My Guantanamo Diary by primusboy


									My Guantanamo Diary
Mahvish Khan's book "My Guantanamo Diary" is a quick and light read. She
has penned her experiences meeting the detainees at Guantanamo Bay and
how translating for the lawyers representing them gave her an insight
very few civilians have had.
Starting out with her initial interest in the plight of these men she
takes us with her as she over comes her own prejudices and wariness in
meeting these men that were termed "worse of the worst" by Donald
Rumsfeld. It is an eye opener for the reader too as we stop to consider
that all the men that are there may actually not be guilty.
Men who were once only numbers come to life as human beings with
personalities and families who are still waiting for them. We get to meet
them as Khan begins providing supervised legal counsel and travels to
Afghanistan to find exonerating evidence to free them.
We meet Dr Mousovi the pediatrician who luckily has been reunited with
his family.
Taj Muhammed the goat herd with a playboy fetish.
Haji Nusrat the paraplegic who despite all would still like to visit the
The poet brothers Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost and Badr Zaman who though
released are still not free in their own home.
The Sudanese al Jazeera reporter Sami AlHaj and his hunger strike that he
started on January 2007.
Mohammed Zahir who pockets a hair as if it were a life link to the
outside world. Through his bone chilling diary entries we get to stand in
Benyam Mohammed al Habashi's shoes. We get to see a side of Abdul Salam
Zaeef the Taliban ambassador that we could not have imagined as he gives
an interview and shares the picture of his daughters that he kept in his
cell. The brave front put up by the 23 year old Salah al Aslami and the
pain his parents still suffer because of the mysterious circumstances
surrounding his death.
We come to respect Peter Ryan and the other habeas lawyers who dedicate
their time and efforts for men that could have been as easily guilty as
not. Their faith in the sanctity of the American constitution and their
fight to preserve it is truly commendable.
One can only imagine what the Afghan men thought of Khan as they tried to
make sense of how to treat her. They may have been scarred by their
experiences with other interpreters yet they take a leap of faith to
trust her. Khan also tries to accommodate their questions and curiosity
about herself as best as she can.
It is a touching book that forces us to deal with a sticky situation that
most of us are aware of yet refuse to acknowledge. Khan makes us see a
side to these men that we conveniently forget when we just think of them
as worst of the worst and automatically assume that just because they are
at Guantanamo they are guilty. This book is definitely worth reading and
keeping on your shelf.
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Muhammad Yaqoob

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