Guantanamo penal complex survivor Sami al-Hajj shares his memoir

Guantanamo penal complex survivor Sami al-Hajj shares his memoir


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For over six years Sami al-Hajj didn’t private a popularity; he was merely is named prisoner quantity 345.

The pleasant journalist to be detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he persevered torture and interrogations without needing any costs filed against him, like so many others.

He was working as a cameraman for Al Jazeera, covering the US battle against the Taliban, when he was arrested on unsuitable costs by Pakistani authorities in 2001.

He was a prisoner by US forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan for five months before being taken to Guantanamo Bay as an « enemy combatant ».

The US accused him of working for Al Jazeera to facilitate « terrorist acts » in step with spurious accusations.

It was not till after spending six years and a half in the penal complex camp and occurring hunger strike for 480 days that he was lastly released in Would possibly well 2008 as a free and innocent man. 

One and all of the 800 prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay has a extremely efficient memoir to portion and al-Hajj’s recent memoir, Prisoner 345 – My Six Years in Guantanamo, is aesthetic one of them.

In his memoir he shares a peep of the « depths of depravity and humiliation » the innocent prisoners persevered over time.

He recalls the authorities stripping him naked and throwing him proper into a freezing cell in solitary confinement, with the airconditioning turned on most.

The guards terrorised them round the clock.

Seven infantrymen carrying insurrection instruments would storm their cells without any plot, beating them mercilessly, « nearly happily, » al-Hajj wrote.

The painful power-feeding that he persevered for over a one year on the total left him lined in vomit.

On the change hand, it was the doctors who were the « indispensable architects » of the physical and mental torture they persevered, doctors who « relished coming up with recent ways to inflict anguish ».

« They genuinely told us: ‘We’re going to have the choice to torture you till death. But we couldn’t let you die. You would possibly dwell in the space between lifestyles and death' » al-Hajj writes.

‘Now not made for defeat’

Most shameful of all was the sense of isolation that ate away on the prisoners, al-Hajj recalls.

In the notorious camp, many prisoners lost their minds in declare to disassociate and shatter out the unbearable torture, but al-Hajj remained firm in his resolve to go away the camp alongside with his mind intact.

His memoir will not be one of defeat.

« Man will not be made for defeat. A person would maybe moreover moreover be destroyed, but not defeated, » al-Hajj quotes Ernest Hemingway in his memoir.

« I defeated them. I defeated them with my resolve, taken from Allah Himself, who is with us wherever we’re, in the darkest of nights and longest of days. »

It was his faith in Allah that gave him the energy to endure the anguish. For the length of his most trying moments, he would remind himself of examples build by heroes of Islam.

« I build my mind to remembering Bilal (one of many Islamic Prophet Muhammad’s companions) and those males of historic past, which infused my spirit with ravishing vitality. I felt an ease in my limbs, giving me – as God is my request – a sense of warmth flowing into every cell in my physique, » al-Hajj wrote recalling times when the room’s temperature was below freezing.

« I’m not exaggerating after I insist that, by the grace of Allah, the cell was in most cases stuffed with warmth for 10 or quarter-hour. »

It was this energy held by the Muslim prisoners that left a stable affect on a female US soldier who guarded them at Guantanamo.

As smartly-known in his memoir, the guard purchased in touch with al-Hajj some years ago writing:

« You would possibly moreover state the brothers that their energy has inspired me to accept Islam. Would possibly well Allah protect you and e book you alongside the gracious route, » she wrote.

Al-Hajj’s memoir is an act of generosity as he shares his anguish alongside with his readers and a memoir of survival, told in his private words.

« If I would maybe moreover insist finest one ingredient, » al-Hajj writes in his memoir, « it shall be what British historian Arnold Toynbee said, that a human being is a being you would possibly maybe’t triumph over.

« But I would maybe add that whoever’s heart is stuffed with faith shall be ready to endure whatever is thrown at him. »

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