blogging behind bars
I found an unusual blog by chance: NÂgons mamma – nÂgons dotter (that’s Swedish for “Someone’s mother – someone’s daughter”), written by a woman in jail. She writes her blog posts in letters to her daughter, who posts them to the blog for her. Each post is titled “Mamma bloggar frÂ fengslet” (Mum blogs from jail) followed by the name of the jail she’s in and the number of the post. It’s very thoroughly done – the dates are “Mammas senaste blogg ‰r daterad den 20 Januari 2007;” (“Mum’s latest blog is dated January 20 2007”) and comments are left by, for instance, “din brors tjei” (“your brother’s girl”).
This is, I think, not simply an interesting blog to read but another example of the new stories we hear through blogs. Yes, a newspaper might have printed letters from a jail, and books have been published by people who have spent time in jail, but this directness is different: not only do we readers experience the distance to this woman as far less than if we read her words in a newspaper or a book, but this communication is important for her, and it seems, for her family.
And perhaps the implications are greater too. She writes how her letters to her daughter have been opened and read by the wardens. She’s upset by this – she agrees that it’s reasonable that letters to an inmate be opened, though she doesn’t agree that they should be read. But what is the reason for reading letters from an inmate? Shouldn’t inmates in jail have freedom of speech, as others do? Are her letters being read because the wardens know that parts of them are being posted to a blog?
Interesting questions, I think.