[Local events] Fwd: Monday night, KBOO, Stories and Poems from Guantanamo

David Abel 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!

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