Rezwan Matin Ferdaus

Dear family and friends, Judge Stearns, all those listening today both near and far,

I, Rezwan Matin Ferdaus, stand before you all today to speak openly and at length, as accorded the opportunity to do so, in a particular moment in which I have never before spoken, amidst a situation I have never before experienced. As I embark on these words, this is a first for both speaker and listeners alike, as I get to express myself like this for the first time in this case and you get to hear from me.

As I stand here today, I find myself at the culmination of greater than a 399 day period of imprisonment in solitary confinement, a major transition in my life, and at a crossroads which is sure to affect myself and others. I stand here with a characteristic breath of experience and life behind locked doors, surrounded by concrete and various simple steel fixtures which constitute the trappings of a unique existence. Surely, since I first set foot into the current facility where I stay and began this new chapter in my life, much has changed.

With this small taste of the potential for a solitary and confined type of life, I can envision what may lie ahead, contemplating the tone and color of days to come, and at the same time I can dream of a brighter future. Though this condition may pose challenges as I traverse through peaks and valleys of life, God-willing, I will acclimate myself, adapt and continue subsisting. Regardless of the limits on my own physical space, I should never design to place a limit on my optimism, hope, and never stop aspiring for that which is better.

And so at this moment before you, I am in acceptance of my fate, am aware of the condition in which I am, but I hope for better and God-willing I will aspire for more. Although I speak to you for the first time in such a place, what I speak of finds itself time and time again in various modes of expression, especially in these kinds of moments. What I speak of here today is our humanity.

I, the other, the uniquely dressed, the lone man in these shoes, I speak of humanity. I, the son, the brother, the grandson, the nephew, the uncle, the cousin, the friend, I speak of humanity. Times like these allow us to gain insight into the spectrum of human experience, which in turn opens our eyes to the depth of life. There is so much humanity in the world, and sometimes it goes unnoticed until we are piqued by moments of poignancy and are primed to see more.

In today’s world filled with injustice, it is with the dehumanization of others in which attempts are made at justification of the inhumane. But who other than God knows best what it takes to make a good human. Only “HE” can tell us anyway. I know that I am not the first to go through this and not the last, but I want to emphasize all of our humanity. I refuse any speak against it as it has no ground and we are all almost inundated with humanity. That is something which can never be blighted, blocked or stamped out in any manner. We are all human beings and cannot be depicted as otherwise. And finally no dehumanication what so ever can serve as justification for inhumanity in other places.

In today's increasingly fast pace, technology driven world, there is much to be had in invention, crafting and building of hands, but much is left over of the capacity for humanity itself. If stock piles of consumption are in preference to mountains of character-enhancing experience, then there is a loss. Yet some may have notions and others minor experiences which indicated that there is so much more to be had, and that there is a full life to live on the horizon. And so you cannot neglect humanity, for in doing so you neglect the quality of life itself.

So as I draw to a close, I happily express the extent to which I have come to terms with my situation in this present condition which includes experience with hope, aspiration, optimism and much more, all of which may be coupled with trial, but all of which can be found in the annals of humanity. I find myself more learned and grown today than in days past and as such I have found meaning and value, and I hope I can impart some today as well.

I would like to thank God. I would like to thank all of my family and friends for their love, care, and never ending support. I love you all dearly. I always knew you were going to be there. Thank you very much.


Rezwan Matin Ferdaus