Ghent, Belgium

Fighting aggression with aggression only leads to more aggression. I strongly believe this is true. And I notice that when I say and explain this to others, everyone agrees. That is why it is very strange that we still use so much violence in an attempt to stop it. 

As a teenager, I got involved in a series of crimes with my neighborhood friends. It started small, but it escalated quickly. When I was 20 years old, I was convicted, put behind bars and labeled as a ‘top gangster’. With overheated aggression as a companion, I was locked inside an even more aggressive system. During the first years of my 17 year long stay within the prison system, it boiled over regularly, and I ended up in isolation for months. The system was convinced that I was crazy. And maybe I would have become crazy if I didn’t choose to face my aggression at some point. 

The turning point for me was when I found words. During my isolation, I started to read a lot. I’ve read all the biographies that I could find in the prison library, as those books felt like the perfect mix of reality and magical hope. The words I found in those books helped me to describe what I felt, dreamed of, didn’t want, … I discovered that words gave me freedom in my thinking, allowed me to think in terms of possibilities for the future by painting hopeful images. That freedom of choice restored my autonomy and belief in myself, in others and even in my dreams. 

Freedom is worth more than anything else, and I never want to take it for granted. It became my compass in everyday and in very important decisions: when I feel that something is giving me breathing space, it means it supports my freedom and thus it is something good. And when I feel like something is limiting my thinking or freedom of movement, like too much complexity for instance, it is better to step away from it.

  • Positive Force
  • Social Change
  • Next story →

    Speak up. Inspire others.

    Tell us about someone else

    Similar stories

    Avatar Ismail ‘Cool’ Abdoul

    Ismail ‘Cool’ Abdoul

    Ghent, Belgium
    How to Use Anger for Fair Fighting and to help others
    Avatar Frederick


    Ghent, Belgium
    How to Use Anger Against Injustice
    Avatar Bart


    Ghent, Belgium
    How to Stand Your Ground and Pick Your Fights
    See all stories →
    We are creating a community of positive warriors, join us!

    Inspired by


    Powered by

    ©2022, AngerHeroes - All rights reserved