Monday, April 03, 2006

Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, an Pashtun poet who was wrongfully detained in Guatanamo Bay for three years, is asking that the US military return the poems he penned during his imprisonment--25,000 lines of verse. I love that he was able to find freedom through his poetry:
Wearing an orange jumpsuit and trapped inside a mesh cage, the Pashtun poet crafted his escape through verse. "I would fly on the wings of my imagination," he recalled. "Through my poems I would travel the world, visiting different places. Although I was in a cage I was really free."
Inmates were forbidden pens or papers during Dost's first year in captivity. So he found a novel solution - polystyrene teacups. "I would scratch a few lines on to a cup with a spoon. If you held it up to the light you could read it," he said. "But when the guards collected the trash they threw them away."

It was only when prison authorities provided awkward rubbery pens - so soft they could not be used as weapons - that Dost wrote in earnest. His themes were love of his homeland, poetry and his children, and especially his hope of release.
I hope his words will be returned to him so he can release them into the world. It would be important for us to hear what happens behind those walls. I know it is unlikely, though--the military would never stand to be exposed in such a way. I just hope Dost will continue to write, and continue to share his story...

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