Friday, July 6, 2007

Poems from Guantanamo

The following poems are part of a new collection of poetry written by Guantanamo Bay detainees to be published in late July. For more information about the book, go to NPR.org.


Is it True?
by Osama Abu Kadir

Is it true that the grass grows again after rain?
Is it true that the flowers will rise up again in the Spring?
Is it true that birds will migrate home again?
Is it true that the salmon swim back up their streams?
It is true. This is true. These are all miracles.
But is it true that one day we'll leave Guantanamo Bay?
Is it true that one day we'll go back to our homes?
I sail in my dreams. I am dreaming of home.
To be with my children, each one part of me;
To be with my wife and the ones that I love;
To be with my parents, my world's tenderest hearts.
I dream to be home, to be free from this cage.
But do you hear me, oh Judge, do you hear me at all?
We are innocent, here, we've committed no crime.
Set me free, set us free, if anywhere still
Justice and compassion remain in this world!

Shortly after 11 September, Osama Abu Kadir travelled to Pakistan to perform charity work in Afghanistan with the Islamic missionary group Tablighi Jamat. The US claims Tablighi was providing fighters for jihad in Afghanistan and arrested Mr Kadir near Jalalabad in November 2001. In his native Jordan, he was known as a dedicated family man who worked as a truck driver. In Guantanamo, he is known as prisoner number 651. To read this poem online go to voicesinwartime.org.


Death Poem
by Jumah al Dossari

Take my blood.
Take my death shroud and
The remnants of my body.
Take photographs of my corpse at the grave, lonely.
Send them to the world,
To the judges and
To the people of conscience,
Send them to the principled men and the fair-minded.
And let them bear the guilty burden, before the world,
Of this innocent soul.
Let them bear the burden, before their children and before history,
Of this wasted, sinless soul,
Of this soul which has suffered at the hands of the "protectors of peace."

Arrested in Pakistan and held in solitary confinement since 2003, Jumah al Dossari's mental wellbeing is worrying his lawyers. The 33-year old Bahraini national has tried to kill himself 12 times since his incarceration in Guantanamo. On one visit, his lawyer found him hanging in a bedsheet noose, with a deep gash in one wrist. In a letter Mr Dossari wrote in 2005, he said: "The purpose of Guantanamo is to destroy people and I have been destroyed." To read this poem online go to voicesinwartime.org.

2 comments:

olivia said...

THANK YOU for this absolutely ESSENTIAL publication of the sighs from the souls of prisoners exiled to a foreign land: a land which they did NOT know; which they did NOT invade, which they did (& do) NOT love; and a land that REFUSES to acknowledge their existence, REFUSES to acknowledge their pain—a pain that has been inflicted on them by this very same land.

Antares said...

There has been much talk of shutting down the Guantanamo concentration camp - but it has only been talk, because which country or body of opinion can force the White House to do anything? It's like trying to stop the Fat Man with The Big Cigar from blowing stinky smoke in babies' faces - everybody knows he's a Mafia don and likes to have everything his way. Once you taste power on this level, it's virtually impossible to voluntarily give it up. This is why decent Americans have the biggest responsibility to push for Cheney and Bush to be impeached - it's not enough to let them finish their term in office, because by then the apocalyptic horrors would have multiplied a millionfold. We're dealing with absolute psychopaths managed by the most devious minds on Earth!