I wasn’t listening

The torture was reported  15, 14, 12, 11, 10,
9, 8 years ago but I wasn’t
listening—this tree falling in my forest
no witnessing ear to hear so we could pretend
it never
                    really           happened?
did it happen?  After weeks of extreme
isolation, he began to speak
to invisible listeners, heard voices as he huddled
for hours beneath a sheet—a report described
by a Pentagon officer—“the kind of document…
never meant to leave Guantanamo.”—that 2003 torture log

leaked to Time in 2006—I still wasn’t listening…..some
fragments here:  20 hour—4 a.m. to midnight—interrogations,
water provided sans toilet-breaks—forced to soil
himself—he wouldn’t talk—forced to submit to an enema—he wouldn’t
talk.      I still wasn’t
        listening…… stress positions…pain—severe….
threats against female family members….forced nudity…..female personnel present
    tight restraints…day and night, month after month,
                he wouldn’t talk…… “training” (their word)
forcing (my word 13 years later) forcing
him to bark like a dog…growl at photos of fellow “terrorists”
            sleep deprivation, loud music…white noise
    strip searches, body searches    not allowed to pray, even during Ramadan
no prayer    detained in 2001, his photo, a half-grown,
half-formed kid, age 21, 22? must have found it hard to raise a beard. *
“Worst of the worst”, they claimed, “Worst

of the worst.”  He  wouldn’t talk.  They
pressed harder. Pressed harder.  Torture continued: numbers of weeks/
months/years after leaked torture log—Unknown. 
He finally named 19 fellow prisoners—bin Laden body-
guards, in 2006 recanted—I still wasn’t
listening.  2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022, he’s still

there—Guantanamo Bay, charged twice—charges
dropped (2006, 2009) because tortured.  Because allegations against
him just weren’t true.  I’m listening now.  I’m listening,
and trying
           to tell you, they kept pressing harder.  I’m asking, “What
about the others?”  The ones never heard from, no leaked
torture logs—no printed confessions—how many forests

of young
                                tormented            Muslim men, clear
                                                                                            cut?

                                                                           4/13-14/2016, 1/14/2022

Mohammed al-Qahtani (ISN 63), a Saudi Arabian citizen was born, Nov. 1979.  Captured by Pakistan & transferred to US Custody, Dec 2001, he was brought to Guántanamo Prison in 2002
     *For photo & detailed overview of Mr. al-Qahtani’s imprisonment & legal efforts on his behalf—see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_al-Qahtani
        more info: Andy Worthington, https://www.andyworthington.co.uk/guantanamo-the-definitive-prisoner-list-part-1/

 


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