I won’t keep you long, because what I have to say to you is short.
I would simply like to offer you my infinite gratitude for what you did for me, while I was in prison in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
I received hundreds of letters and postcards from you, which continued to rain down on me in prison, and even more now that I am no longer there.
The Prison Director found this greatly offensive, but, at the same time, his opinion of me immediately changed, as well as that of all the guards and all the other prisoners. Suddenly, I stopped being a criminal inmate who deserved his punishment, and instead became a V.I.P., not a “Very Important Person”, but in fact a ‘ *Very Important Prisoner*”, whose release was called for throughout the whole world.
What to say of the letters addressed to the Prime Minister of Cameroon and to the Minister of Justice, of which my lawyer brought me copies?
You’re probably not aware, but, let me tell you that, thanks to them, the Cameroonian Government arranged for my release to avoid being unpopular internationally, because national opinion, they do not care about, but international opinion, on the other hand, scares them greatly.
In securing my release, you have at the same time demonstrated to the Cameroonians that a writer was not the useless being they thought, but indeed rather a personality whose existence and above all, well-being, is cared about throughout the world.
Thank you again, and best wishes to all.
(Translated by Laura Hargreaves)