A thank you to SSO supporters in 2011
Kolbassia, coordinator of the Survivors Speak OUT (SSO) network, reflects on 2011 - the first year of Survivors Speak OUT's activities
The year would have been different for SSO without your help and support to do what we do best: "speaking up".
Needless to say that we have come a long way in only one full year of active, meaningful engagement from SSO – but we did share a lot together. I remember you, my friend, of News From Nowhere telling me how inspiring my talk was for you but, being honest, you are the inspiration that keeps us wanting to tell you more about our quest for a torture-free world.
When I was sad standing at the BT Tower looking down at the beautiful city of London you did ask me to smile as I have forgotten that a smile is the cure for sadness and that day the smile opened up my heart and it let flow the light of happiness.
Lunar House is a daunting place for torture survivors claiming asylum, but when I did show up and opened the door to share with you my experience of what happened there – so that you can better understand me and better work with me – you gladly welcomed me in and afterward told me this: "We really valued having you there. The day went really well and I can tell you that your session was one that staff was really looking forward to." I hope that you really listen to what I had to say and make things easier for those that come after me.
It is not that we are strangers; we all work toward same the goals to serve our fellow human beings and dearly protect their rights.
When I went to your school St Simon Stock Catholic in Kent not to learn A,B,C you enlightened me with your knowledge of who survivors of torture are, accepted after hearing me that you had a preconception of who I was. I want to say that you fill me with your youthful energy.
When sharing my experience of life after torture in the UK in one of the auditorium in Reading University, you dropped a couple of tears for my pain and while in Birmingham University you tapped my back and told me, "don't feel alone, we are in that fight with you."
Dear friend of SSO, we want to say thank you for all your support throughout 2011 without which we could have not have had a successful first year of action.
May this coming year 2012 bring you more joy and pushing us further down the road to clear the world from torture.
Happy New Year