My name is Martha Stewart, and I am writing from
a prison camp in the United States. I am quite famous
in America. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? I
control a media empire worth many millions of dollars.
But I have been sent to prison for some business
deals that the government said were illegal. I have
protested my innocence in court and in the media,
but the government refused to believe me and decided
to make an example of me instead. But perhaps I’m
preaching to the choir. :)
After dropping my appeal and beginning to serve
my sentence (5 months!) I decided to really get
into the whole incarceration experience. I want
to write a book and think I need to draw on the
experiences of other prisoners as well as my own
travails. Certainly the plight of you and your fellow
“mujahadeen” has garnered a great deal
of attention lately. So I figured you could provide
a unique perspective on prison life.
How are you doing? What is your cell like? Are the
guards nice? What about the other inmates? Do you
have access to recent newspapers and magazines,
or are you stuck with National Geographics from
20 years ago (like one inmate in Illinois I heard
from)? What do they feed you? Are they respectful
of your religious beliefs? What is the hardest thing
about being imprisoned (besides the obvious lack
of freedom)? What is the best thing about prison
(i.e., lots of time to read, working out, weight
loss because you don’t get the chance to snack,
etc.)? Do you have any interesting or funny anecdotes
about prison life at Guantanamo?
I also want to focus on the harsh realities of prison
life, not just the more positive aspects. So don’t
hesitate to write about those difficult moments
of hopelessness and desperation (fortunately I haven’t
had any of those yet—it’s only been
three weeks!). Writing can be therapeutic (another
benefit of incarceration). I encourage you to pour
your heart out to me, and let me tell the world.
I think you will find this exercise to be enlightening
and fun, yet also difficult. But most of all, I
think by taking inventory of your feelings you will
learn to embrace the hope that you can get on with
your life at the end of your sentence. Please include
the length of your sentence and your release date,
assuming good behavior. :)
I wish you the best and look forward to hearing
Your prison pen pal,
P.S. I have enclosed three cartons of cigarettes.
Some of my supporters keep sending them to me, and
I don’t smoke (although I suspect that some
of these “supporters” are actually jokesters,
but that’s neither here nor there). Plus,
at my facility they really aren’t traded as
currency as in other institutions. We all earn money
for our labor (raking leaves, cleaning the gameroom,
etc.) that we can keep and use in the cafeteria
and sundry shop. So smoke ‘em now that you
got ‘em! Hope you like menthol.
You American scum. You take me away from my home
country and lock me in this hell pit filled with
the stench of a thousand rotting pig carcasses baking
in the desert. You give me no access to a lawyer,
no hope of a trial, and no way of contacting my
family or anyone else. I may never leave. I don’t
have a “release date.” And I sure as
hell didn’t receive the cigarettes you allegedly
sent. And if you did send them, they are no doubt
being smoked by the infidel guards that routinely
harass, torture and shame me for their own pleasure.
Have you heard of Rage Against the Machine? Well,
I never had. Until I was forced to listen to their
debut album at deafening volume for 14 STRAIGHT
HOURS. Oh, and did I mention that during this listening
session my wrists were shackled to my ankles, I
was naked, and the AC was cranked at full blast
so that what is left of my testicles was dripping
And speaking of my testicles…I used to have
hair on them. But apparently 200 volts of electricity
can do some strange things to hair follicles. Now
I’m as bald down there as an infant. Perhaps
you’ve seen the photos on the Internet. I’ve
been told my family has, along with the entire population
of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
You make me sick. I don’t know what kind of
prison camp you’re in, but it doesn’t
sound like you have to urinate and defecate in front
of guards of the opposite sex. I get to do this
almost every day! Perhaps I can build a birdhouse
for you out of the feces that routinely lands in
my cell from the other inmates that toss it around
like pebbles at the stone pillars of Mecca.
Good luck with your book. You are the devil.
I found the tone of your letter to be more than
a bit dark and antagonistic. I am simply trying
to write an honest account of prison life. I understand
that things are tough in prison. I’m in prison,
remember? And I understand that I asked you to pour
your heart out to me. But you ignored many of my
questions and cursed me as if I had something to
do with your imprisonment. Perhaps you are innocent
(as am I, remember?). But I am here, and you are
there, and there’s precious little either
of us can do about it. So why not make better use
of the time than writing vile letters of hate?
I think I have heard enough of the hardships you
have faced. Now how about enlightening me about
some of the more positive aspects of your incarceration.
Have you made new friends? Have you had more time
to study the Koran or perhaps even the Bible? Surely
there must be something. Search deep within your
heart, and I am confident you will find it.
Your letters brighten my day like the glistening
stream of urine being poured over my head by one
of the criminal guards here, as happened yesterday.
I apologize for my tone, but my life here has been
an eternity of pain and suffering. I understand
that you are an important person in America, despite
your legal problems. Please help me. Please do whatever
you can to get me out of here. I need a lawyer.
Can you find me one? Can you speak to someone in
the government about the brutal conditions and torture
at this prison? I will do anything to get out of
here. I know you are a kind woman and would do anything
to help another human being in pain.
I am desperate. You are my only hope. Please...
I know things are tough, but we have to let the
process work. When I took my company public, it
was a much harder road than most people think. There
were endless meetings with venture capitalists,
many of whom assaulted me with questions about the
long-term viability of this venture. Many of them
turned their backs on me, like Judas. And yet we
were wildly successful! Even with my legal problems,
the company is still doing well. They all wish they
had come on board. And now their lives are as dark
and miserable as they ever were, and will forever
be. I had my revenge. You shall have yours. It will
just take time and persistence. Hang in there. I
know the powers-that-be in Washington are working
out the details of your trial or even your release,
depending on how useful you have been to interrogators
and how dangerous they think you still might be.
So focus on the future. That’s what I do.
When I get out of this camp, I’m going to
come back with a furious vengeance. People will
see how strong I am, how this doesn’t even
bother me in the SLIGHTEST! The U.S. Attorney’s
office had better WATCH THEIR BACK. I will show
my stockholders, my board, my employees, my fans,
my detractors, the government and the world that
you cannot drag me down without invoking my WRATH!
SOME WILL PAY, BUT ALL WILL GENUFLECT BEFORE THE
ALTAR OF MARTHA STEWART!!!!
I must ask you to discontinue your correspondence.
You’re starting to frighten me, and I am afraid
any association with you could jeopardize my release.
I support the U.S. government and harbor no ill-will
towards them or the citizens of the United States.
Praise be to Allah, and peace be with you and the
people of America.