Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Poems of Gitmo

Get out the barf bag. One can almost envision the poetry readings of psychopathic Islamofascists at college campuses nationwide. Heck, they'll probably be required reading before long.

Inmates' words: The poems of Guantanamo
The words of the celebrated Pakistani poet were scratched on the sides of a Styrofoam cup with a pebble. Then, under the eyes of Guantanamo Bay's prison guards, they were secretly passed from cell to cell. When the guards discovered what was going on, they smashed the containers and threw them away, fearing that it was a way of passing coded messages.

Fragments of these "cup poems" survived, however, and are included in an 84-page anthology entitled Poems from Guantanamo: the Detainees Speak, to be published later this year by the University of Iowa Press.

The verses provide a harrowing insight into the torments and fading hopes of the prisoners. Only two Guantanamo inmates have been charged with a crime.

They were brought to light by Marc Falkoff, a US professor of law with a doctorate in American literature. He represents 17 Yemeni inmates and has made 10 visits to Guantanamo. He dedicates the book to "my friends inside the wire".

In the summer of 2005 Professor Falkoff was sent two poems from his clients. Written in Arabic, they were included in letters they could legally send. Because all communication with the detainees is deemed a potential threat to national security, everything - letters, interview notes, legal documents - must be sealed and sent to a US intelligence facility for review. The two poems were deemed a potential risk and remain classified to this day.

Professor Falkoff contacted other lawyers and discovered that several had received poems from their clients. Other detainees, like the two released Britons, Moazzam Begg and Martin Mubanga, wrote poetry while in prison and brought them with them on their release.
Break out the violins, you're going to get weepy.
The 380 or so inmates of Guantanamo include some avowed Islamic militants and al-Qa'ida fighters. But the majority are there because they were swept up by the police and intelligence services of other countries working on behalf of the US. In their despair many of these detainees have turned to verse to express their innermost feelings.
Boo hoo.

Read the rest, if you still have the stomach.

Also at the WSJ.

Gore Vidal gushes on Amazon.

More from Jules Crittenden, Michelle Malkin.

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