This blog of mine was going to be beautiful. I worked it all out. I was going to reflect on my filming visit last week to the excavations of Sephoris, an ancient Jewish, mixed city that flourished in the first centuries BCE (it was the Capital of Northern Israel because it did not adhere to the Jewish zealots who wanted it to join the futile rebellion against Rome. The cities that rebelled, like Jerusalem or Masada were destroyed and their inhabitants massacred. Instead, Sephoris signed a peace treaty with Rome and as a result, not only grew and expanded, but has also become a multi-cultural, tolerant city—Judaism’s most important spiritual center after the destruction of Jerusalem, and a home for early Christian groups and even Pagans. Pagan temples existed in Sephoris alongside churches and synagogues. I was going to reflect on the forgotten message of Sephoris, a city barely known outside academic circles or church-going crowds (it is only 10 minutes from Nazareth, by car) while Mesada, for example, has become a place visited by millions…a mere symbol.
As I drafted this meditative blog, I received Mark Stroman’s most recent blog. Since Mark is mailing his blogs (written by hand after his typewriter was taken away), they need first to be typed by his dedicated friend. The result is a short time delay.
After reading his blog, I have decided that some of my reflections can wait for another time. It is more urgent to publish this blog here, while in Mark’s regular space we keep publishing his blogs as they arrive (this week, for example, we publish his blog from June 22nd.)
The truth is that I am furious. We spent so much time on “Johnny Sacks meals” during a previous lockdown (in which Mark and other inmates lost so much weight) but obviously, we did not make a dent in the prison menu. Just a few months later and we are back fighting about the same thing. This peculiar diet, I do have to agree with Mark, is cruel and unusual punishment and as The New York Times mentioned in a June 28th , 2009 editorial it is also profitable.
Read below what Mark wrote and help us publicize it in the united States and abroad.
Texas Death Row
July 9, 2009 4:45am
Welcome to my nightmare,
Tales from a dead man
We are entering the fourth day of this lockdown and it’s for another yearly shakedown. The worst is yet to come folks. This is a place that smells of death, misery, sadness and it seems to only get worse as the days go by. We do have two executions set for the 16th and the 23rd of this month and what a helluva way to spend the final countdown on lockdown eating those dreadfull Johnny Sacks. Cruel and unusual punishment.
Each day you can look down the “run” and see dozens upon dozens of peanut butter ooz sandwiches, we can’t eat these things. This year you can’t even hold the bag without getting your hands greasy. This is wrong and here’s the menu for the last few days. You will notice from the blog I sent out a few days ago, there had been prunes and raisins included, but that has come to a halt.
Meals fed on July 7th, Johnny Sacks:
3:36am 3 pancakes in a bag, cereal, raisins No drink
1:18pm peanut butter ooz sandwich, fish mash sandwich, cereal No drink
4:25pm peanut butter ooz sandwich, soy patty No drink
Meals fed on July 8th, Johnny Sacks:
3:15am 3 pancakes in a bag, cereal No drink
10:49am burrito, raw potato, peanut butter ooz sandwich No drink
4:24pm 2 corn dogs, peanut butter ooz sandwich No drink
So you see, no fruits, no milks and trust me, these things I call peanut butter sandwiches are NOT the ones that come to mind or resemble any you have had in the past. NOT made by grandma. These are scattered all over the floors of every run on this pod. Wonder why?
Well folks, that’s about all for this session. I’ll close this out but will be back with more news of this lockdown.
Mark Anthony Stroman
Living to Die ~ Dying to Live!
My heart sank when I heard they were back on those awful diets. As much as it was publicised last year, its still difficult to get many people to care about the welfare of a death row inmate. It also appears trying to do anything the right way is a waste of time with Texas, it falls on deaf ears. Maybe this time around, the governor and his henchmen can try the diet for a week or two and see how it suits them. After all a good leader will never make a person do what he wouldn’t do himself right? We can have complimentary peanut butter sandwiches sent to him every morning noon and night to save him the trouble of preparing it himself? I’m sure we could find some willing volunteers? He may not be solely responsible for this particular diet, but he is responsible for not preventing it.
wrote how many other people to Mark to death row. Did know an inward-looking people learned.’m Mark Anthony grateful for his brief but rich friendship. I’m going to keep his letters in honor and Tell everyone wants to hear it, who is Mark Anthony Stroman was. I wrote to him from Germany. Mark Anthony, I promised you abe something that I will keep it. RIP my good friend