, I went home on a vacation, and there, on the way, I had an accident with my motorcycle and broke both of my arms. I was hospitalized and for unknown reasons I had to think of you very often during that day. And in the following night I had a very clear dream. It was not really a dream but something like a vision. An angel came to meet me in that dream and reproached me that I wanted to do something bad to you. He said you were a prophet and under the protection of the Highest and that I had broken my arms as a warning to do a bad deed against you.
I could not speak for a moment. This man was not the type of the illuminated dreamer, nor did he sound to boast with his story. It was visible that he had been humbled in a way that was almost beyond reason. Then, as he saw that I still did not say anything in reply, he added:
— And you know … before I was an atheist … and a hard realist, and usually when I found this kind of stories in a book, I was laughing about it and thought it was all invented!
Then, after another minute of silence, he added:
— Please forgive me!
I nodded, whereupon he turned back quickly and left the library. Strangely, I did not see him again.
Shortly after this strange event, a Nigerian named Abdul Adede arrived, and, which was normally not the case in the large jail, this man became within short known to all. The reason was probably his unusual features; in fact, his presence was not to overlook. Abdul A. was very tall, strong like a bear and of noble origin.
He and his brother walked in a rather erect, not to say proud manner and it became obvious that they were used to receive respect and care from the people around them. They were there for a small drug affair, actually not drug dealing but simply the possession of drugs, and it was not even sure that they were going to be judged for it. I became at once befriended with them, as they seemed well-educated and intelligent, spoke an excellent English besides Italian and their native languages, and were smart and polite in demeanor with me.
However, as I was going to hear soon, they behaved not in the same way with others that they considered rude and uncivilized, namely the Albanians. And a strange feeling overcame me when I heard Abdul talking about them and other inmates in a rather judgmental and proud manner. As I knew the spirit of the Albanians so well, I could not help thinking that their hurt narcissism could have very bad consequences one day for the two Nigerians who had no backup at all from any of the existing groupings.
So I warned Abdul several times in a very careful, polite and calm manner and he answered every time only smilingly I was too tenderly caring for him, but that he was an erect man and could defend himself when there was a need for it, and that he had proven it many times in his life. I did not doubt it when I looked at his stature, but the Albanians were a large group …
During these extremely hot days in summer, at the end of July, I intuitively knew that something unexpected and unheard-of was going to happen and I got very bad dreams that announced a murder. My anxiety rose with every day to come, and at the same time the heat became unbearable. There was something in the air and the tension rose among all inmates, but I did not understand why.
I of course thought a major holdup was planned against myself and that I would be the target of that terrible tension that I observed was pent-up every day more among the people around me. I faked to be ill and did not go to the library for a week and one afternoon, my anxiety was at a peak level and I refused to leave my cell for the walk, telling the guards I had the flu.
In fact, I had nothing special to do and was standing in my cell, looking out, against my habit, on the football terrain, watching the guys playing. And I could clearly make out Abdul as he was taller than everybody else, and so much the more as most on the terrain were anyway Italians and Albanians who were all rather short in stature.
It was so hot that I could see the heat waves glimmering above the ground and suddenly I noticed Abdul was circled by a large ring of players and many knives sparkled up in the pitiless sun and were ruthlessly stabbed in that large human body that began to shake and eventually fall in the grass.
And the horde of men, not unlike wild animals, covered that black corpse and continued stabbing in it, furiously and with unwavering cruelty, until the alarm bell rang and the riot was at its peak …
I was nailed on the floor, unable to move, unable to think. A sudden shot in the air that was announcing a bulk of guards storming the terrain, woke me up from my trauma. From that moment, everything and everybody in jail seemed to run, run in all directions, and the raising number of alarm bells tore the air to pieces. But the real shock I suffered when, after minutes, I opened my cell door because I had heard sounds and voices on our division. When I pushed the door, a huge bleeding body was right in front of me …
The blood bath around the corpse was more than two meters large and I stared at Abdul and stuttered: Why … did you put him … here …, in front of my cell?
— Because that was what you should have suffered! I got to hear. He has served as a lightning pole …, one of the many inmates around the dead corpse uttered.
Abdul A. was murdered by fourteen knife stabs in and around his heart. A swarm of guards, backed up by an elite corps of national police and military in special suits and modern weapons were storming the prison some moments later and we were brutally pushed in our cells and the doors locked for almost one week. It was the hardest detention plan that I have experienced in my three years of prison. We just got food, but the jail was like dead. Not even a daily walk. And during that week, all the cells were searched, one by one.
Strangely enough, they began on our division, and I was going to know the reason soon. Abdul was murdered by a bulk of Albanians but a few Italians had been among the murderous horde as well. In Angelo’s cell the police found all they were searching for, bombs, guns, knives, drugs, and alcohol in huge quantities, and in addition a precise plan for escape, and the beginning of a daring tunnel project… As I heard later, Angelo had fabricated the bombs with oil paint and turpentine.
I began to shiver of fear because I thought they were going to search my cell and therefore destroyed a whole collection of drawings entitled The Victory of Jerusalem and where I had drawn nude little girls among the other motives that were taken from the Bible and the Torah, such as rabbis, teachers, monks and merchants of old Israel. I had namely learnt in the drawing course to depict real motives instead of doing abstract drawing only, what I had done since my childhood.
Nobody, including my drawing teacher, could explain me why my creative instinct was feeding so much from Zionist sources. And that collection was unfortunately not all that I destroyed. Also my screen play about an incest relation between father and son I erased and destroyed the discs, as well as a prison diary and dream analysis of more than one thousand pages. Had I kept these works, this report could have been published as a highly interesting documentary novel.
The irony of fate was that my cell was not searched and I had taken all precautions for nothing. When we went out for the daily walk after one week, we all were relieved and my friends could not believe that my cell had not been searched. After all my talks I had with them, it appeared that my cell had been the only one that was not searched. In fact, it had been known to the direction that I had been befriended with Abdul because I had shared my concerns about him with Enrico and other social assistants, and had written for Abdul and his brother a letter to the authorities in which they had asked for being transferred to another prison. Unfortunately for Abdul, their request was not carried out in time!
After one week, we were allowed to go for the daily walk, but the cell doors remained closed during the day for unlimited time, the director announced. And all the ateliers were to stay closed until each and every member of the murder gang had been identified and drawn to justice.
Now I got the idea to publish an In Memoriam for Abdul and to put it on the whiteboard in the center hall, where inmates meet every day for the walk, and which was a location that was well visible to everybody. I had asked Angelo to publish it in the T.V. channel but he had replied that they were not going to mention the incident with one word because it had given rise to the ‘greatest repression in jail’ he ever experienced. In addition, he told me I was a madman to do something like that and that I was going to be on the Albanian’s shoot-down list if I did it.
Thus, I hesitated for a moment, but the I Ching confirmed my intuition and advised to do it, telling me I was to be protected and that the action was bringing many benefits to myself and others. Thus encouraged by the I Ching and revolted about the murder of one of my best friends, I was going to write an In Memoriam in which I clearly condemned the act as a form of extreme savagery and reminded all to respect life.
Early in the morning, before I went out for the walk, I put the paper on the white board, and signed it with my full name and cell number. I had not expected anything special to happen, but what followed was a storm. A few minutes later, Angelo joined me in the walk, something he had never done before. He was highly in sorrow:
— I must say that I really admire you. You have a hell of a courage I never suspected in you. You truly have eggs, boy! But on the other hand I must admonish you. You are at the border of insanity. What you are doing, you alone are going to take the whole responsibility for, is that clear? I cannot protect you any more from now. With the Albanians against you, you are a dead man!
And quickly he deserted me and I saw that all of my other friends did the same. I was alone, utterly alone, but something in me prevented me from melting in fear. It was something new, an unknown sensation of inner peace and comfort, something I never had felt before. It was not pride, it was not madness. It was something very calm and peaceful. It was a feeling of security in the midst of insecurity, a conviction that I was going to be protected. And that feeling predicted right. When I came back to my cell after the walk, I found a note of the director under the cell door and took it up.
The director complimented me in that short note and said my action had been admirable and courageous, and that it had given him a moment to rethink his decision of total repression. After all, the director closed his message with the remark that I had perhaps eventually reached the point to make myself respected by the other inmates.
The next day the director announced that all Albanians were going to be transferred to other institutions and that fortunately so, a number of perpetrators had been caught by evidence found in their cells, and another part through voluntary confessions. In order to speed up the process he promised fair trail without dark cell to the perpetrators who confessed voluntarily. Angelo was one of the first to acclaim the wisdom of the director after this decision, a word he previously had never used for any of the authorities.
And from Angelo I got to learn all the details of the murder. Angelo namely had been asked to participate in the holdup, but he had refused:
— The Italian and the Albanian gangs have always had quite good relations. But in this case a limit was reached. I have refused any collaboration, but unfortunately some of my group have participated against my advice. They are very bad off now as they have been caught through evidence and were transferred to the isolation division.
The matter has made a dreadful turmoil and the director was probably in a quite awkward situation after such an incident that is not supposed to happen in a prison, whatever the circumstances involved.
My question what the hell had triggered the terrible hatred of the Albanian gang against Abdul, Angelo said laconically it had been a totally banal cause. Abdul had been kicked a little too hard by an Albanian during the match and he had reacted with telling the guy to be a swine.
That had been enough …
The director was going to be right this time, and not Angelo. He called the T.V. channel and ordered that my In Memoriam had to be published in the evening news and read word for word to the audience. Angelo could not do anything against this order from above.
Dr. Salinger called me the next morning, inviting me for a coffee, something he had never done before in the almost two years of our therapy.
He poured down compliments upon me and then announced that the therapy was successfully closed and that he was going to draft a larger memorandum for the authorities in which he suggested that my liberation should be granted without delay and that no therapeutic follow-up was needed thereafter.
And with the majority of inmates, a marked change had taken place in the way to face me, or let’s say to recognize me.
In fact, I had gained some popularity after that unusual course of events. My friends were not astonished about me and said they had not expected any other behavior from my side because they knew me well.
But in the eyes of the silent majority and who had known me only from the time of my T.V. involvement, I saw a change. I saw respect in these eyes, and now received often a smile, an encouraging remark or a good word from inmates I did not know by name and met when we were standing in the center hall and waited for the opening of the doors for the walk. And sometimes I was asked for a cigarette or some food left over, and knew to interpret such requests as signs of trust and comradeship.
But the greatest surprise that I received was from Angelo. Not only did he invite me for a whole afternoon to his atelier, showing me his newest paintings and defending any member of his group to enter, something he had never done before, but at the end of the afternoon, when I was called for food distribution, he hurriedly held up one of his paintings and exclaimed:
— Te piace, Bernardo? I want to offer it to you, as a sign of our friendship and as something like a magic and protective talisman for your future.
On the back side of the canvas he had written a dedication accompanied by some sort of magic symbols that I could not identify. I was arrested in emotion and hardly could hold my tears. I had not seen Angelo giving a painting to anybody else, not even his closest friends. And he said:
— You have understood my art from the start, and on a deeper, psychological level. I want to tell you something. When you are the leader of a group, and that’s a role I played during my whole life, you are always around people, but that does not mean that you have many friends. There is complicity and there is friendship. I have many accomplices but very few friends. And among these few friends I count you!
When I left Angelo’s atelier, the wonderful painting in my hands, I looked in many jealous, surprised and suspicious eyes. And the guards were holding their breath … Everybody could hardly believe that this small hard and cruel bank robber from South Italy who in jail was only called The Mafia Boss could be so tender and caring about a really controversial, queer and out-group intellectual such as myself.
And some guards remarked toward me that Angelo had given the Albanians a subtle warning using this unusual gesture as a signal, because after Abdul’s murder the Albanian gang was substantially weakened and the Italians had seen their chance to gain the overhand in the power struggle between groups.
With the Italian group I heard rumors that murdering an inmate, for whatever reason, and whatever his race or religion, was against their clan morality, and that it was much cleaner to flatten a police bulldog. The leader of the Albanian gang was said to have declared they had committed a strategic mistake. In fact, from that incident the Albanians were highly supervised by the guards and their cells regularly searched, and not the slightest irregularity was tolerated with regard to them. And as the dispute with Abdul A. had taken its origins during the daily football match, the guards were kind of allergic and disputes during sport were immediately stopped through ringing the alarm bell and putting everyone behind closed cell doors.
I for my part had only advantages in that new situation, and from that time I had the feeling that there was no more danger for me. The few Albanians that were still left, because most had been transferred or asked to be transferred because of the strict detention plan for them, were playing a minor role and ran a low profile. And it even happened, what before was unthinkable, that one or the other of them smiled at me during the walk or asked me for a cigarette or a piece of cloth as they were generally very poor and badly dressed.
The Italians, however, while I felt that they still did not particularly like me, dared not waver as Angelo’s gesture must have shown them clearly what the correct political behavior was from that moment. For as strong, proud and arrogant these people behaved in group, when you met them alone, they were rather soft-spoken, insecure and spontaneously friendly.
Almost all my friends were drug dealers or charged for the possession of drugs, except Banker Soldanski and a young guy who was jailed because of fraud. He was a very interesting chap, tall and heavy and all called him the fat one. He was a singer and had done a series of records with songs in which he praised the erotic love with little girls, and the texts were explicit and spicy, and to my great astonishment I heard from him that he never had experienced the slightest discrimination and lived his love, from youth, in a tranquil uninhibited way. He could not understand what I had done to have got such a soup of trouble? For him, the true culprit had been my wife and the second one my mother.
When I contradicted vehemently, he only laughed and called me a naive dreamer. He had a marvelous brandnew Roland FP-5 stage piano and I was melting of wonder when I played on it during my visits in his cell. He was, like me, recruited for the T.V. channel because of his high artistic and musical qualifications for entertainment, but after having joined one session, he had quit: I do not dance under the rule of that short wrinkled mafia boss …, had been his only comment and he was never seen again in the studio.
And he said he would have fought it until the blood when he heard how I was pushed out from that activity. He said that contrary to me he’s had a very nice and smooth childhood and his mother had always been very understanding and tender with him, and that she fully supported his childlove.
And then his eyes were glowing once of a sudden and he was talking about his present girlfriend, a four-year old little Thai that he loved with his whole heart and body. He had met her during a holiday in Pattaya and had invited the whole family to live with him. More and more I learnt about his social and financial situation and became aware that he was actually quite wealthy, and I gained the impression that love, also love, was probably much easier to realize when one had a little money in the bank. But the greatest and somehow hilarious moment was when, one afternoon, I was at the phone cells in the center hall with him and he was calling his mother and afterwards talked to his little Thai and exchanged with her not only dozens of kisses, but also obscenities of all kinds.
That event changed something in my inner setup. I had been thankful to destiny to have met that man because that relationship, that still moved me months later, when I had lost his contact already, was reprogramming something in my inner software. It was as if a chip in my internal computer had been wired in a different way than before. I had understood something fundamental and fundamentally important.
I had understood that all in life is possible and achievable, if only we are convinced of it in the deepest chamber of our heart and soul, and if we realize our wishes in a tranquil, positive, peaceful and joyous way that does not hurt others.
Eventually I became fully and irreversibly aware that I had been my own enemy, my own butcher over all my younger years and that exactly what I had wished most passionately and longed for most fervently I constantly had made down because I had not valued and cherished my desires.
The conversations with Ruben, my friend from Paraguay who came to visit me often in the library, fully confirmed me in this new conviction. Ruben, whose father had been a Spaniard and whose mother was a Guarani Indio, was taking care of a tribe of Guarani that was on the verge of disappearance. In fact, as he explained me, these natives were suffering from illnesses that the white race had transmitted to them, such as the flu, and that they hardly could recover from, and just died away when they caught a virus. He, like my Indio friend from Colombia, told me much about the reality and daily life of the natives in South America, but more from the Guarani perspective. He said that the Guarani were much worse off than the Kechua and they were much less popular and received much less funds from NGOs than the Kechua.
Ruben advised me to settle in Bolivia after my liberation.
He himself loved little girls and lived with an eight-year old native girl that he jokingly called Mulatta. In Bolivia, he said, love with female children was a very common matter, and so much the more when the girls were of native descent. And that it happened daily that native girls were raped in the streets and that the police was hardly or not at all protecting them because it had been the tradition that natives cared for themselves. And after all, he concluded, el sexo was among the most important things in his culture. And the smaller and the more helpless a female was, the better.
He himself, he pursued, defended himself sexual violence and had only consenting relations with girls. And that Mulatta loved him. And that their relationship was kind of an exception in a country that puts the male in the first place in the social value system and women, how young or old, in front of a clear choice: take the situation as it is, or leave it by suicide.
Already on isolation, I had met a young and handsome Italian who passed a week in the dark cell for alcohol distillation, and that guy one day approached me during my work on the division and said:
— I know what you are here for and want to tell you, I have often had sexual relations with little girls. It’s the most beautiful that there is in life!
When I asked him in return if he called himself a pedophile, he vehemently denied:
— But these sexual categories are idiotic patterns that have no validity in real life! he exclaimed. They are actually fictive patterns because it’s up to you, and me, how we behave, and there are no standard norms of behavior, and so much the less in sexual behavior. I normally love adults girls but when I fall in love with a small one, I accept it, and when it’s mutual and the danger not too high, sex is a wonderful and even necessary add-on to the relationship. Why not? The moral categories of society are worthless because love has its own morality!
This young man had spoken out of my heart.
What concerns love with boys, I also found an example of somebody who had lived it for decades without any problems. It was one of my best friends, actually, a white-haired Iranian from Teheran who lived in Delhi, India, and who was in top-level drug dealing. He was from a traditional, aristocratic family of old Persian nobility. When sitting with him in his cell, he calmly explained in his habitual self-assured, poised and distinguished manner:
— The erotic love with boys was always a great tradition in Persia. I have loved boys since the days of my childhood, and have never had the slightest problem with it.
He, together with the other Iranians and Iraqi, Pakistani and Brazilians had done all they could to protect me from any possible harm.
The Brazilians and Portuguese, while I could not talk with them because of the language barrier, as they were mostly uneducated workers without knowledge of the local language, gave me often signs of acceptance or made obscene gestures with their hands.
These men were full of humor and walked their rounds most of the time in a singing and dancing way. From an elder inmate from Venezuela with whom I could converse in Spanish, I learnt that love with female children was not meeting big obstacles in his country as far as one respected a few rules of the game. At the same time, it was made down officially and a matter of taboo. But this secrecy served to keep the state of affairs in a good running condition.
He said that in the whole of South America official morality was dominated by the Church but that this did not in the slightest way interfere with the unofficial way of life that was actually quite liberal. Under the table, he affirmed, love with female children was a daily reality in Latino cultures, however much less the love with male children because it hit the taboo of homosexuality that was very strong in all these cultures.
Bernardo, viene a Caracas … he repeated, promising me I could realize my desires in his country, and also advised me to visit the adjacent islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
During the last three months of my sentence I experienced the culmination point of my literary and musical creativity. I wrote in an almost feverish condition and the easy-going keyboard of my new computer helped me to really roll my thoughts out into the screen with almost the same speed that they came up. Long novels and short stories were written in a few days each.
Besides fantasy tales, I wrote poems, aphorisms, fairy tales and a series of autobiographic stories that recounted some of my experiences as a babysitter and day care teacher. Besides that, I entertained a vivid literary correspondence.
Several inmates then were coming more and more regularly for some sort of advice. I had become a kind of prison-internal counselor.
One of these inmates was Tony, a Portuguese from Lisbon. I became friends with him and received from him my first lessons in Portuguese language.
Tony was in jail for a small theft and had only a few months to endure, but he suffered more from those few months than I had suffered from three years. The reason was that Tony was unable to handle his emotions, and was eaten up by strong feelings of self-pity and regret. He was reproaching to himself his theft as if it was the crime of the century and I saw a practical example for what Joseph Murphy explains in his books: the world we live in is of our own making, and it painstakingly mirrors our level of self-respect, or lacking self-respect.
Tony thought Portugal was good for childlove, but his very experience with prison showed me that all those judgments are relative in last resort. Had not the fat one shown me that also here in Italy love with little girls was not a problem, provided one had enough family backup, funds and self-esteem?
Another who repeatedly came and with whom I often went for the walk was an elder Pakistani who invited me to Pakistan. He said love with small girls was difficult in his culture because of the virgin taboo in Islamic society, but that love with young boys was no problem. In Pakistan, Western people were welcome and the culture very hospitable and did not see inconvenience to invite friends for sleeping in their home together with their children. And the follow-up, he smilingly added, was but a question of tact and discretion.
In the last weeks, I stopped all activities such as drawing and even music in order to fully focus upon the editing of my numerous writings. After my informatics course, I had learnt to program with Turbo Pascal and wrote, after I had completed Enrico’s psychology-software, several little programs.
I prepared for my liberation.
My mother and her partner promised to render my transition into freedom as easy and as enjoyable as possible. The basement floor of their new house was prepared as a flat for me. My mother said I could stay there as long as I wanted to.
She finally paid more than twenty thousand Deutsche Marks for the costs of trial and prison diet, and this surprised the authorities quite a bit. Enrico and other members of the social service said that such was unique in the whole of the judicial history of their country.
The day of my liberation the whole prison seemed to party and when we put the boxes and stuff in the car, we saw the heads of many inmates at the windows, waving arms greeting us goodbye.