[Local events] Fwd: Monday night, KBOO, Stories and Poems from Guantanamo
passages at rdrop.com
Sun Apr 6 22:13:54 PDT 2008
from "First Poem of My Life"
Hustle cautiously in the land of those who speak no Arabic!
Even if they gave you oaths bound by oaths.
Their aim is to worship petty cash
And for it they break all vows.
I came to their land to pursue an education,
And saw such malice among them.
They surrounded the mosque, weapons drawn,
As if they were in a field of`war.
They said to us, "Come out peacefully,
And don't utter a single word."
Into a transport truck they lifted us,
And in shackles of injustice they bound us.
For sixteen hours we walked;
For the entire time we remained in shackles.
All of us wanted to move our bowels
But they insisted on denying us.
The soldier struck with his boot;
He said we were all equally subjects.
In the prison's darkness they spread us out
In the cold's bitterness we sat . . .
-- Mohammed El Gharani
in Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak
University of Iowa Press, 2007
Mohammed El Gharani was arrested by Pakistani Police when he was 14
years old. A native of Chad who was born in Saudi Arabia, he had
recently travelled to Pakistan to pursue an education when his mosque
was raided. Pakistani police hung him nearly naked by the wrists with
his feet barely touching the floor, and beat him if he moved. He had
come to Pakistan to study English and information technology, and was
overjoyed when he heard he would be transferred to American custody,
thinking that his beatings and strippings would end. Instead they
continued in US custody in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In 2002, he was
shipped to Guantanamo and became one of the first "enemy combatants"
detained there. 29 juveniles are thought to have been shipped to
Among the detainees at Guantanamo are students and truck drivers,
charity workers and businessmen, scholars and journalists, children and
grandfathers. Some were poets before they arrested. But most, like
Mohammed, began writing poetry to maintain sanity and as an aid and
comfort amidst the crushing physical and psychological blows being
directed at them. Despite every effort to keep any word from getting
out of the dungeons, 22 of these poems escaped, and they are collected,
along with the stories of their writers, in /Poems from Guantanamo./
Tune in to a KBOO pledge drive special Monday night April 7 from
10-11:30 PM. Poets Paulann Petersen, Peter Sears, and host Barbara
LaMorticella will read from Poems from Guantanamo, and Portland lawyer
Sam Kauffman will give us a first-hand account of the conditions of the
prison and the conditions of our legal system as he speaks about his
seven trips to Guantanamo as counsel for two Syrian detainees.
We hope you'll tune in and pledge. One hour's wages a month would make
you a card carrying member of the a KBOO's community of artists,
activists and radioactivists working in Portland for progressive social
Talking Earth: Monday nights from 10-11 PM Pacific Daylight Time on
KBOO, 90.7 FM Portland. Broadcast live on the web!
More information about the Passages-events