This week marked the 27th birthday of Chelsea Manning, the U.S. military whistleblower who currently sits in prison for leaking material to Wikileaks. Here are some birthday wishes for her from people who have spent time in similar circumstances.
The Guardian ran a feature yesterday of birthday messages for Chelsea Manning from 14 celebrity supporters, from Michael Stipe to Slavoj Zizek to Saul Williams. Random as hell, but thoughtful nonetheless. A few messages came in too late for The Guardian's deadline, and they were passed on to us. They're worth reading.
I am a retired AP journalist and Marine Vietnam veteran. I am often these days ashamed of my country when its leaders blatantly violate not just our constitution, but our ideals and principles. I am always proud of those who, feeling the same outrage, sacrifice themselves to fight back. You have shown yourself to be more of a hero than many others who claim to be serving America, and done so with dignity, knowing and accepting the consequences. One day, hopefully soon, our country will recognize that heroism. Meanwhile, stay strong in yourself. I was held for seven years by Shiite radicals in Lebanon. I know how soul-shattering imprisonment can be. I also know it is possible to survive it.
With respect, Terry Anderson
"Whistle blowers, who make state-crimes public, are heroes and not criminals. Their courage should be honored. This is the only way to avoid future crimes committed by officials. Chelsea Manning should be pardoned immediately."
From Talib Kweli, rapper:
Happy born day! I hope today finds you healthy, wealthy in spirit and strong in the face of adversity. Your courage has been inspirational to me on many levels, in my life and in my music. You have had to make choices I never have and can't imagine I ever will, but from where I'm standing, you decided to serve truth. As Malcolm X once said, "I stand for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against." Your struggle, like this quote, reminds me to stand strong in the face of hate, and celebrate love.
Leave your own birthday wishes for Chelsea Manning below. One day she'll be free to see them.