Doan Viet Hoat - Vietnam
read by John Malkovich
I spent 20 years in Vietnamese prisons. Four of those were in isolation. I was forbidden all pens, papers, and books. To keep my spirits up, I sang, I talked to myself. The guards thought I was mad, but I told them if I did not talk to myself, I would go mad... As I had no books, I just had to use the mind. I wanted to prove that you cannot, by force, silence someone who doesn't agree with you.
Digna Ochoa - Mexico
read by Alfre Woodard
If we don't do this, who will?
My name is Digna Ochoa. I am a nun, who started life as a lawyer... I've always felt anger at the suffering of others. For me, anger is energy, it's a force. If an act of injustice doesn't provoke anger in me, it could be seen as indifference, passivity. It's injustice that motivates us to do something, to take risks, knowing that if we don't, things will remain the same.
Ka Hsaw Wa - Burma
read by Hector Elizondo
... I stayed in the jungle and observed the terrible lives of the villagers of Burma. Since no one was doing interviews, I talked to everyone, I talked to one mother whose son had committed suicide because a group of soldiers had forced him to have sex with her. The son killed himself out of shame. The mother was heart-broken. It was then that I made the decision to work for these people.
Kailash Satyarthi - India
read by Kevin Kline
Five million children in India alone are born into slavery. Small children of six, seven years are forced to work fourteen hours a day. If they cry for their parents, they are beaten severely, sometimes hanged upside down on the trees and branded or burned with cigarettes.
They are prisoners - forbidden to leave.
read by Alec Baldwin
... this is what they know: they know what it is to wait in the dark for torture and what it is to wait in the dark for truth. They know what it is to walk in the corridor of death. They know that this moment might be their last. And this is what they fear, what they really fear: that nobody cares, that nobody listens, that people forget, that people watch T.V. and say these are not their problems and then have dinner and go to sleep. People go to sleep. That is what they know and fear.
Dianna Ortiz - Guatemala/United States
read by Sigourney Weaver
I want to be free of these memories. I want to be trusting, confident, adventurous, and carefree as I was in 1987 when I came from the United States to the Western Highlands of Guatemala... But on November 2nd, 1989, the Dianna I just described ceased to exist. Now, at this moment, I hardly remember the life I led before I was abducted at age thirty-one. Instead I have memories of the torture.