Nichijo: The Testimony of John Provoo 

Chapter Thirteen

End of the Tunnel

          It was finally October 27, 1952, when my trial actually began: a little more than ten years after the fall of Corregidor. Judge Noonan ominously excused 40 potential jurors because they opposed capital punishment. Seven women and five men were ultimately chosen as the jury. I was satisfied with them. They seemed honest and intelligent people.

        At the West Street law library, I had given myself a quick course in constitutional law. The U.S. Constitution requires that in order to find someone guilty of treason, two eyewitnesses to each overt act must testify in open court, or the defendant must make an open confession, in court. Statements made outside the courtroom may not be used. Rules of law also require that the prosecution prove that there was a willing intent to commit treason. Treason may not be constructed by the definition of an observer, treason must arise from within the motives of the traitor, and he must be shown to have been in his right mind, and not acting out of duress, in fear of his life or under threat of physical harm.

        The prosecution's task then, is a clearly defined and definite procedure. Two witnesses must be found to testify to each overt act. The defense, however, has a much more difficult task: what omniscient witness could testify that any given act never occurred? Only the defendant, of course, knows the facts. The defense must rely on witnesses of the sort that, knowing the defendant and the circumstances, would know that the acts were unlikely to have occurred, or occurred in ways that were misrepresented by the prosecution. The defense may also attack the testimony of the prosecution witnesses on its accuracy as recalled; its vindictive bias against the defendant because of events not in themselves treason; or by inference that the testimony is perjured because of bribery, coercion or vendetta. The defense may also seek to excuse the defendant because he acted under duress, or that he did not know right from wrong at the time the acts were committed.

        Anyone who has made even a cursory study of Japanese treatment of their POW's in WW II would have to agree that there couldn't have been any POW that was not under duress for the entire term of his captivity. The Japanese forces were the most brutal in history.

        In 1937, at the outset of their conquest of China, the Japanese high command made a monstrously callous effort to establish a reputation of unearthly terror which in itself would be counted among their weapons of war, a weapon which could be referred to in the polite chambers of American jurisprudence as "duress".

        As they closed in on the old Chinese capital of Nanking, contending factions within the Japanese military were promoting opposing policies of occupation to their superiors. One faction maintained that the victors should demonstrate benevolent administration of the conquered city, thereby encouraging the easy surrender of the conquests that lay ahead. The other faction held that the occupation should be a demonstration of such utter horror and butchery to punish the considerable resistance that had been offered, that potential defenders of future conquests would dare not oppose them at all. The latter argument was adopted as policy.

        From the middle of December 1937 to the middle of January, 80,000 Japanese troops were turned loose in Nanking to systematically do their worst. By the end of that horrible month, the massacre of the surrendered and unarmed captives amounted to well over 100,000. They, and an additional 50,000 hapless civilians were murdered by every imaginable means; shot, beheaded, burned, buried alive; drowned, smashed and dismembered. Thousands were tied to stakes and used for bayonet practice, so that young Japanese soldiers might overcome their squeamishness about bayonetting living people. Over 20,000 Chinese women were mercilessly gang-raped and often murdered when they became too pitiful to be of further service. This hideous episode well established the desired reputation.

        During the siege of Singapore in 1942, Japanese troops penetrated British lines and overran a hospital. They massacred nearly everyone including the patients, which they bayonetted in their hospital beds.

        After the fall of Bataan, 70,000 American and Filipino captives were marched sixty-five miles to the north without food or water. Emaciated from months of miniscule ration and sick from numerous tropical diseases, they were bayoneted or beheaded if they fell behind or offered any resistance to orders. 10,000 had been killed in this way while the battle for Corregidor reached its conclusion.

        The story of Allied POW's in Japanese hands is one of summary executions, arbitrary beatings, death by starvation, diseased prisoners being worked to death under the gun, and even incidents of cannibalism. Any POW accused of treasonable acts could have easily established a defense of extreme duress.

        To me, the matter of a defense based on duress was out of the question. None of the allegedly treasonable acts on Corregidor had occurred, and the radio broadcasts were made under the orders of superior officers. Whatever the penalty threatened, I could not bring myself to consider that sort of defense. The attorneys who showed enthusiasm for the prospects of acquittal on these grounds were shown the door.

        Likewise, I regarded the insanity defense out of the question. When I was six years old, I had fallen from a second story balcony onto a concrete courtyard and had fractured my skull. I lay in a hospital bed for a week, unconscious. It was doubtful that I would recover at all, and if I did, I would likely have suffered permanent damage.

        All my life, I seem to have exhibited an emotional volatility and an exaggerated sense of seriousness about my inner conflicts. In 1939 I had visited an "alienist" for advice about my conflicts. On Bataan, I had contracted cerebral malaria and it been testified to that I suffered breakdowns on Corregidor and at Bilibid Prison. I had been in and out of psychiatric wards throughout my postwar Army enlistment. Army doctors had repeatedly offered me the "side door" out of my troubles. In short, I could have easily documented a defense of insanity, but I would not. I had no need of such a defense; I had acted courageously at every turn on Corregidor, and from Radio Tokyo, I had broadcast under orders from superiors. Even the prosecutors had provided repeated opportunities for me to avoid trial by reason of insanity, but when I was sent to Bellevue and to Staten Island, I was careful to do everything I could do to demonstrate that I was sane, sane enough to stand trial, and sane enough to face the indictments and denounce them as false.

        Of the twelve original acts in the indictment, five were thrown out by Judge Noonan before the case went to the jury. Of the seven that remained, the jury could only agree on four. They found me guilty of offering my services to the Japanese, contributing to the death of Captain Thomson and participating in two radio broadcasts.

        Many of the witnesses against me probably believed that I had been working for the Japanese. Some had been so convinced at the time that they had privately asked me if I would help them offer their services to the Japanese. They had no doubt been embittered by my tacit refusal to do so. They all had three and a half years of the deprivation of prison camp to nurture the idea that I had made a deal with the enemy for myself, and not for them. One had attempted to murder me in my hospital bed by injection of a lethal overdose.

        Many testified to their rumor-based bias and hatred for me prior to the time when they had allegedly witnessed any overt act.

        Two testified that they had believed me to be disloyal even before the fall of Corregidor.

        Two of the prosecution's witnesses became witnesses for the defense.

        Two pairs of witnesses in the Captain Thomson incident contradicted each other about details that should have been plain.

        Two witnesses told of me nearly being beheaded by Japanese officers in two separate incidents; odd, that the Japanese would be so willing to kill such an allegedly valuable collaborator.

        To be fair, it must be said that whatever creative testimony was presented by the prosecution witnesses, might have been the work of individuals who believed me guilty, and determined that I would escape punishment if they didn't create eyewitness accounts of events they believed to have happened.

        One was an American officer in military intelligence on active duty at the time of the trial.

        Several of the witnesses had been brought from Japan. To them, an all expense paid trip to New York must have been a very attractive prospect.

        One of these witnesses was taking a vacation from a sentence of thirty years at hard labor for his war crimes. Incredibly, he was the Japanese sergeant who actually killed Captain Thomson.

        One, Ruth Hayakawa, had been an English-speaking broadcaster at Radio Tokyo. She could have been as easily cast as "Tokyo Rose" as had Iva Toguri. She had been called to testify three years before at Iva's trial in San Francisco, along with a large group of Japanese witnesses. After the trial, many of the group had been brought to New York to testify at my grand jury hearing. Ruth Hayakawa would later describe the trip as a sightseeing excursion, a "Sunday picnic".

        There was an odd connection between two of my lawyers and two of the prosecution's witnesses. Both Murray Gottesman and George Plotkin had worked for the U.S. Judge Advocate at the War Crimes trials in postwar Tokyo. Sergeant Seitaro Fukita had been defended by Murray Gottesman and had been convicted of executing Captain Thomson. Another prosecution witness, USAF Captain Sakakida, had also been a prosecution witness at Fujita's trial. Plotkin and Gottesman knew a great deal more about Sakakida's wartime experiences than they could use in court.

        On the first day of the trial, the jury was picked and the defense made motions for dismissal on several issues. First, the Army had held me without charges and without counsel for eight months after the war, had completely investigated my entire case while the memories of those involved were still fresh. I had been cleared of suspicion and given an honorable discharge and this present trial constituted double jeopardy. Motion denied.

        Second, I had been held without charges and without counsel on numerous occasions during my second period of enlistment in the Army. Motion denied.

        Third, that the court had no jurisdiction since the alleged events had taken place in the Pacific. Motion denied.

        On October 28, the second day of the trial, the prosecution and defense teams made their opening statements. Prosecutor Moses Kove portrayed me as a "perfidious traitor" who had been sympathetic to the Japanese cause, had helped mistreat my fellow prisoners and was indirectly responsible for the death of an American captain who had refused to do the Japanese bidding; that I went to the Japanese and said that I spoke the language, was a Buddhist and had offered my services; that I shaved my head, wore Japanese garb and had enjoyed freedom of movement within a few days of capture; that in a fit of anger I had reported Captain Thomson, who was taken out and shot by a Japanese sergeant and an enlisted man.

        Murray Gottesman and George Plotkin painted me in a much different light. They described me as a sincere young man who had been a devotee of Buddhism from an early age, that I had spent a year in a monastic school in Japan, that I was a soldier who professed my love for my country night after night, who believed my country would be victorious and said so; that I was pressed into service as an interpreter; that I was driven into erratic, but not traitorous behavior by the privations of prison camp, and had only done what my superiors had told me to do. Above all, the defense would prove that the charge of being responsible for Captain Thomson's death was absolutely unfounded. The defense would show that Major Cousens and Captain Ince had issued orders to broadcast and that they would appear as witnesses.

        The prosecution's portion of the trial was twenty days of testimony during which I sat dumbfounded as I listened to people I had met briefly on Corregidor and who recounted ugly, distorted and embellished accounts of what had happened there. It was only the fact that they kept using my name that I could keep in mind that they were testifying about me. My behavior had been unprecedented, and perhaps even bizarre, of that I was well aware: but the portrait drawn by the prosecution caricaturized me as treacherous, evil, and even fiendish.

        The case against me had been pending during the entirety of Irving Saypol's tenure as U.S. Attorney. In January of 1952, he had been inducted as a justice in the New York State Supreme Court. He had won many important convictions as a federal prosecutor including the Rosenbergs'. Now, in the middle of November 1952 he was still involved in bringing my trial to a conclusion, and at the same time, having troubles of his own. A man named Armand Chankalian had been chief clerk and administrative assistant in the U.S. Attorney's office, Southern District of New York for fourteen years. On November 14, Chankalian testified before a State Crime Commission hearing that a number of high government officials including Judge Saypol, had had social contacts with, and dined with underworld chief, Thomas Luchese also known as "Three Finger Brown".

        Saypol was eager to end my trial, and asked the Plotkins to consider a plea bargain. The Plotkins replied that they wouldn't dare carry such an offer to me. I would hit the roof. Saypol would have to present it to me himself, face-to-face.

        I was taken down to the federal courthouse at Foley Square and ushered into Saypol's office. Saypol asked the U.S. Marshal who had escorted me in to leave the room, then offered me a cigar, which I accepted.

        Saypol began, "You know we've got the goods on you and we're going to burn you..." I broke in: "Mr. Saypol, I only consented to come down here to see you to tell you I am not guilty of any of these charges." Saypol flushed with anger and called the marshal back in. "Get him out of here, get him out of my sight! Gimme that cigar." and he snatched it from my hand.

        The marshal led me back downstairs, but when we reached the holding cell, word came that Saypol had called down and ordered me to be brought back to his office. This time I didn't bother to sit down. Saypol made his proposal. "Come on now, why don't you be reasonable. Get the government off the hook. Just pick any count in the indictment, give us a statement of culpability in court, and we'll send you to the country club at Danbury. You'll be out in 18 months." I replied, "So now you're going to trade with the traitor. Well, you don't have my price, Mr. Saypol, and I'm going to take you all the way!" I was returned to West Street, and the trial resumed.

        The prosecution had decided to abandon the attempt to convict me on all but two of the broadcast charges. When the prosecution abruptly ended its case on December 10, it had failed to provide the constitutionally required two witnesses to each alleged act of treason. However, the effect on me had been exhausting and emotionally devastating; and the effect on the jury was irreversible. The sheer number of prosecution witnesses, even though their testimony did not concern counts of the indictment on which I was convicted, created an overall tone that was impossible to erase from the jury's memory.

        My mood was morose by December 10 and I had little hope that the defense would be able to alter the course of the trial. The defense called one important witness before the proceedings were adjourned for the holidays: General Jonathan Wainwright. The prosecution had made a pronouncement early in the trial that General Wainwright would take the stand to corroborate the testimony of the star prosecution witness, but the general had refused. Instead, when the defense requested that he testify in my behalf, Wainwright managed to come from his sickbed in Texas to do so.

        General Wainwright made an impressive witness, and he spoke of the horrible days on Corregidor and the years of prison camp, some of which he had spent at Karenko and Shirakawa at the same time as me. Nevertheless, the only statements that he could truthfully make about my case was that he had not witnessed or heard of any act of treason on my part during that entire time. It was not exactly testimony that could refute the specific allegations of the indictment. Wainwright did testify that he and other Generals had been forced to do menial labor by the Japanese, and that they had even been forced to write commentaries and to make some broadcasts. Again his testimony did little to tear into the heart of the government's case. His appearance had been a great boost to my morale, but of little real help.

        During the holiday adjournment, Gottesman was dispatched to the Far East to get depositions from Japan and Australia, but year's end delays in Japan prevented him from completing the most important part of his mission; going to Australia to get Major Cousens' statement, which was vital to my defense against the broadcast charges.

        Wallace Ince, still on active duty with the Army, had been transferred out of the country and therefore inaccessible to subpoena: There would be virtually no defense to the charges of broadcasting for the Japanese except my own testimony.

        When the trial resumed, the defense team produced a number of witnesses that had known me well on Corregidor and during the years of prison camp on Taiwan. They were people who had been close to me and to the events that had been so grossly misinterpreted. They all testified to my loyalty, my efforts to make life better for my fellow prisoners, and that I had had as much apprehension about falling into enemy hands as any of them.

        My friend Ray Makepeace testified that I was a patriot, and that I would have preferred that the besieged garrison fight to the death rather than surrender.

        Navy Lieutenant Sam Bowler, when called as a prosecution witness, had been extremely careful in his testimony not to allow his words to be distorted to fit the government's scenario. Lt. Bowler returned to the stand as a defense witness to add that I had been " all respects, very much a perfect gentleman," and to make sure that it was understood that I had never received any kind of favor or preferred treatment for any of the interpreting I had done between the Japanese and Allied personnel.

        A former Army physician, Colonel Braddock testified that I had often risked getting beaten up by interceding on behalf of other prisoners.

        Several witnesses came to the stand to testify to my constant attempts to ease conditions for all prisoners, and that I hadn't been rewarded by the Japanese for anything that I did.

        George Dixon testified to a specific incident when he had been brutally beaten by the Japanese and that I had interceded and was able to get them to stop.

        Colonel Menzies and his wife, Mary Bernice Menzies, both appeared in my defense. They had been married about a month before the surrender in Malinta Tunnel. He had been my immediate superior and she had been a nurse in Malinta Hospital. They both testified that I had saved the Colonel's life and that I had been able to prevent a rape in the nurse's quarters. They had been close to me in the days after the surrender, they had both been in Malinta hospital at the time when most of the incidents were suppose to have happened, and they would have certainly known about it if I had been working for the Japanese.

        Dr. Heimbach testified that he had known me well in Malinta Tunnel and the hospital and that he knew that I had been the object of many suspicions, and that he had also known for a fact that they were unfounded. Dr. Heimbach had been the one that had found me near death from another doctor's murder attempt, and had revived me. He testified obliquely to that fact by saying that many Allied personnel would have killed him if they had gotten the chance. Both Heimbach and I knew that the would-be murderer had testified for the prosecution.

        Dr. Heimbach testified that I had walked with "a curious dignity and floating steps" and that it had exacerbated the suspicions about me. Indeed, I had been experiencing a much different level of awareness than those around me, "living in another world." Even those closest to me and who knew the indictment to be false could have truthfully testified that I was not quite in touch with reality: I would have to agree with that; I was not absorbed in their reality, I had access to a perfect world that existed within their hell. I was out of touch, at times, with the everyday reality, but not insane.

        In the entirety of the defense's efforts, there was no attempt made to directly oppose the government's allegations or to say that they were false and completely fabricated. The only one who could testify to that directly was myself.

        I took the stand to testify in my own behalf, vehemently denying all the government's charges. I testified that it had been my intent through the entire term of captivity on Corregidor to aid all the captured personnel using whatever devices available to me to improve conditions for them.

        The defense placed into evidence documents that demonstrated that the Army, after making a lengthy investigation immediately at the end of the war, had cleared me of all charges, had given me an honorable discharge, allowed me to re-enlist, and had even recommended me to Officer's Candidate School.

        The prosecution in cross examination attempted to get me to acknowledge a statement that I had signed during one of the innumerable interrogations conducted by a variety of government agents during the course of my lengthy incarceration. I insisted that I couldn't have known what the statement said and still have signed it. I had signed it without reading it.

        Finally, in an attempt to complete the unsavory portrait of me in the eyes of the jury, Saypol revealed that I had been charged with an alleged homosexual act during my second Army enlistment.

        The jury returned a verdict of guilty on four counts: 1) that I had offered my services to the Japanese, 2) that I had contributed to the death of Captain Thomson, and 3) and 4) that I had participated in two propaganda broadcasts.

        Even after they had found me guilty of treason, I remarked that if I had been on that jury, and had to decide on the testimony presented them, that I would have voted guilty as well. I could understand how the jury had been led to this erroneous conclusion, but the prosecution had failed to fulfill the constitutional requisites for a conviction of treason, that there be two witnesses to an overt act of treason, or that the defendant make an admission of guilt in open court.

        Two witnesses to an overt act of offering my services to the Japanese would both have had to be present at the same time and would both have to understand the Japanese language. The witness who had been produced to corroborate the testimony of the prosecution's star witness could not. He could only testify that I had said something in Japanese. The star witness himself, Air Force Intelligence Captain Richard Sakakida, had been captured on Corregidor and had spent the war years in the Philippines, and was forced to admit under Plotkin's cross examination that he had served as interpreter for a Japanese kangaroo court in Manila that resulted in the executions of five American officers. Had Sakakida been subjected to the same bias and suspicion that I had been, it would have been Sakakida on trial for his life. It was further established that he had served for nearly two years on the staff of General Yamashita, who was later hanged as a war criminal.

        Two witnesses to the alleged overt act that was supposed to have contributed to Captain Thomson's death should have been produced. They were not. The prosecution did not even identify a specific alleged act nor demonstrate a causal relationship between it and the execution of Captain Thomson: Presumably, it was to have been something that I had said to a Japanese guard, and it would have had to have been made in Japanese. There would have to had been two Japanese-speaking witnesses both present at the scene and in the courtroom. There were not.

        There were not two witnesses to my allegedly treasonous broadcasts. It must have seemed odd that in 18 months of participation in broadcasts with over 40 other Allied POW's, that there were only two which were "traitorous". The worse of the two was one made when the POW's had first arrived in Tokyo; one that I had been ordered to read over my objections. The portion quoted in the courtroom was that Pearl Harbor had occurred " a result of diplomatic blunders and pursuant of a selfish dictatorial foreign policy toward Japan."

        Finally, the government failed to show that I had any intent to commit treason. Nevertheless, I was sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Noonan, February 17, 1953.

        I was returned to West Street where I was held for the next year and a half while my motions were considered simultaneously by Judge Noonan in District Court and by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Appellate Court reversed my conviction on August 27, 1954.

        The reversal was based on two strong points. First, that the prosecution had no right to bring up the issue of the homosexual charge: "...No authority has been cited that homosexuality indicates a propensity to disregard the obligation of an oath. The sole purpose and effect of this examination was to humiliate and degrade the defendant and increase the probability that he would be convicted, not for the crime charged, but for his general unsavory character. Permitting it was an error. The error was plainly prejudicial." The second point in the court's decision was that I had been arrested in Maryland at the point when the Army had decided not to press its own charges, but still held me in confinement at the Justice Department's request. The law reads that trial for an offense committed out of jurisdiction of any state or federal judicial district shall be conducted in the district where the offender is "found", meaning first apprehended, arrested or taken into custody under charges later found in the indictment. Therefore the District Court in New York had no jurisdiction. The prosecution had been its own undoing. Its own dirty tricks had been its weakness.

        The successful appeal, however, did not set me free, since it did not rule on my guilt or innocence. My status was again one of a suspected traitor held without bail. A new grand jury was convened in Baltimore, Maryland, in the district of proper venue.

        I learned a great deal about constitutional law in my five years at West Street and had studied every case of treason on the books. I wrote my own petition for a writ of habeas corpus and motions to dismiss the new indictment on grounds that I had been denied a speedy trial and that further prosecution would deny me my rights under the Fifth Amendment regarding the due process of law.

        On November 25, 1954, I was taken to the District Court in Baltimore where I pleaded not guilty. I had felt renewed by the successful appeal in New York and I felt in retrospect that the experience would prove a valuable rehearsal. I was eager to confront the charges against me: It couldn't be any worse than New York and I sensed that the vigor had gone out of the government's resolve.

        Since the Federal government had no detention facilities in Baltimore, I was taken to the City Jail. I spent about three months there.

        Abruptly, on March 14, 1955, Judge Roszel Thompson set me free. In his 33-page decision, Judge Thompson granted my own motion to dismiss the entire case.

        Judge Roszel C. Thompson was an honest and astute veteran of the Federal bench. From the very first hearing before Judge Thompson, I could sense that he seemed impatient with the Federal prosecutors and horrified about all the delays and manipulations that the Justice Department had employed in my case. On March 14th he had said almost in disgust to the prosecutors that he wanted this man released immediately and that he wouldn't entertain any objections. His decision described, in the section entitled "findings of fact", all the relevant details of my history; my adolescent interest in Buddhism, my monastic studies in Japan, an outline of my wartime movements, my incarceration after the war, my release, my honorable discharge, my re-enlistment, my various periods of confinement while in the Army. Then Judge Thompson recounted the details of the conspiracy to have me tried in New York. Quoting from a memorandum of a telephone conversation between Pentagon Liaison Officer Colonel Miller and Noel Story, an attorney with the Justice Department concerning my treason case:

        "Mr. Story: I discussed the Provoo situation with Mr. Whearty and Mr. Foley. You people have to take some action; would it be possible for the Army to go ahead and take action under Section 8, and if the action is to the effect that Provoo will be released from the Army, would it be possible that he be discharged in New York so as to bring him within the jurisdiction of the (Southern) District Court?' The reason for this is that if we pick him up or arrest him in San Francisco, we have to take action within a very short time. We have a little more liberal set-up in New York. We can hold him for a longer time and finish the investigation before seeking an indictment. Is it possible to discharge Provoo in the (Southern) District of New York, at Governor's Island?”

        "Colonel Miller: Do you have any idea where he entered the service?"

        "Mr. Story: No, probably in San Francisco, his home. From our standpoint, San Francisco would have been a good place to have him discharged, but because of the fact that we will have to be ready to seek an indictment at the time he will be released, we will have difficulty in having him discharged in San Francisco.

        "Colonel Miller: Do you plan to have the complaint ready at the time of his discharge, and then if you were in New York, would you have more leeway in getting indictment and holding him in the meantime?

        "Mr. Story: You understand jurisdiction in treason cases, wherever a man is found, or if we bring him back from overseas, the point at which he entered the United States. We would have to work out an agreement when you get ready to release him; we will have someone there to arrest him and put him in custody.

        "Colonel Miller: What is the jurisdiction if he is at Fort Meade?

        "Mr. Story: We do not want that because it is an undesirable place for us to proceed in cases of treason. We do not get cooperation from the U.S. Attorney or the District Judge."

        They had a more "cooperative" Judge and U.S. Attorney in that jurisdiction, and therefore they could hold me for a much longer time there without taking any action! Actually, the Judge that Mr. Story had in mind would not be sworn in for two more months, and the U.S. Attorney would not be promoted to that position until the same day. My case could be delayed that long, easily, so they could have their team in place.

        Judge Thompson remarked in his decision that "...Of course, it is not the function of a judge to 'cooperate' with either the government or the defendant in a criminal case." He went on to rule that among the many delays in his detailed account of the proceedings there came a point at which the defense was ready for trial and that the prosecution was solely responsible for delaying more than a year longer; he wrote that, "It therefore appears that a large part of the long delay, at least five years, has been due to the deliberate choice of the government, exercised for a supposed advantage."

        I was freed in March, and in October the same year the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the decision, in effect ruling that the government could not proceed against me in the matter again.

        At last my freedom was complete, I thought. My inward and outward circumstances were unlimited. I reflected back on it all, and found that it was not quite over: I carried an enormous amount of emotional burdens, chains that draped my shoulders and led off behind me into my past. I was chained to the wreckage of thirteen years on a solitary reef. There would be many celebrations following my rescue, but when they were over, I found I had left too much of myself behind.


Copyright © 2015, 2022 John Oliver