What It Takes

In all the decades that Robben Island served as the harshest of South African prisons for political prisoners, not a single one committed suicide.  The same cannot be said of the guards.  This fascinates me.  How I see it, it says so much about human beings, what feeds us, what we need to survive.  The guards had privacy, they had days off and better food and the official apparatus of their society standing behind them.  What did the prisoners have? Community and a sense of purpose.  Meaning.  Some days, breaking rocks in a quarry with heavy, ancient tools, at the mercy of cruel guards who hated them and their cause,  I imagine it felt like that was all they had.  As it turns out, that was okay.  It was all they needed.

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