One man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.
I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.
I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.
I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.
When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try.
I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.
Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray.
I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.
I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping.
There are so many of us on hunger strike now that there aren’t enough qualified medical staff members to carry out the force-feedings; nothing is happening at regular intervals. They are feeding people around the clock just to keep up.
During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily. I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not.
It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. As they were finishing, some of the “food” spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity.
When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding.
The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one.
I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen’s president do something, that is what I risk every day.
Where is my government? I will submit to any “security measures” they want in order to go home, even though they are totally unnecessary.
I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my family again and to start a family of my own.
The situation is desperate now. All of the detainees here are suffering deeply. At least 40 people here are on a hunger strike. People are fainting with exhaustion every day. I have vomited blood.
And there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made.
I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.
Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel ISN#043 Camp Delta, U.S. Naval Station Guantánamo Bay, Cuba PO Box 160 Washington, D.C. 20053 USA
Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, told this story to the New York Times, through an Arabic interpreter, to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call.
Je ne me plaindrai auprès de personne, ni
n’attendrai de pardon de quiconque à part Allah,
Alors aide-moi Seigneur.
Oh Seigneur, mon cœur est infecté de confusions.
Je ne me plaindrai auprès de personne à part Toi,
même si les mers se plaignaient de sècheresse.
Même si mon corps est soumis par les chaînes,
mon esprit flotte librement dans les cieux.
Prier Allah, Qui m’a doté de patience dans les
temps d’adversité, et de gratitude pour les
moments de joie.
Prier Allah, Qui a placé un jardin et un verger en
mon sein, afin qu’ils m’accompagnent toujours.
Prier Allah, Qui m’a doté de la foi, et fait de moi un
Prier Allah, Seigneur de l’Univers.
I shall not complain to anyone or expect
grace from anyone
other than God, so help me God.
O Lord, my heart is plagued with troubles.
I shall not complain to anyone other than You, even if the seas
complain of dryness.
My spirit is free in the heavens, while my body is overpowered
Praise God, who has granted me patience in times of adversity
and gratitude in times of gladness.
Praise God, who placed a garden and an orchard in my bosom,
so they will be with me always.
Praise God, who has granted me faith and made me a Muslim.
Praise God, Lord of the world.
In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
“She is a high security risk.”
- Christopher LaVigne, assistant US attorney, on August 11th when trying to convince a judge to prevent Aafia from seeing a doctor for her gunshot wound.
During the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), those who entered Islam were of two types: those who remained in their lands with the general populace practicing the basic tenets of the religion, and those who took it upon themselves to migrate and join the Prophet in his expeditions. There are ahadith that show that the Prophet treated these two groups differently from each other due to their difference in status. For example, Muslim and at-Tirmidhi report that when appointing a leader to a battalion, he would instruct him on how to deal with those of the enemy who became Muslims, saying:
“…invite them to migrate from their lands to the land of the Muhajirin, and inform them that if they do so, they will have all the privileges and obligations of the Muhajirin. If they refuse to migrate, tell them that they will have the status of the Bedouins, and will be subjected to the commands of Allah like the rest of the believers…”
This distinction was simply of one group deciding to take upon its shoulders certain responsibilities in contrast to the other whose inactivity limited them to a very individualistic, localized, benign practice of Islam. One can in essence say that the Prophet divided the practice of the Muslims at the time into two types: the religion of the Migrants (Din al-Muhajirin, whose adherents took upon their shoulders the responsibilities of aiding and giving victory to Islam), and the religion of the Bedouins (Din al-A’rab, whose adherents did not go beyond the basics).
Although the depiction is of a situation that existed over a thousand years ago, it is an eternal pattern that Muslims will be distributed amongst these levels in every era and in every place. So, one can notice this distinction even amongst the practicing Muslims of the East and West. The Din al-A’rab of the past can be compared to the Islam that is limited to the five pillars, eating zabihah, and keeping the local mosque clean. Considering how difficult it is in the West to come across even these Muslims, imagine what joy comes to the eye and heart to see those who go a step further and reach the level of adhering to Din al-Muhajirin – those whose concern spans the entire Ummah, driving them to get up and become active workers for Islam, to dedicate their every minute to the service of Allah however they can no matter what other responsibilities clutter their busy lives, to have their hearts beat with the rest of the Muslims – all this with their heads raised high and paying no regard to those around them who eat and live like cattle, as it was said:
هكذا الاحرار في دنيا العبيد
Such are the free in a world of the enslaved…
Recently, the entire world has been speaking about one such person – a short, thin college student, wife, and mother of three small children. Her name is Aafia Siddiqui.
I want you to be drawn to the story of this woman and also understand why I was drawn to it. I want you to come to know of the concern and dedication that this woman had for Islam as described by those who knew her – a dedication that was manifested by way of actions that were very simple and easy, yet seldom carried out by those who are able.
British politicians frequently boast about how the foundations of ‘modern’ British law are rooted in the Magna Carta declaration of 1215.
The logic being that the world did not know justice until King John put his seal on the Magna Carta on 15 June 1215 and so ‘modern’ British laws derived from the Magna Carta deliver justice even today and they remain a shining example to the rest of the world, especially the ‘backward’ African and Asian countries. The Magna Carta essentially states that no man shall be deprived of his liberty (i.e. imprisoned) or exiled from the land (i.e. extradited) without the lawful judgement of his peers (i.e. a fair public trial in which he is allowed to give his side of the story). For medieval 13th Century England that was still deep in savagery and barbarism it can be said that the Magna Carta was a big achievement.
Yet the truth is that some 600 years earlier an advanced civilisation in East Africa had been practically implementing the principles of justice found in the Magna Carta. But you wouldn’t know it because black African ‘savages’ teaching justice to ‘sophisticated’ white earls does not look too good in a school History textbook. The basic principle of justice that this 7th Century black African civilisation realised is that you cannot punish someone without giving them a fair trial in which you allow them to give their side of the story.
One of the earliest recorded extradition trials in international case law is Jafar bin Abi Talib and others vs Government of Quraish in the Royal Court of Justice of Abyssinia, 615 C.E. In the year 615 of Christian era, a group of Muslims fled torture and religious persecution in Makkah and migrated to Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia) to seek sanctuary in the kingdom of the righteous Christian King Negus. The 16 Muslims were led by Jafar bin Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They had only just arrived in Abyssinia when the Government of Quraish sent an extradition request seeking the return of the group to Makkah. Amr bin Al-Aas QC (Quraish Counsel) with junior counsel Abdullah bin Abi Rabia were sent to Abyssinia to advocate for the men’s extradition.
The court convened one morning in the packed Royal Court of Justice of Abyssinia and presiding over the matter was the Honourable King Negus himself due to the seriousness of the matter. Amr bin Al-Aas QC, opening for the prosecution, laid out the basic facts of the case against the Muslim group. He stated that they were apostates who had abandoned the religion of their forefathers and so should be extradited back to Makkah.*He further added that since the Tribe of Quraish and the Kingdom of Abyssinia were major allies, under the terms of the Extradition Act 2003 Category 2 legislation no prime prima facie evidence had to be presented in order to seek the group’s extradition.* Read the rest of this entry »