Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak

Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak - Marc Falkoff, Flagg Miller, Ariel Dorfman This little book is a must read. More people in the United States, who likely have no idea of the atrocious treatment the "enemy combatants" get in Guantanamo, should read this. The poetry varies in its themes. There are some militant poems, and there are poems that simply present the poet's yearning for home. Some are only a couple of lines, and others are a bit longer. All of them are moving; the imagery rich and flowing. In addition to the poem, the book features supplementary material--the introduction, preface, and afterword-- by writers and scholars that put the poetry in context. Some readers may be tempted to skip this material, but the material puts the poetry in context as well as provide a good overview of some of the poetry styles and poetic devices these poets use, often drawing on various Arabic literary traditions. Personally, I was moved by Dorfman's afterword, which recalls the oppression in Pinochet's Chile, comparing it to what the U.S. is doing in Guantanamo to prisoners that, in many cases, are likely innocent or are held under dubious reasons (like the one held because he was caught wearing a Casio brand watch. Really? That is the reason the U.S. military gave; Casio watches are apparently preferred by Al Qaeda and similar organizations because they can be used as bomb detonators). We also learn the hardships and challenges of getting this poems published so we could read them. Overall, I wish for more people to read this book. It represents a set of voices in the "War on Terror" that is rarely heard. A set of voices suppressed in a place where, a prisoner is guilty until proven innocent, the exact opposite of what the U.S. supposedly stands for around the world.