How a Book Saved a Life
by: Bryn Caralto
It was 1980 when a Somalian newlywed of only thirty-one years of age was sentenced to life in prison for writing a letter complaining about the poor conditions of the local hospital. The single rule of this Somali prison was the punishment of complete isolation: silence.
Unable to speak, Mohamed Barud was on the verge of insanity worrying about his wide. Full of anger and sorrow, he fought every second to never let himself reach that state of mind. It was then thatthe inmate in the neighboring cell tapped out a sentence strung together by a silent language, much like morse code. Barud later found out, through tis code, that his cell neighbor was the director/doctor of the hospital that Barud had previously complained about in his letter.
Being able to communicate with another human had saved him. The doctor was lucky enough to be given the book Anna Karenina, which he had generously shared through their secret code. Without that book, Barud believed that he would have gone mad, leading him to a sorrowful, slow death. However, eight years after receiving his life sentence, the prison went under political shifts; Mohamed Barud had been released. Reunited at last, he learns that, just as he did, his wife had held on for him. Full of rejoice, they moved to the city where they first fell in love and lived happily together.
Mohamed Barud had thought his death would precede his release from prison. It was all thanks to a book and its captivating story that he was able to hold onto a purpose and hope to see his wife once again.