An Open Letters Project for Hossein Derakhshan

Posts tagged ‘victoriacollis’

Letter #4: Victoria Collis

Dear Hossein

This is going to be a really quick letter, because as usual I’m supposed to be doing something else right now. But I wanted to make sure I wrote to you on the official Letters to Hoder Day, not least because I saw they’d let you out for another short visit, and there’s a chance you might actually get to read what people are saying. I told David about it too: he’s in Pakistan working like a maniac at the moment, but I know he’ll write if he possibly can.

I was thinking the other day about that conference in Greenwich we ran a few years back, when you came to run a workshop on blogging for us. Some of those delegates have gone on to do great things already. There’s Simon, who co-founded the Global Poverty Project, which is going great guns, with 27,000 people already committed do taking some kind of action. And there’s Andrea, who gave up her civil service job in Korea to volunteer on the GBA Ships project, and has been doing some amazing things with communities across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. I’m sure there are others – those are just the two I’ve spoken to most recently.

2007 already seems a long time ago to me. And that makes me realise it must be like another lifetime for you.

It also makes me think about a guy I knew who served some years in a UK prison in the late 80s and early 90s, and a conversation we once had about what it felt like being released. Phil told me that the hardest adjustments of all were to the small changes, like the fact that phone boxes (remember them?) had gone from taking coins to using prepaid cards. He described spying on other people using these newfangled gadgets, so that when he got into a phone box himself he’d know what to do, and wouldn’t look like a newly released prisoner.

I have to say at this point that Phil was always a great storyteller (in every sense of the word), so this may not actually be true. But the point is a good one. So it’s my hope that the hardest thing you have to face when you come home is figuring out how to work a smartphone and an i-Pad.

Thinking of you.