Ex-Gitmo Inmate Thinks He's a Poet (lets hope he don't blow it…)

* Because the evil Americans, who promised to return his writings to him, have not done so, he would like to sue them for estimated losses over $ 300.000.00. Surely a shyster can be found who will take it upon himself to help this wronged young man?  (pro bono of course..! Yusuf, where are you when yer needed?)

Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost 

Sample of Dost’s work:

Sitting in his library, he quoted a couplet from a favourite poem: “Handcuffs befit brave young men/Bangles are for spinsters or pretty young ladies.”

*  Does that sound like stuff the Puff Ho, Time and Newsweep will eat up? How about Hollyweird, no buyers..?

The Americans can’t return the three years that Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost lost, locked in a cell in Guantánamo Bay. But they could at least give back his poetry.

“Please help,” said Dost, who says he penned 25,000 lines of verse during his long imprisonment. “Those words are very precious to me. My interrogators promised I would get them back. Still I have nothing.”

The lost poems are the final indignity for Dost, a softly spoken Afghan whom the US military flew home last year, finally believing his pleas of innocence.


Unlawful Combatants Are Not POWs 
 [Cliff May]

That was the view of Eric Holder, Oama’s choice for Attorney General, in a CNN inteview in 2002 (as recalled by the WSJ today):

One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention that you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people.

It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohamed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not.

In recent years, this has been the argument put forward by such conservatives as Andy McCarthy and me (most recently in this Commentary review of Jane Mayer’s bookblasting the current administration for betraying American values by taking such views).
Let’s hope Holder sticks to his guns on this.

 Accused of being an al-Qaida terrorist, Dost had been whisked from his home in Peshawar, northern Pakistan, in November 2001. Five months later he was shackled, blindfolded and flown to Cuba. 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.

Sitting in his library, he quoted a couplet from a favourite poem: “Handcuffs befit brave young men/Bangles are for spinsters or pretty young ladies.”

Dost lampooned his military captors, mocking what he perceived as ridiculous – women with men’s haircuts, men without beards. “In the American army I could not see a real man,” he said. “And they talk rudely about homosexuals, which is very shameful to us.”

The satires delighted fellow inmates, who passed them from cage to cage using a pulley system fashioned from prayer cap threads. Some even passed Dost their two-sheet paper allowance so he could write some more. But invariably the poems were confiscated during cell searches.

Early last year Dost was brought before a military tribunal – which he describes as a show trial – and then flown back to Afghanistan in shackles, with 16 other detainees. The US military said he was “no longer an enemy combatant”. Dost was allowed to keep his final sheaf of poems and was told the rest would be returned on arrival at Bagram airbase, near Kabul. But they were not, and he was set free without apology or compensation. His brother had been freed six months earlier.

Now Dost has written his an account of Guantánamo, The Broken Chains, which is being translated into English. He estimates $300,000 in losses, mostly from confiscated gemstones and cash that were never returned. But his greatest loss was his writing. “It is the most valuable thing to me,” he said.