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My Guantanamo Diary: The Detainees and the Stories They Told Me Hardcover – June 24, 2008
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In her moving debut memoir, a young journalist recounts her time as a translator for the detainees of notorious Guantánamo Bay prison. As a law student and American-born daughter of Pashtun (ethnic Afghan) immigrants, Khan seeks a translator position at one of the private law firms that represent the Guantanamo inmates, some of whom spend years in prison before offered a "fair" trial-or even access to counsel. Shockingly, many of the detainees Khan encounters are average citizens placed in prison due to unfortunate circumstances, the blind aggression of modern anti-terror tactics and the incompetence of its enforcers; one detainee, elderly stroke patient Nusrat, was detained after questioning the authorities regarding the arrest of his son (accused of having ties with al-Qaeda). Revealing near-universal abuse, both mental and physical, inflicted on the prisoners, Khan's account is plenty powerful-and that's before she travels alone to war-torn Afghanistan in order to prove her clients' innocence. Khan also divulges her poignant reunions with several prisoners following their release, a bittersweet breath of fresh air amid a nightmarish, eye-opening and important account.
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Khan, the daughter of Afghan immigrants and a recent law-school graduate, began volunteering as an interpreter for the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) following the 2004 Supreme Court decision stating that Guantánamo prisoners had to be allowed access to U.S. courts. She first visited the base in January 2006 and met prisoners with widely diverse backgrounds, from a 22-year-old picked up in Pakistan, probably by bounty hunters, and turned over to U.S. forces to detainee #1009, Guantánamo’s oldest prisoner, an illiterate old man from the mountains of Afghanistan. Acknowledging that she had no access to the 14 high value detainees with obvious ties to the Taliban, Khan interviews many whose incarceration appears dubious at best. Each has a story of being savagely beaten, deprived of sleep, sexually abused, left in solitary confinement for months, exposed to extreme cold and constant noise—all with no opportunity to prove their innocence. Stunning details all but hidden from the daily news reports may bring American readers to conclude, as has Khan, that my government has duped me. --Deborah Donovan
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Top customer reviews
1) Bismillah does not mean God protect you (Khuda hafiz or Allah hafiz are more appropriate)
2) There is no such thing as North American Treaty Organization it is NATO in Afghanistan: North Atlantic Treaty Organization (your editor should have corrected this at least, do it in next edition)
3) Taj self educated to read & write English in five years, almost perfect, his handwriting better than many high school graduates... What does it tell about the facilities they provided him in the prison?
4) Badar Zaman and Abdurrahman, poet brothers, refugees in Pakistan, one of them did master in English from Peshawar university (very generous of Pakistan- almost free education) ... worked for Pashtoonistan movement (a separatist movement)... ended up in Guantanamo, when released, did not go back to his native country, Afghanistan, why? rather preferred to go back to Peshawar where his family looked like has permanently settled and he continued venting and encouraging the separatist movement... this is what you get in return for providing shelter and education to someone? Why they did not go back and fight the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in their own country?
5) Ali's daughter wrote him a letter from Iran was not in Pashto, she addresses her father Pidarjan several times in the letter not baba Jan, what was the reason writer implied she was calling her dad, baba Jan, why?
6) Lastly, the writer's claim of Afghan roots, rather than Pakistani Pushtoon raised doubt in my mind; she had jumped back to Afghanistan skipping Pakistan connection. Is it more romantic exploiting Afghan situation than saying her parents were Pakistani Americans? Her parents graduated in 1977 from Peshawar University (KMC), her grandparents still live in Peshawar and are not Afghan refugees... what kinds of roots she has in Afghanistan? All Pushtoon living in settled areas of NWFP, I have not heard them claiming Afghanistan roots, rather wants to turn NWFP in to Pashtoonistan, a separate independent state which does not include any part of Afghanistan at all...
All in all, she was able to make me cry several times...
Most recent customer reviews
I love the way people glorify the detainees, when in reality they only...Read more
the prisoners, without any discernment about their guilt or innocence.Read more