Jan/Feb 2007: Poem from Gitmo

Because people held at Guantanamo Bay rarely get to speak in their own words, I am reproducing the poem written by Usama Abu Kabir and printed by the Catholic Worker in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue.

Is it true that the grass
grows again after rain?
Is it true that the flowers
will rise up in the spring?
Is it true that birds
will migrate home again?
Is it true that the salmon
swim back up their stream?

Is it true. This is true. These are all miracles.
But is it true that one day
we’ll leave Guantanamo Bay?
Is it true that one day
we’ll go back to our homes?
I sail in my dreams, I am dreaming of home.

To be with my children, each one part of me;
To be with my wife, and the ones that I love;
To be with my parents,
my world’s tenderest hearts.
I dream to be home, to be free of this cage.

But do you hear me, O Judge,
do you hear me at all?
We are innocent, here,
we’ve committed no crime.
Set me free, set us free, if anywhere still
May justice, compassion
remain in this world!

—————————-

To those who want to turn their backs on Mr. Abu Kabir, I repeat this information from the December 2006 issue of the Catholic Worker:

  • Shut Down Guantanamo! by Frida Berrigan & Matthew W. Daloisio – An account of the work done by legal, medical and social groups in 2006 to try and close down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Article offers this breakdown of 517 prisoners at Guantanamo based on Social Science Research Network analysis of recently released DoD data:
    • al-Qaeda fighters only made up 8% of prisoners.
    • Only 5% of prisoners were captured on the battlefield.
    • 86% of the prisoners were captured by either Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and turned over to US custody for payment of large bounties.
    • The article also notes that as of July 2006, 75% of the prisoners were no longer being interrogated.

Is Mr. Abu Kabir innocent? I don’t know, but the odds look good.

Charge and offer a truly fair trial or release the prisoners. Shut down the prison. Shut down the base. Return to our professed values. Let us re-earn the right to issue human rights reports with a straight face.

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