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  • I want to tell you a story about Manson.

  • Manson was this 28-year-old interior designer,

  • a father to a loving daughter,

  • and a son

  • who found himself behind bars due to a broken-down judicial system.

  • He was framed for a murder he didn't commit

  • and was sentenced to the gallows.

  • There were two victims of this murder -- the victim who actually died in the murder

  • and Manson, who had been sentenced to prison

  • for an offense which he did not commit.

  • He was locked up in a cell, eight by seven,

  • with 13 other grown-up men

  • for 23 and a half hours a day.

  • Food was not guaranteed that you'd get.

  • And I remember yesterday,

  • as I walked into the room where I was,

  • I imagined the kind of cell that Manson would have been living in.

  • Because the toilet --

  • The row of the small rooms

  • that were there were slightly bigger than the eight-by-seven cell.

  • But being in that cell as he awaited the executioner --

  • because in prison, he did not have a name --

  • Manson was known by a number.

  • He was just a statistic.

  • He did not know how long he would wait.

  • The wait could have been a minute,

  • the executioner could have come the next minute,

  • the next day,

  • or it could have taken 30 years.

  • The wait had no end.

  • And in the midst of the excruciating pain,

  • the mental torture,

  • the many unanswered questions that Manson faced,

  • he knew he was not going to play the victim.

  • He refused to play the role of the victim.

  • He was angry at the justice system that had put him behind bars.

  • But he knew the only way he could change that justice system

  • or help other people get justice

  • was not to play the victim.

  • Change came to Manson when he decided to embrace forgiveness

  • for those who had put him in prison.

  • I speak that as a fact.

  • Because I know who Manson is.

  • I am Manson.

  • My real name is Peter Manson Ouko.

  • And after my conviction,

  • after that awakening of forgiveness,

  • I had this move

  • to help change the system.

  • I already decided I was not going to be a victim anymore.

  • But how was I going to help change a system

  • that was bringing in younger inmates every day

  • who deserve to be with their families?

  • So I started mobilizing my colleagues in prison, my fellow inmates,

  • to write letters and memoranda to the justice system,

  • to the Judicial Service Commission,

  • the numerous task forces that had been set up

  • in our country, Kenya,

  • to help change the constitution.

  • And we decided to grasp at those --

  • to clutch at those straws, if I may use that word --

  • if only to make the justice system work,

  • and work for all.

  • Just about the same time,

  • I met a young university graduate from the UK,

  • called Alexander McLean.

  • Alexander had come in with three or four of his colleagues from university

  • in their gap year,

  • and they wanted to help assist,

  • set up a library in Kamiti Maximum Prison,

  • which if you Google,

  • you will see is written as one of the 15 worst prisons in the world.

  • That was then.

  • But when Alexander came in,

  • he was a young 20-year-old boy.

  • And I was on death row at that time.

  • And we took him under our wing.

  • It was an honest trust issue.

  • He trusted us, even though we were on death row.

  • And through that trust,

  • we saw him and his colleagues from the university

  • refurbish the library with the latest technology

  • and set up the infirmary to very good standards

  • so that those of us falling sick in prison

  • would not necessarily have to die in indignity.

  • Having met Alexander,

  • I had a chance,

  • and he gave me the opportunity and the support,

  • to enroll for a university degree at the University of London.

  • Just like Mandela studied from South Africa,

  • I had a chance to study at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison.

  • And two years later,

  • I became the first graduate of the program

  • from the University of London from within the prison system.

  • Having graduated, what happened next --

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

  • Having graduated,

  • now I felt empowered.

  • I was not going to play the helpless victim.

  • But I felt empowered not only to assist myself,

  • to prosecute my own case,

  • but also to assist the other inmates

  • who are suffering the similar injustices that have just been spoken about here.

  • So I started writing legal briefs for them.

  • With my other colleagues in prison, we did as much as we could.

  • That wasn't enough.

  • Alexander McLean

  • and his team at the African Prisons Project

  • decided to support more inmates.

  • And as I'm speaking to you today,

  • there are 63 inmates and staff in the Kenya Prison Service

  • studying law at the University of London through distance learning.

  • (Applause)

  • These are changemakers who are being motivated

  • not only to assist the most indolent in society,

  • but also to help the inmates and others get access to justice.

  • Down there in my prison cell, something kept stirring me.

  • The words of Martin Luther King kept hitting me.

  • And he was always telling me, "Pete, if you can't fly,

  • you can run.

  • And if you can't run,

  • you can walk.

  • But if you can't walk,

  • then you can crawl.

  • But whatever it is, whatever it takes,

  • just keep on moving."

  • And so I had this urge to keep moving.

  • I still have this urge to keep moving in whatever I do.

  • Because I feel the only way we can change our society,

  • the only way we can change the justice system --

  • which has really improved in our country --

  • is to help get the systems right.

  • So, on 26th October last year, after 18 years in prison,

  • I walked out of prison on presidential pardon.

  • I'm now focused on helping APP -- the African Prisons Project --

  • achieve its mandate of training and setting up

  • the first law school and legal college behind bars.

  • Where we are going to train --

  • (Applause)

  • Where we are going to train inmates and staff

  • not only to assist their fellow inmates,

  • but to assist the entire wider society of the poor

  • who cannot access legal justice.

  • So as I speak before you today,

  • I stand here in the full knowledge that we can all reexamine ourselves,

  • we can all reexamine our situations,

  • we can all reexamine our circumstances

  • and not play the victim narrative.

  • The victim narrative will not take us anywhere.

  • I was behind bars, yeah.

  • But I never felt and I was not a prisoner.

  • The basic thing I got to learn

  • was that if I thought,

  • and if you think, you can,

  • you will.

  • But if you sit thinking that you can't,

  • you won't.

  • It's as simple as that.

  • And so I'm encouraged by the peaceful revolutionaries

  • I've heard on this stage.

  • The world needs you now, the world needs you today.

  • And as I finish my talk,

  • I'd just like to ask each and every single one of you here,

  • wonderful thinkers, changemakers, innovators,

  • the wonderful global citizens we have at TED,

  • just remember the words of Martin Luther King.

  • Let them continue ringing in your heart and your life.

  • Whatever it is,

  • wherever you are,

  • whatever it takes,

  • keep on moving.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

I want to tell you a story about Manson.

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B1 US TED manson prison victim assist justice

【TED】Peter Ouko: From death row to law graduate (From death row to law graduate | Peter Ouko)

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    Zenn posted on 2018/02/26
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