Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The University of Iowa Press is publishing a collection of poetry written by Guantanamo detainees, according to the Wall Street Journal:

Many of the poems are explicitly religious, beseeching Allah to free their authors or relieve the authors' loneliness. "Oh, God," writes Abdulla Thani Faris al Anazi, a double amputee who has been imprisoned since 2002, "Grant serenity to a heart that beats with oppression/And release this prisoner from the tight bonds of confinement." He is accused of being an Islamic militant.

Others are sentimental. The poetry of Osama Abu Kabir, a Jordanian relief worker arrested in Afghanistan and accused of belonging to al Qaeda, expresses his dreams of being reunited with his family.

"To be with my children, each a part of me/to be with my wife and the ones I love/to be with my parents, my world's tenderest hearts," he writes. "I dream to be home, to be free from this cage."

Most of the poems carry political messages denouncing the Bush administration. "America, you ride on backs of orphans/and terrorize them daily," writes Mr. Haj, the al-Jazeera cameraman accused of supporting al Qaeda. "I am a captive, but the crimes are my captors'."

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