Laurie Arbeiter

Manijeh Saba

26 hours in custody . . .

On July 23, 2007 64 people were arrested at the House Office of Congressman John Conyers. They were part of a larger contingent requesting that Mr. Conyers begin proceedings as mandated by House Resolution 333 – the recently passed bill calling for the articles of impeachment to begin against VP Dick Cheney. Four of those arrested were subsequently put through the system for refusing to answer questions of a personal nature. They were held for slightly more than 24 hours in the DC prison waiting for lawyers to be assigned and for their arraignment. What began as an exercise of free speech, ending in temporary incarceration, offered a brief glimpse into the punitive nature of the State.

Later, as a friend, listening separately to Laurie Arbeiter and Manijeh Saba (two of those four detained) recount the narrative of their ordeal, I was fascinated by the double telling of the same event. Both testimonies, together, form a narrative with a more complex dimension than each story alone. The same event told twice, identifiable as such by certain facts, but each story’s personal dimension uniquely different.