Letters letters from Ende Gelaende prisoners Nonta, Stanley and Vincent – Cottbus (German territory) prison, 17.02.2019.
Note: Enough 14 is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.
After the joint letter, Nonta, Stanley and Vincent now also speak individually. Read their letters (below) about the reasons of the Climate Heros for excavator occupation and their refusal to give their identity to the authorities.
Furthermore, the prisoners are still very happy about letters to the Cottbus JVA!
Justizvollzugsanstalt Cottbus-Dissenchen (Cottbus-Dissenchen Correctional Facility)
84 Gs 19/19 Stanley (UMP02)
84 Gs 20/19 Nonta (UMP03)
84 Gs 21/19 Vincent (UMP04)
03052 Cottbus, Germany
Tips for letters to prisoners can be found here (German).
Hey, I’m Nonta, in my early 30s, I’m a teacher of politics and physics, and I’ve been in jail for more than a week now for advocating climate justice. In the course of my studies I intensively dealt with possibilities of political participation. When I was still a student, I was taught that there were two ways to get politically involved: to vote every few years or to join a party.
Meanwhile I have noticed that the spectrum of political participation is much wider. With my work in the “Ende Gelände” alliance, I can achieve much more for climate justice than with a party membership in the SPD (which keeps us in prison here in Brandenburg). And if I occupy a brown coal excavator for one day, I can direct the public’s attention to this place of destruction. And these are only two possibilities to actively reshape politics and society.
The rise of the right in recent years, embodied by the AfD, shows people’s disenchantment with elites and politics. Almost 90 years ago, we had to experience with sorrow where this leads too. Therefore, as an activist and future teacher in politics, I appeal not to resign in the face of this unjust system, but to become active yourself and to fight for your own vision of a better society.
Solidary greetings, your Nonta
P.S. Thanks a million for all the letters we get every day! They give us a lot of strength and motivation to continue.
I’m Stanley. I am 23 years old and study mathematics. How did it happen that I am in prison because I climbed on a coal excavator?
It has been said that a healthy brain facing a problem that it cannot solve simply ignores the problem. This is how most people feel when they think about the destruction of our planet by industrial society.
I may have been lucky to have a year that I was paid but didn’t have to work much after my first two years of intensive study. I had a lot of time to think. The consequence was a depression when I tried unsuccessfully to find out the meaning of life. What I found out nevertheless is that our current economic and social system is really shitty and that it may not be a bad idea to invest a little energy in trying to change it.
I’m sitting here in my cell in Cottbus prison right now, trying to bring to mind why I ended up here. If someone had told me a few weeks ago that I would soon be writing letters from prison, I wouldn’t have believed him.
During the last action by small groups on February 4, 2019, which brought me here, I called myself Vincent. The guards call me UmP04, which stands for “unknown male number 4”. A few years ago I finished school, travelled abroad and did several internships. I quickly realized that my actual plan to do “something with media” didn’t fulfill me. At the same time, I was aware of a lot of the problems climate change is causing and who they affect most: People who own much less than the average citizen in Germany. Only later I realized that these people also contribute much less to climate change. I felt bad and didn’t know what to do, because it is very difficult to emit the 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per year that are actually allowed and at the same time remain part of society. I noticed the structural problem behind it and went to demonstrations, but most of the time we were not even noticed. That was even more frustrating. We are destroying our future and that of the many billions of people and animals living on this earth today and in the future, but the people who can really do something about it prefer to look at the growing GDP, rising export and import rates and the resulting consumption of our resources. I was particularly shocked, however, by the fact that the people of knowledge are already happy when they use a paper cup a second time and then reward themselves with another cup of coffee in a new paper cup.
This is how I came in contact with the climate justice movement. I became part of Ende Gelände and took part in small and big actions of civil disobedience. I noticed how well this form of action suits me, because I don’t commit any major crimes and can still show how important and urgent it is to curb climate change. I also appreciate the people I meet in the movement. I have met many exciting, cool and experienced people who have very social relationships with each other and with me. I learn a lot without people telling me how important it is, because we learn together. At the same time, however, I also had to make many bad experiences that shook my faith in our constitutional state. I saw a lot of exaggerated violence on the part of the police, which we had to endure following the example of Mahatma Gandhi.
But everything that had been experienced before was outshined by the experiences of this last action. During the evacuation of the excavator I was detained by two police officers. The one in front used a pain grip, so that I had to adapt all my movements to his, so that it did not become even more painful. Although I was completely cooperative, he used it and let me stumble against protruding iron parts of the excavator so that it hurts. This was very dangerous because people should not stumble down an icy coal excavator at a height of 40m. My wrist was still hurting the next day from those few minutes. People who were evacuated before and after me were hit even more brutally and they were dragged along the way. Until we were examined in the prison collection point, we could not move for several hours, sat in too tight belts with cable ties behind the back dislocated in the bus at temperatures around the freezing point, without being allowed to dress warmly enough. I had a fever the next day. We were also not allowed to drink, eat or go to the toilet, not even to change a tampon, which ended up quite stupid for one person. That was the way it was for six hours. When I was then registered in the prison collection point, I had to undress naked and bend down without having a doctor with me. Another violation of the law. My mobile phone has also somehow disappeared from the protocol and my backpack, I will probably never see it again. So it didn’t surprise me anymore that we only got fish to eat and weren’t allowed make a phone call for about 16 hours.
My faith in our constitutional state was shaken even more by the judiciary, which I had previously believed was acting objectively. While we were still thinking about going to the sauna later at the prison collection point on February 5, the next day, people from the judiciary decided to put us in pre-trial detention. This has never happened before with the accusation of trespassing. So far this has been ruled out by lawyers as completely disproportionate and even in the days of our imprisonment this view is still prevalent. We had to admit to ourselves that our imprisonment should set a precedent. Of course, we could give our names and after a few days at the latest we would be back in everyday life, but also the refusal to give of our identity is political. By occupying our excavator, we are not trying to gain a personal advantage, we are doing it as an active part of civil society. It should not matter who we are. Ultimately, the legal system is not interested in who is punished, otherwise it would not be so arbitrary for us either. Rather, it is an attempt to intimidate, and we do not allow ourselves to be intimidated and three of us have been in prison for over a week now. The others have given their identity and could leave. This is no coincidence that exactly we are left. The three of us are studying and do not have to go to work, to our family or anywhere else as urgently as the others. I’m sure people are angry with me because I don’t contact them for university tasks or other things. But I can also write my exams another time and simply hope that everyone else understands my situation, because in the end we remain here also representative for all who have handed in their personal data. We hope that this will not create a successful precedent that will harm the climate justice movement and other struggles in the future and try to persevere. I don’t want to promise anything.
This imprisonment is very different from what I had imagined. Instead of neo-Nazis and thieves, as is often the case with the media, most people are cool and in solidarity with us. We have to fight for every crap, we finally got vegan food after a week and many conversations with different people and there are problems with every little thing, but we can get along together and with the other prisoners here. It also helps tremendously to find out again and again what is happening outside and to know that there are people out there who help us. I could write much more about the experiences of the last week, but that will happen another time. I can definitely imagine now much better what it must mean to be in prison for months or even years. That’s a terrible idea. I think the time limit is very good for us. Now for a few weeks we walk outside in circles for an hour every day, play table tennis and cards for three hours with the people in our corridor, make requests for sport and paper and wait for our hearings. I very much hope that you, our supporters out there, don’t go overboard with the fear of abandoning us because we are doing well so far. We’re looking forward to having no more bars in front of our windows and seeing all the people out there waiting for us. I’m already looking forward to being actively politically active again, because it’s getting boring here. Although we have a lot of time here to think about how things like climate justice are related to the unrest in Southern Sudan and how this can be expressed, we lack access to knowledge and inspiration. Coffee also tastes better in everyday life. I’m looking forward to getting coffee with my returnable cup and if I forget to wash it, which often happens, having a paper cup given to me, because I’m by no means perfect. I don’t want to be a role model either, I’m too shy for that. That’s why I don’t know what every single person in Germany can do against climate change. I can only say what helps me against powerlessness and feelings of guilt. My recipe for well-being is activism.
A lot of love and strength from jail, called Cottbus Prison
Vincent or UmP04
P.S. Many greetings to the people in the detention center Rhineland!
Support Enough 14!
Donation for our work in the Enough 14 info-café and our independent reporting on our blog and social media channels. Even 1€ can make a difference.
Keep the Enough 14 blog and the Enough 14 Info-Café going. You can do that with a donation here, or by ordering stickers, posters, t-shirts , hoodies or one of the other items here or click at the image below.Support Enough 14! Donate!