Hustle cautiously in the land of those who speak
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......
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 Guantanamo.
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.