Chelsea Manning is one of the great heroes of our time. She released secret government documents that described a litany of crimes committed by the American state. In the process, she influenced the Arab Spring and the US withdrawal from Iraq. The state-enabled criminals she exposed have not been held accountable, though their ranks include murderers, torturers, and child rapists. Instead, Chelsea has been punished for exposing these crimes. She was tortured with solitary confinement prior to her trial and then sentenced to decades in prison.
Today marks Chelsea Manning’s 27th birthday, and I’ve been glad to see an outpouring of support for this heroic whistleblower and political prisoner. Gawker posted birthday wishes for her today from journalist Terry Anderson, former Guantanamo detainee Murat Kurnaz, and rapper Talib Kweli. Yesterday, The Guardian posted birthday wishes for her from fellow whistleblower Edward Snowden, rapper Lupe Fiasco, and many others.
I hope someday, the sooner the better, Chelsea Manning will be able to celebrate her birthday free from the state’s prisons. Until then, I wish her a happy birthday and as much freedom and happiness as possible.
To learn how to write to Chelsea Manning, check out this guide from the Chelsea Manning Support Network.