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Guantánamo Diary

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An unprecedented international publishing event: the first and only diary written by a still-imprisoned Guantánamo Bay detainee.

Since 2002, Mohamedou Slahi has been imprisoned at the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In all these years, the United States has never charged him with a crime. A federal judge ordered his release in March 2010, but the U.S. government fought that decision, and there is no sign that the United States plans to let him go.

Three years into his captivity Slahi began a diary, recounting his life before he disappeared into U.S. custody, "his endless world tour" of imprisonment and interrogation, and his daily life as a Guantanamo prisoner. His diary is not merely a vivid record of a miscarriage of justice, but a deeply personal memoir---terrifying, darkly humorous, and surprisingly gracious.

Published now for the first time, Guantanamo Diary is a document of immense historical importance and a riveting and profoundly revealing read.

379 pages, Hardcover

First published January 20, 2015

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About the author

Mohamedou Ould Slahi

3 books105 followers
Mohamedou Ould Slahi is a Mauritanian citizen who has been imprisoned at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp since August 4, 2002. In 2005, he wrote the nonfiction book Guantánamo Diary , which was published 10 years later.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 656 reviews
Profile Image for Dr Zorlak.
262 reviews103 followers
January 30, 2015
I’m sorry to have to tell you, but the terrorists won. And when I say "terrorists" I mean the Saudi team led by a Saudi millionaire. Yep. This book by Mohamedou Ould Slahi confirms it. The 9/11 attacks achieved what was intended, and what was intended was clearly not just to topple the WTC towers. What was intended was to spin the United States in a cycle of stupidity, violence, ignobility, and abuse; to trap it in a mire of hate; to force it to shed its ideals of justice and due process and adopt torture, unfairness, torment, blindness, corruption, kidnapping and irrationality as the guiding principles of its quest for “peace”; to turn it into a terrorist state itself, pushing it to embrace terror as the best tool in its "war on terrorism." The terrorist attacks on 9/11 have turned the United States into an ideological oxymoron.

And Slahi is a great narrator. He shows us in great detail, not only the ramshackle state of intelligence gathering by government agencies; the incompetence of interrogators; the sadism of low ranking guards; the amateurish, superficial, sophomoric knowledge of the Guantánamo personnel about political, cultural, historical, geographical and even militaristic issues (not to mention their ridiculous, comic-book style moral-building strategies); and the involvement and engagement of professional psychologists in the torture of detainees… but also the degradation of American women, enlisted and not, deployed as sexual bait in the interrogation room and as key players in sexual humiliation techniques.

Slahi has been imprisoned for 13 years now. In all those years, the United States has not charged him with any crime, nor has any concrete evidence been brought against him. He has endured horrific torture, and still manages to be fair, graceful, witty and humane.

(As an interesting aside, Slahi’s kafkaesque, orwellian living hell was only assuaged by the kind, humane, and friendly treatment he received for a while at the hands of an all-Puerto Rican platoon… who was quickly dismissed.)

After reading this book, and in the wake of the Ferguson, Garner, and other scandals, it becomes clear that the US finds itself in no capacity to bring freedom and democracy to the world and rescue nations from their own “evil ways”, as it is wont to believe… but is itself in dire need of rescuing.
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,559 reviews2,312 followers
April 22, 2017
Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Larry Siems (Editor) is a very thought-provoking and disturbing book. This man was arrested and released in 2002. Arrested again and then held, although the government where he was arrested could not understand why he was arrested but they were doing it for the Americans. He was shipped to a couple of places until he arrived at Guantanamo. Never charged with anything, held from 2002 then was finally told he was to be released in 2009 by Judge Robertson but Obama's administration appealed it so he went back to the pit of forgotten souls. He kept a diary during his stay there and it is held by the government as "top secret" because they don't want their abusive ways known but of course we all know. With the freedom of information act, some redacted pages were released and published here. He describes what he went through, and he is still locked up. There was no convincing evidence at the arrest or at the trial or wrong doing but still he sits in a prison of horrors. Who is really the terrorist?
Profile Image for Jim.
365 reviews90 followers
October 7, 2015
Let's be clear about a couple of things: this is not a 5 star read in the way that War and Peace is a 5 star read. While this book is actually quite nicely constructed, it is in the author's fourth language and contains too many colloquialisms for my liking. In spite of that bit of prissiness on my part, I think it is one of the most important books of the past decade. Now I know that there are a lot of "my country, right or wrong" morons out there that will take me to task on this and claim that I am opposed to liberty and hate the military and so on and so on....nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that the profession of arms should be an honorable undertaking and that the military should be the staunchest defender of the principles that democracies are supposed to be built on.

Guantanamo Diary is the heavily (and clumsily) censored account of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a man who was kidnapped in Mauritania at the request of the US government, exported from Mauritania to Jordan for some softening-up torture, and then on to Guantanamo for a good old long-term butt ramming American style. I basically knew nothing about Mauritania before reading the book. The little bit of research I did on the topic makes it sound like some amazing Backward Land where women try to make themselves as fat as possible to attract a husband and men ask the fiancée's mother for her hand in marriage...but I digress.

Now Slahi has been a prisoner of the US government since 2001 and is resident in Guantanamo since 2002. He has claimed to be innocent throughout this ordeal. He readily admits to being a member of Al Qaeda back in the day when it was an organization that was funded and backed by the USA. He claims to have split from the group when they started going goofy after the Russians were expelled from Afghanistan. Is he lying? Is he guilty? Does it matter? The basic principles on which American justice is based state that he should be tried if evidence substantiates a charge. Otherwise, he should be released. If found guilty of an offence, he should be humanely held in quarters that reflect well on the American public as befits a generous and just nation. And that's without even going into the constitutionality and legality of Slahi's arrest in his own homeland, an apprehension that amounts to kidnapping. But as Slahi tells one of his interrogators: " You're holding me because your country is strong enough to be unjust. (p.212)

So for over a decade Slahi has been beaten, insulted, humiliated, starved, hoodwinked, submitted to sensory deprivation and exposed to extremes of heat and cold. Guards worked in shifts in order to deprive him of sleep. Female interrogators were used to humiliate him sexually by fondling and rubbing up against him. I wonder if this is what these women had in mind when they joined up...being a sexual foil for military interrogators? You've come a long way, Baby!

On top of that, many of Slahi's interrogators were masked. Who the hell is masked nowadays? Looters - rioters - people in the witness protection program - interrogators! CRIMINALS! You only need a mask if you intend on doing something criminal.

Eventually, of course, Slahi broke down under torture and started to admit to almost everything they wanted him to admit to, in the same way that people admitted that they were witches who copulated with Satan back in the days of the Inquisition. torture anyone long enough and you will get the same result...give an interrogator a week in a cold dark room with Hillary Clinton and she will eventually admit to planning the attack on the WTC. Information obtained under torture is meaningless.

Slahi is still under wraps in Guantanamo, despite an order issued by an American judge in 2010 that dictated his immediate release. The American military no longer recognizes American law.

I was a little miffed that a couple of Canadian investigators also interrogated inmates in Guantanamo...horrified would be a better word, with the thought that anyone from my country would be even remotely associated with this Hell on earth. My faith in my country was restored when I read this excerpt of a Supreme Court decision regarding agents of CSIS and DFAIT interviewing Guantanamo inmates:

" The deprivation of [Khadr's] right to liberty and security of the person is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. The interrogation of a youth detained without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with the prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects. "(P.208)

There are parts where Slahi lays it on a little too thick or gets a little whiny, but let's not forget that this is supposed to be a diary, and the writer will have his ups and downs. One day he complains that he has no blankets, and later he complains that he has blankets but has to make his bed in a military fashion. I would be more concerned about the masked man who was going to run in and boot me in the soft parts. In spite of it all, his faith seems to keep him amazingly upbeat and, more amazingly, he still has a lot of good things to say about Americans.

I heartily recommend this book...it will make your blood boil. You may come to the same conclusion I did...that the only modern industrialized nations capable of this type of excess are Russia and, sad to say, United States of America.

Profile Image for Mohamed Al.
Author 2 books4,823 followers
April 5, 2016
لوهلة ظننت أن محمدو صلاحي المعتقل في غوانتنامو مصاب بمتلازمة ستوكهولم، وهي حالة نفسية تصيب الضحية عندما يتعاطف أو يتعاون مع الجلاد أو من أساء إليه بشكل من الأشكال، فرغم أنه يسرد بأدق التفاصيل صنوف العذاب الجسدي، والنفسي، والجنسي كذلك الذي مورس عليه في غوانتانامو، إلا أنه يعترف بأنه لا يكن أي نوع من الكراهية أو الحقد تجاه من ذكرهم في يومياته، بل يحلم بيوم يجلس لاحتساء القهوة معهم والحديث عن أحوالهم.

ثم تذكرت مقطعًا قرأته في رواية "في انتظار البرابرة" للروائي الجنوب أفريقي كوتزي حيث يقول على لسان القاضي الذي كان معتقلاً بتهمة الخيانة "لا بدّ أنّ الحارس يكرهني إلى حدّ ما؛ أن يمضي امروء أيامًا من حياته في مراقبة باب مغلق وتلبية الاحتياجات البهيمية لرجل آخر، فهذا يعني أن حريته سلبت منه كذلك، وهو يعتقد بأنني السارق"

إنطلاقًا من هذا المبدأ الإنساني ربّما، يضع محمدو صلاحي تبريرًا إثر تبرير للمحقيقين والحراس الذين تناوبوا على إهانته وتعذيبه.

‎تبدأ رحلة معاناة محمدو في العام 2001، حين قبضت عليه السلطات الموريتانية بناء على توجيهات صادرة عن الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، ونقل إلى سجن في الأردن، ومن ثم نقل إلى قاعدة باغرام الجوية الأميركية في أفغانستان وأخيرا، رُحّل في 2002 إلى سجن غوانتانامو في كوبا حيث تواصلت هناك رحلة عذاباته الطويلة التي ما زالت مستمرة حتى اليوم

الغريب في قضية صلاحي أن أحد القضاة الفيدراليين أصدر في عام 2010 أمرًا قضا بإطلاقه فورا، لكن حكومة أوباما قدّمت استئنافًا ضد أمر القاضي، علما بأنّها لم توجّه إليه أي اتهام جرمي حتى الآن!

‎يضمّ الكتاب تفاصيل دقيقة ومؤلمة ليوميات صلاحي في غوانتانامو دوّنها بخط يده ساردا تجربته الخاصة التي ما زال يعيشها كل يوم في المعتقل حتى الآن، وقد قامت الحكومة الأمريكية بوضع أكثر من ٢٥٠٠ خطًا أسودًا كنوع من الرقابة على بعض الأجزاء المرتبطة بوثائق سريّة، وهو ما سبب صعوبة لي في قراءة بعض الفصول حيث شُطبت صفحات كاملة من اليوميات بالخط الأسود.

تذكرت بعد أن انتهيت من قراءة الكتاب قصيدة "هنا غوانتانامو" للشاعر سميح القاسم التي سبق لي أن ألقيتها بصوتي هنا:

Profile Image for Alex.
1,418 reviews4,382 followers
December 8, 2016
In one of your better metafictional gambits, Mohamedou Ould Slahi has managed to get his memoir edited* by his actual torturers. Nabokov would have loved this.

* I guess we call it "redacted" when it's CIA, whatever

It was edited again by actual literary people after a six-year legal battle to get it out of Gitmo, where Slahi has been held since 2002. This second editing process provides some of the most entertaining moments of the book: the latter's exasperated footnotes about the former. "It seems possible, if incredible," says literary editor Larry Siems, "that the U.S. government may have here redacted the word 'tears.'"

Siems had a lot of work to do, because - and here's the problem with this book - Slahi is a great cause but not a great writer. As a book, this is shapeless, episodic...amazingly, it's kinda boring. If you want great literature about how the end never justifies the means, read Darkness at Noon.

Slahi continues to rot in Gitmo as I write this in 2015, despite a judge ordering his release back in 2010 - there's never really been any evidence against him. His case, including his lengthy torture in Jordan and in Guantanamo Bay, is all a matter of public record. As documentation of the terrible lows the US have stooped to, his book is worthy; as literature it's not particularly.

He tells a Mauritian folktale at one point:
about a rooster-phobe who would almost lose his mind whenever he encountered a rooster.

'Why are you so afraid of the rooster?' the psychiatrist asks him.

'The rooster thinks I'm corn.'

'You're not corn. You are a very big man. Nobody can mistake you for a tiny ear of corn.'

'I know that, Doctor. But the rooster doesn't. Your job is to go to him and convince him that I am not corn.'

The man was never healed, since talking to a rooster is impossible.

Clever stuff there. We are the rooster, and Slahi is not corn. He's not a writer either, but that's a good story.
Profile Image for Sally Green.
Author 9 books3,832 followers
October 25, 2015
Essential reading.

Whilst it is upsetting, depressing and shocking, Mohamedou Ould Slahi is also inspirational and even funny in parts. There are many insights into Guantanamo prison life but huge amounts left unsaid or redacted.

'Arrest', rendition to, imprisonment and interrogation at GTMO can be summed up as lawless horror, brutality and torture. Ironically the descriptions reminded me of the interrogations in Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago (which happened under Stalin).
Profile Image for Trish.
1,352 reviews2,412 followers
February 10, 2017
Mohamedou Ould Slahi wrote this diary in 2005 while in detention in Guantánamo. For years he was considered America’s highest ranking terror suspect; I don’t know when that designation changed, or if it ever did. In 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Guantánamo detainees could challenge their detention through habeas corpus. In 2009 U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson heard Mohamedou’s petition and in 2010 ordered his release. Within weeks, Obama’s administration filed a notice of appeal, sending the judge's decision back for review. The case is still pending. Mohamedou remains in U.S. custody in Guantánamo.

An NYRB review by Steve Coll introduced me to this title. It is, as Coll maintains, a “remarkable” document. Mohamedou was targeted by U.S. intelligence after the Millenium Bombing Plot in 1999, when Ahmed Ressam attempted to drive explosives from Montreal to Los Angeles. Mohamedou claims not to have known Ressam, but he was living in Montreal at the time also. After talking with his parents in Mauritania, he decided to return home rather than be surveilled by American intelligence agents. As soon as he arrived in Senegal to be picked up by his family, he was detained for questioning by his own government and subsequently released. After 9/11, he was called in by Mauritanian intelligence to answer questions. He drove himself to the police station, beginning a long and harrowing tale of capture, rendition, torture, and imprisonment.

I have been unable to understand why the Obama administration challenged Judge Robertson’s ruling on Mohamedou's habeas corpus, though the footnotes on Mohamedou’s wiki might prove instructive if one is trained in legalese. Mohamedou’s own personal diary of his time in detention from 2001-2005, from Mauritania, to Jordan, to Afghanistan, and finally to Guantánamo, though written in 2005, was not released for publication until 2013. Heavily redacted, it still allows a reader to get a sense of the man and his question directly to readers:
“So has American democracy passed the test it was subjected to with the 2001 terrorist attacks? I leave this judgment to the reader. As I am writing this, though, the United States and its people are still facing the dilemma of the Cuban detainees.”
Taking into account all we know of the successes, failures, intents, bureaucratic execution and distortions that are a part of our “intelligence” history, I think we have to conclude that keeping Slahi in Guantánamo for some 15 years is far from our finest hour, if he forgives the understatement. Moreover, it has not made us safer, that oft-recycled excuse for exceeding the letter of the law.

Slahi’s reminiscences are unexpectedly keen, propulsive, visceral, and colloquial, using American expressions to describe circumstances and characters we are sure to recognize. I say “unexpectedly” not because he is a Muslim, but because he is an engineer. It may be profiling to say that in my experience with engineers spoken or written language is not usually their forte. Mohamedou used English to write, though his stronger languages are Arabic, German, and French. He went to school in Germany, and understands western habits. He graduated from the University of Duisburg with a degree in engineering. When his visa was expiring in Germany, he travelled to Montreal to find work. Using English allows Mohamedou to address us, the American electorate, directly, and to gently remonstrate using our own language habits, and peculiar phraseology. We wish we knew this man, could send him books, could argue with him late into the night, only to realize with sadness, bitterness, and distaste after putting the book down that such things will never happen. Too much water under the bridge, we can almost hear him say.

Absolutely Mohamedou Ould Slahi should be released immediately: one only hopes that he is able to reconstruct some kind of life for himself after his ordeals. As he so eloquently puts it, there are stages to a prisoner’s emotions while under incarceration:
I have been through several stages during my captivity. The first phase was the worst: I almost lost my mind fighting to get back to my family and the life I was used to…It was several weeks before I realized that I’m in jail and not going home anytime soon...

Phase two is when you realize that you’re in jail and you possess nothing in the world but all the time in the world to think about your life—although in GTMO detainees also have to worry about daily interrogations…you have control over nothing…you have no privacy…In the beginning it is a horrible thing to lose all those privileges in the blink of an eye, but believe me, people get used to it. I personally did.

Phase three is discovering your new home and family. Your family comprises the guards and your interrogators. True, you didn’t choose this family, nor did you grow up with it, but it’s a family all the same, whether you like it or not, with all the advantages and disadvantages…

[In a footnote the book’s editor, Larry Siems, adds: MOS adds a note here in the margins of the handwritten original: “Phase four: getting used to the prison, and being afraid of the outside world.”]
One has to conclude it may have been a crime to keep him locked up. Highly recommended.

Larry Siems is a human rights activist and directed the Freedom to Write program at PEN American Center. He worked with Slahi's legal counsel to get this document released. It has been translated into 24 languages.
Profile Image for نورة.
657 reviews612 followers
September 7, 2020
"معتقل غوانتانامو" كان لهذا الاسم صدى واسع ومخيف، اعتاد أن يلفت نظري لأي وثائقي أو مقال أو كتاب يتحدث عنه، أتذكر كيف لفت نظري هذا الكتاب المسطر بالخطوط السوداء ما بين صفحاته، والتي تقوم على شطب كل اسم أو معلومة أو أمر لم ترض عن خروجه الرقابة الأمريكية، ليخرج إلى النور -دون صاحبه- بعد ٧ سنوات بعد محاولات حثيثة من محاميِّ "محمدو ولد صلاحي" وجهودهم المشكورة..
مضت السنوات والكتاب على الرف، والأصوات عن المعتقل بدأت تخفت، اختفى الاهتمام، لكن الكتاب لم يزل متواجدا يرمقني بنظراته..
"لقد أغلق المعتقل، وأفرج عن السجين، ولم أقرأ الكتاب بعد" هذا ما كنت أردده في نفسي وأظنه، إلا أن بحثا سريعا مؤخرا أكد لي أن المعتقل لا زال على حاله، لكننا من توقفنا عن الاهتمام، لا يزال الظلم يمارس حتى يومنا الحاضر، ولا تزال الديمقراطية الأمريكية حارسة لأحد أعتى سجون القرن الواحد والعشرين!

"توجد في التراث الشعبي الموريتاني حكاية فلكلورية عن شخص مصاب برهاب من الديكة.
لم يشف الرجل من رهابه أبدا طالما أن التحدث إلى الديك أمر مستحيل. كان يفقد عقله كلما صادف دیكا.
-لماذا تخاف من الديك على هذا النحو؟ يسأله الطبيب النفسي.
-يعتقد الديك أني ذرة.
-لكنك لست ذرة، أنت رجل كبير لا يمكن أن يخطئ أحد ويحسبك كوز ذرة.
-أعرف ذلك أيها الطبيب ولكن الديك لا يعرف، ومهمتك أن تذهب إلى الديك وتقتنعه بأنني لست ذرة .
لم يشف الرجل من رهابه أبدا طالما أن التحدث إلى الديك أمر مستحيل. تنتهي القصة عند هذا الحد .
منذ سنوات وأنا أعمل جاهدا لأقنع الولايات المتحدة بأنني لست ذرة".
هكذا يمكن أن أبدأ معك الحكاية..

"عزيزي القارئ: لن تستطيع أن تعرف مقدار الألم الجسدي والنفسي الذي تعرض له أناس مثلي مهما حاولت، ومهما حاولت أن تضع نفسك في مكاني."
ربما هذا ال��نبيه هو التنبيه الأكثر أهمية الذي يجب أن يوضع في كل صفحات الكتاب، وأمام كل معاناة.
إنه أكثر أمر قد أتفق معه وأذكر نفسي به كلما قرأت كتابا من هذا النوع، نحن نقرأ محاولة لرد الدين لكل مظلوم خذلناه، بالاستماع إليه ومحاولة فهم معاناته، أما الشعور بالألم فكذبة، نعم لم أشعر بألمه، لقد استطعت إكمال حياتي كما كانت، لأنني أجد أن أكثر ما يغضب الموجوع هو ادعائك أنك تشعر بما يشعر به، لكنك لا تفعل، لذا لا تكذب "اللي يده بالنار مش مثل اللي يده بالموية".
لكننا نقرأ احتراما لمعاناتهم، ومحاولة للاستماع إلى أحزانهم، فأن تعرف بمعاناة أحدهم، أن تهتم، هي خطوة البداية.

عندما يكون الكيس الأسود المحيط برأسك رحمة:
يتحدث محمدو عن الكيس الأسود الذي دائما ما يغطون به رؤوس المعتقلين، وكيف أنه يمنعه من مشاهدة عذابات الآخرين فيسبغ عليه بذا نعمة ربانية، ويحيله لعالم من أحلام اليقظة.. هذا ما أيقظ التساؤل في داخلي: هل الجهل نعمة؟ وهل يكون الظلام يوما حارسا ملائكيا لنا من مشاهدة القبح في هذا العالم؟

يذكر صلاحي أنواعا متعددة من التعذيب مارسها عليه المحققيون الأمريكيون، المضحك في الأمر أن الحكومة "الديمقراطية" استخدمت ألوانا مختلفة من العذابات، نفسيا وجسديا وجنسيا، ما بين التعذيب بالجليد "والتي استخدمها الملوك في القرون الوسطى"، وضرب الضحية وهي معصوبة العينين على فترات منتظمة "وهي طريقة استخدمها النازيون"، لقد جمعت هذه الحكومة "الديمقراطية" ألوانا من وسائل التعذيب التي استخدمتها الحكومات الديكتاتورية على مدى الأزمان!

لدي مشكلة مع هؤلاء المعتقلين! كلما قرأت أدب سجون أصابني الذهول والحنق من سعة صدور أصحابه، مع كل صفحة تجتمع الأحقاد والرغبة بالانتقام في صدري، وكأنما تولوا بكتاباتهم أن ينقلوا الأحقاد للقارئ وتفرغ صدورهم من كل رغبة بالانتقام.. عجيب هذه القدرة على رباطة الجأش وسماحة النفس، ويعللها صلاحي بقول بليغ حكيم لا يمكن أن أتعلمه أنا وأنت بين ليلة وضحاها، وإنما نتعلمه عبر تأديب الأيام وتهذيب الليال، يقول:
"إن الحاقدين من الناس يكون لديهم دائما شيء ينزعونه من صدورهم، ولكني لم أرد أن أكون مصرفا لذاك الشيء".
لقد أذهلتني رباطة جأشه أمام استفزازات المحققين النفسية والجسدية، ولكم استفزهم بدوره ببرودة أعصابه وطول نفسه.

"لماذا أنا خائف؟ لأن الجريمة شيء نسبي، تعرفه الحكومة بطريقة ما، ثم تعود لتعرفه على نحو مختلف"
هكذا يختصر صلاحي أزمة الشعوب الوجودية مع حكوماتها!

"-ماذا تعني بالشاي والسكر؟
-أعني بهما الشاي والسكر."
هكذا يلخص هذا الحوار الذي تردد آلاف المرات على مسامع المعتقل جنون الارتياب في الحكومات.
هنا يثبت النص رباطة جأش الفرد أمام فزع الحكومات وتخبطاتها! حينما تصاب بالارتياب من كل عبارة تخرج من فم المواطن، أو لعبة تنال اهتمامه، حينها تعلم مدى المصائب التي تحدث، لأن هذا الرجل العاقل هنا ليس إلا في موقع المسؤول والمحاكم، والمحكمة عجوز خرفة أصابها داء الشك في جميع أبنائها، لكنها مع الأسف تملك جسدا صلبا، وإمكانية وصول لا محدودة.

"البلدان العربية ليست صديقة لبعضها البعض" هكذا يؤكد صلاحي هذه العبارة مرارا، والتي جرب صدقها بنفسه عبر جرجرته في كثير من الدول العربية، والتي لا تعمل إلا بالتآمر فيما بينها.
لكنه شهد لحظة تعاون حقيقية مرة من المرات، وهذه المرة كانت في تعاون البلدان تحت رعاية أمريكية على اعتقاله وتعذيبه واستجوابه!
هذا هو الأمر الوحيد الذي قد تجتمع عليه دولنا العربية الحبيبة.. نعم.. أنا أمام كوميديا سوداء أضحكتني طوال القراءة، ضحكا انتهى بغصة لا زلت أشعر بها في جوفي!

وعلى ذكر الكوميديا السوداء، يذكر صلاحي صورة أعنون بها طبيعة قصته وواقعه، فقد كانت ترفع عند بعض المحققين لوحات مكتوب عليها: "الشرف مرتبط بالدفاع عن الحرية". يا للسخرية! حينما يرفع جلاد الحرية لوحة مثل هذه، بل دوك الأدهى: إنهم يؤمنون بذلك في قرارة أنفسهم!
حتى أن محققا صرخ في وجهه مرة:
-لا أعرف لماذا يكرهنا الناس، مع أننا نساعد الجميع في العالم!
-وأنا لا أعرف أيضا، أجبته.

مفاجأة: لا يمكن للإنسان أن يتخلص من إنسانيته.
على الرغم من صور التعذيب فإن الكتاب يؤكد لي مرارا على أن داخل كل امرئ إنسانية إما أن يدفنها وإما أن تغلبه فتنتشل نفسها من ركام سيئاته.
فقد ذكر صلاحي صورا كثيرة للحراس وهم يتبادلون معه الحديث والشكاوى والنصائح، يلعبون معه الشطرنج والتي تعلمها في السجن حتى تفوق فيها، ويرمي سبب تفوقه لكونها أعادت له جزءا من السيطرة في هذا المكان الاستعبادي، لكن لم يتقبل الجميع فوزه، واستخدموا صلاحياتهم لترهيبه من الفوز، وقد سمح لهم بذلك -لقد تمكنوا من إرغامه على كثير من الأمور في السجن وقفت على لعبة يعني :/-، يعطونه سرا أجهزة وأشرطة أفلام، ويمارسون معه لعبة "حرب النجوم" عبر تسمية كل فرد بأحد أبطال هذه الحكاية، لكن -للتنبيه- لا يسمح لصلاحي أن يختار لنفسه اسما سوى أسماء الأشرار في هذه اللعبة :)

"لقد نسيت اسم زوجتي وأسماء العديد من أفراد أسرتي بسبب الحالة المتواصلة لنقص النشاط المقرون بالكآبة"
يا الله! لقد صحت أمام هذا النص! يا رب رحماك! وأي شيء يتبقى للمرء بعد أن يفقد سنده الذي يحمله داخل دماغه "ذاكرته"، كيف يواجه صفاقة الأيام، ومن أين يستمد العون لمواصلة الكفاح؟!
أن تفقد الخيط الأخير الذي يمدك بحبل الوصال مع عائلتك وأحبابك "ذكرياتك معهم" يعني لفظ النفس الأخير لك في العيش.
أن تفقد الجدار الذي تستند عليه كلما عنفك الحاضر، والسلاح الذي تواجه به مخاوف المستقبل، أن تفقد ماضيك.. يعني أن تفقد جزءا كبيرا من نفسك.

"ذات مرة اكتشفت كيف يمكن التمييز بين الليل والنهار. بدأت أعد الأيام بتلاوة عشر صفحات من القرآن يوميا. ففي كل ستين يوما كنت أختم القرآن لأعود وأبدأ من جديد، وهكذا استطعت أن أعرف الأيام"
هذه هي عناصر الساعة التي يمتكلها صلاحي، قل لي بالله عليك هل تملك ساعة تعمل بهذا النوع العظيم من المعايير؟
أذكر أنني قرأت عن الصحابة حسابهم للأوقات فيما بينهم بمقياس ما تأخذه قراءة الوجه من القرآن، فيقول أحدهم: "قمت من الليل بمقدار سورة البقرة" ليفهمه الآخر تماما.
أعاد لي صلاحي من خلال عبارته هذه هذا المقياس الفاضل الذي حفظ عليه عقله وأوقاته في السجن، وإن كان من أمر يؤلمني ويحرق قلبي حينما أمر عليه، فهو شعوري بالخزي أمام حفظ الشناقطة -وصلاحي أحدهم- للقرآن حفظا يطال العناية به، حتى أن صلاحي رفض من إدارة السجن أن تسلمه مصحفا، خوفا عليه من أن تمسه الأيدي النجسة، لقد كان يكتفي بالمصحف في قلبه، لقد حفظه أيام سرائه، ليحفظه -كلام الله- في أيام شدته وبلائه!
في كل مرة أواجه فيها أوقات السجن القاسية والمملة والطويلة في كتاب، أتخيل نفسي مكان صاحبه، فأجزع خوفا وقلقا، ما الذي سيؤنس وحدتي؟ إن أكثر ما نلجأ إليه أوقات فراغنا ومللنا هي أمور لا نملكها بينما تملكنا، وستكون عقابا قاسيا علينا يوما من الأيام، ومعاناة شديدة نواجهها جراء إدمانها إن حرمنا منها يوما.
فتش عن خلواتك، ستجد هاتفا، لعبة، كتابا، صديقا.. ناهيك عن المحرمات مما يملأ وقتك.. لم نتخذ صديقا حقيقيا في خلواتنا يمكننا أن نعول عليه وقت الشدة، إن صلاحي بحفظه لكتاب الله، وتعلقه بخالقه كفى نفسه مؤونة الفقد، فمن ذا الذي يستطيع أن يحول بينه وبين ربه وحديث ربه؟ لا أحد! ولو اجتمعت قوى الأرض على أن تنزعها منه ما استطاعت!

يصف صلاحي أطوار تحول الإنسان في هذا المكان المتوحش من إنسان إلى وحش، فقد شهد حضور حراس جدد، كانت الرحمة دأبهم حتى حولتهم طبيعة المكان إلى وحوش. يتعجب صلاحي من قدرة الإنسان على التنمر والتعذيب حينما تعطى له فرصة السلطة. إن إنسان المدينة اليوم وإن بدا لنا حضاريا، فإن بضعة أيام في معتقلات وحشية كفيلة بتغييره وإفساده. وهو أمر مخيف يظهر لك سهولة توحش الإنسان وسرعة تغيره.

هل يمكن أن يكون مصدر فرحك وسادة تهداها أو لعبة ps4 تلعبها؟
الإجابة: نعم.
يذكر صلاحي قصة رمزية عن رجل جرد من ملابسه أمام الناس، فسئل: ماذا يريد؟ فأجاب: حذاء.
إن أولئك المجردون من كل حق وسبب للعيش قد يكفيهم من الحياة أي فتات يرمز لحيويتها. إن سبب فرحه بالوسادة كان لاعتبارها رمزا على انتهاء العذاب الجسدي له. وفرحه باللعب مع أحد الحراس، فرح بالقدرة على التواصل مع أي كائن، حتى هذا اللي تدعوه عدوك. ولا عدو لدى صلاحي فيما يبدو، فهذا الرجل قد تخفف من كل شيء حتى العداوات.

الجدير بالذكر أن حكومة دولة صلاحي هي من سلمته غدرا، وحكومة الأردن كانت الأقسى في معاملته -فقد استجوب فيها لمدة ٨ شهور تقريبا، فصلاحي يذكر أن أمريكا تفضل بعض الدول العربية في الاستجواب على أجهزتها هي! واو يا للفخر!- ناهيك عن السنغال ومصر وغيرهم من الدول التي ذكر صلاحي أن العذاب تحت وطأتها كان الأشنع، وهو ما أشهد به بعد قراءتي لكثير من أدب السجون العربية، فمهما قرأت في هذا الكتاب، فإنه يظل أرحم كتب أدب السجون التي قرأت -ويا للأسف!-.

في نهاية الكتاب، وكعادتي مع أي كتاب من هذا النوع أقتل المواقع بحثا عن المؤلف وحياته ولقاءاته، وقد عثرت على خبر سعيد يذكر أن صلاحي تم إطلاق سراحه سنة ٢٠١٦م.
ودونك الخبر العجيب والصورة العجيبة:
لقد ذكر صلاحي في نهاية كتابه أنه لا يحمل حقدا تجاه أي أحد، بل إنه يأمل أن يجتمع يوما مع حراسه وسجانيه على طاولة واحدة يتناولون الشاي.
هذا الرجل لم يكن يكذب، فبعد عودته لموريتانا قام بدعوة أحد الحراس وإكرامه، وقد أسلم هذا الحارس معللا ذلك بمدى إعجابه بدين هذا الرجل العظيم.
لقد كان صلاحي عظيما، لا لتحمله الأذى والعنف، بل لقدرته على العفو والصفح "وما يلقاها إلا ذو حظ عظيم". تحت هذه الصورة وجدت تعليقات كثيرة تبين أنها لم تعف عن هذا السجان، وأنها تشعر بالغضب والحنق تجاهه، لقد كانت التعليقات تخرج كثيرا من الغضب بداخلي، وتؤكد لي ولنا: أن صلاحي أقوى منا جميعا.

*هنا صورة لصلاحي مع جلاده السابق، والمسلم الجديد في ضيافته بصحراء موريتانيا:


*شكر جزيل وخاص للمترجم الذي حاول أن يفكك مع القارئ المشطوب، ويستنتج ببحوثه الجادة ما حاولت السلطات الأمريكية إخفاءه، ويربط بين الأحداث والأسماء بكل جدارة.
Profile Image for Asim Qureshi.
Author 3 books285 followers
April 20, 2022
There are a number of accounts that have now been published regarding the experiences of those who were detained as part of the US detentions system in the War on Terror. Mohamedou Ould Slahi provides us with another important witness to the treatment of the survivors and those who continue to suffer.

A unique perspective that Slahi brings from the other Guantanamo Bay accounts, is the role that was played by the Mauritanian authorities in cooperating with the Americans as part of the detention, rendition and torture programme. Unlike many of the other detainees, Slahi was kidnapped from his country of origin, and so the voice of indignation at his betrayal is ever present. Despite the role played by his own government, however, Slahi's anger is much more directed towards the US. He constantly challenging the perceptions of his captors, not only resisting his unlawful incarceration, but also playing the role of educator,

<“You’re holding me because your country is strong enough to be unjust. And it’s not the first time you have kidnapped Africans and enslaved them.”>
<“African tribes sold their people to us,” he replied;>
<“I wouldn’t defend slavery, if I were in your shoes.”>

There are many difficult passages littered throughout the book, but even more worrying, is what is not said. There a long sections in the book that have been redacted by the censoring monitors at Guantanamo Bay, information that the US Department of Defense deems too dangerous to reveal publicly. It is no coincidence that these matters of national security seem to occur around the same passages where torture is about to be described.

The true striking features of Slahi's account, however, are his humour and his faith, both of which becoming defining features of his narrative. His humour is often broken though, as he thinks of family and reflects on the denial of even the most basic part of being human. His faith remains strong throughout, but it is incredible to see the extent to which the American interrogators go to break it, by abusing his religion, but also his sexuality. In the end, it is the sexual humiliation that often becomes the most difficult passages to read, as his customs, traditions and religion are preyed upon,

<""Then today, we're gonna teach you about great American sex. Get up!" said [redacted]">
<"As soon as I stood up, the two [redacted] took off their blouses, and started to talk all kind of dirty stuff you can imagine, which I minded less. What hurt most was them forcing me to take part in a sexual threesome in the most degrading manner. What many [redacted] don't realize is that men get hurt the same as women if they're forced to have sex, maybe more due to the traditional position of the man.">

Clear in the account is the notion that not only was religion an uplifting, healing and emancipatory part of the lives of detainees, it also became a battlefield as their religion and its practice was used as a weapon to try and break them,

<"But in the secret camps, the war against the Islamic religion was more than obvious. Not only was there no sign to Mecca, but the ritual prayers were also forbidden. Reciting the Koran was forbidden. Possessing the Koran was forbidden. Fasting was forbidden. Practically any Islamic-related ritual was strictly forbidden. I am not talking here about hearsay; I am talking about something I experienced myself. I don’t believe that the average American is paying taxes to wage war against Islam, but I do believe that there are people in the government who have a big problem with the Islamic religion.">

Mohamedou Ould Slahi's account is not like the others, for it is written by someone still incarcerated by the US, and thus his voice stands out uniquely from all those who came before him. His book should not be read as simply an educational or learning experience, but rather should be treated as a call to action, particularly since he lost the most recent round of challenges to his unlawful detention in December 2015. We should walk away from reading this book with only one sentiment, "Free Slahi."
Profile Image for Asma Ghrairi.
107 reviews91 followers
January 16, 2020
هل هناك حد للظلم ؟ لا أعتقد ذلك !
كتاب يجسد المعاناة الحقيقية لمعتقل في غوانتانامو كتبها بنفسه وظللت عديد الحقائق منها
ان لم ترض عنك امريكا فانت متهم ومذنب وارهابي يكفي انك عربي ومسلم
Profile Image for Tosh.
Author 13 books626 followers
March 24, 2015
I didn't finish this book, because it's too horrifying. And yet, I give it five stars. Mohamedou Ouid Slahi is a very good writer and diarist. What is terrible is the consistent torture he has to go through on a daily basis - and more likely is still treated in this manner. Brutality + brutality never equals peace. What's terrible about this specific story is that the U.S. is behind the brutality here. For whatever reasons it seems that it is perfectly OK to torture another human - for just the sake of being able to torture another. This is not a Republican or a Democrat problem, but one of the United States. Guantanamo should not exist on this planet, and surely not under the 'care' of the U.S. Not to sound cliché, but the author is truly in a Kafka like world, where there is very little hope of him getting out of the system. Also one wonders what kind of people actually like doing this type of work - where they torture another human - are they really concerned about getting information? I suspect not. I think what we have is a culture that accepts torture as a means to... well, it doesn't do anything except cause pain. There is no difference of having men dressed in black cutting off people's heads in front of a camera, and those who torture prisoners in private settings. Yet, here we are, about to face another Presidential election between Heckle and Jeckle - and neither one will comment on the horrors of Guantanamo. Absurd and equally depressing.
Profile Image for Aggeliki.
280 reviews
February 17, 2021
Αν ψάχνεις για ένα βιβλίο ώστε να περάσει ευχάριστα η ώρα σου, δεν είναι αυτό. Άλλωστε δεν γράφτηκε προς τέρψιν των αναγνωστών. Το ημερολόγιο αυτό θα σε ταράξει, θα σε σοκάρει, θα σου ανακατέψει το στομάχι με τη βιαιότητα, ίσως σε αφυπνίσει για τα πολιτικά συμφέροντα, μα πιο πολύ από όλα, θα ��ε κάνει να υποκλιθείς μπροστά στο μεγαλείο και το σθένος της ανθρώπινης ψυχής. Αν τα έχει κάνει όλα αυτά, ωραία, έχει εκπληρώσει τον σκοπό του.
Χρειάστηκε αρκετές φορές να πείσω τον εαυτό μου να συνεχίσει να διαβάζει για την απανθρωπιά, την ωμότητα και τη βάρβαρη υπόσταση του κόσμου όπου ζούμε. Μια στάλα ενσυναίσθηση αν έχεις, σε συγκλονίζει με τα όσα περιγράφονται.
Και παρά το γεγονός ότι οι απαλοιφές του λογοκριμένου κειμένου ήταν κάπως άβολες και ενοχλητικές για την κατανόηση του τι διαβάζεις, ταυτόχρονα όμως αποδεικνύει το μέγεθος της φρικαλεότητας που αποκρύφτηκε και των ατόμων που τη διέπραξαν.
Μόνο σεβασμός για αυτόν τον άνθρωπο που υπέμεινε τα πάνδεινα χωρίς να επιλέξει την εύκολη διέξοδο.
Profile Image for Robin Kirk.
Author 30 books64 followers
January 23, 2015
I'm recommending this to everyone -- Slahi is the first and so far only person to have been held in Guantánamo and tortured by the US to have written about and published a memoir. Mark Danner in the New York Times wrote that the diary "is the most profound account yet written of what it is like to be that collateral damage" mentioned by our torturer in chief Dick Cheney. This harrowing tale is but one of what will someday be many direct accounts by victims.
Originally from Mauritius, Slahi, 45, was detained on a journey home in January 2000 and questioned about the so-called Millennium plot to bomb the Los Angeles airport. Slahi admitted that he'd fought against Afghanistan's communist government with the mujahedin, at that time supported by the US. But he never opposed the United States. Authorities released him. A year later, the young engineer was again detained and again released. Months later, Slahi drove himself to a local police station to answer questions. This time, Americans forced him onto a CIA plane bound for Jordan, where he claims he was tortured. On August 5, 2002, Americans brought him to Guantánamo. Slahi is among the detainees whose horrific torture there is the centerpiece of the Senate report. None other than then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld signed the "special interrogation plan" authorizing his brutal ordeal. Slahi divides his imprisonment into pre-torture, when he truthfully denied any involvement in terrorism; and post-torture, "where my brake broke loose. I yessed every accusation my interrogators made. I even wrote the infamous confession about me planning to hit the CN tower in Toronto, based on SSG [redacted] advice. I just wanted to get the monkeys off my back."
His captors beat and threatened him, subjected him to bitter cold and sleep deprivation, stress positions and repulsive sexual abuse by female interrogators. Yet with astonishing grace, Slahi seems more traumatized by the torture he witnessed. He saw teenagers who could barely lift their heads, confused old men and others like him who said anything to get the pain to stop. Slahi taught himself English so he could write his 466-page memoir, long kept secret. Once his lawyers got his manuscript released, authorities refused to let Slahi’s editor, journalist Larry Siems, meet him. Siems calls the memoir "a journey through the darkest regions of the United States' post-9/11 detention and interrogation program."
Profile Image for Sahbi.
6 reviews2 followers
January 16, 2016

This review is not about how the book is good or bad. This review is about how a man can have the energy and the patience to learn and write his diary using a language that he barely knew. This review is about how a man can have the courage to stand up and start writing, after all, the torture, humiliation and agony. This review is about how a man can write with so much love and fun about his torturers and guards. I had known some Mauritanian people and I discovered how they are generous and lovely but Mohamed is beyond that he is a Mauritanian Gandhi or Dalai Lama who is trying to face his enemy with love, understanding and empathy. I liked the MOHAMADOU OULD SLAHI BOOK, but I liked much more MOHAMADOU OULD SLAHI the person.
Profile Image for Daniel Simmons.
815 reviews40 followers
February 8, 2015
So very, very, very, very upsetting. Five stars not for the quality of the writing, although that is often splendid, but because this prison memoir (of a man in the midst of his thirteenth year in a Guantanamo cell) is an eye-opening must-read for any American citizen.
Profile Image for الزبير محمد.
13 reviews11 followers
June 22, 2021
الوجه الكالح للعم سام الذي لم تنجح كل مساحيق التجميل الإعلامية في تجميله.
فعلا " وثيقة لا تصدق ،و قصة من الجحيم"
Profile Image for Roberta Korus.
104 reviews3 followers
February 25, 2015
A must-read for every person of conscience, eloquently written in the author's fourth language, English. As I told my husband about Mohamedou Ould Slahi's continuing, more than 12 year, incarceration at Guantanamo, and particularly about the abuse and torture, both physical and psychological, he has received at the hands or behest of the U.S. government, he asked how I could stand to read about these things. The answer: To bear witness to Slahi's experience so that we can end, and in future prevent, such miscarriages of justice. In Mr. Slahi's own words (redaction is the US government's, not mine):

"Human beings naturally hate to torture other human beings, and Americans are no different. Many of the soldiers were doing the job reluctantly, and were very happy when they were ordered to stop. Of course there are sick people everywhere in the world who enjoy seeing other people suffering, but generally human beings make use of torture when they get chaotic and confused. And Americans certainly got chaotic, vengeful, and confused, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"At the direction of President Bush, the U.S. began a campaign against the Taliban government in Afghanistan. On September 18, 2001, a joint resolution of Congress authorized President Bush to use force against 'the nations, organizations, or persons' that 'planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.' Then the U.S. government started a secret operation aimed at kidnapping, detaining, torturing, or killing terrorist suspects, an operation that has no legal basis.

"I was the victim of such an operation, though I had done no such thing and have never been a part of any such crimes. On September 29, 2001, I got a call on my cellphone [in Mauritania in West Africa, Slahi's homeland, where he lived and worked] and was asked to turn myself in, which I immediately did, sure I would be cleared. Instead, Americans interrogated me in my home country, and then the U.S. reached a joint agreement with the Mauritanian government to send me to Jordan to squeeze the last bits of information out of me. I was incarcerated and interrogated under horrible conditions in Jordan for eight months, and then the Americans flew me to Bagram Air Base [in Afghanistan] for two weeks of interrogation, and finally on to the Guantanamo Bay Base XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, where I still am today."

Throughout his captivity, Mr. Slahi has repeatedly asked his captors to tell him what the charges are against him, without success; in fact, in all this time, the U.S. government has never charged him with a crime. Nearly five years ago, a federal judge ordered Slahi's release, but the U.S. government fought that decision, and there is still no indication of when, if ever, the government plans to release him.

Please read and share this powerful book and insist that the U.S. government immediately charge or release Mohamedou Slahi.
Profile Image for Stacia.
834 reviews103 followers
April 26, 2015
A stunning & shocking book that should be required reading for Americans. Quite a few of Slahi's accounts have since been corroborated by declassified reports & documents, as well as various legal actions to bring some of these activities to light (which lends weight to him being a fairly reliable narrator). Slahi's diary shines a bright & damning light on the fundamental shift in American thinking that took place after 9/11 when America walked away from many of its previously-held, basic principles including due process, humane treatment, and justice.

The account becomes more powerful when you realize that Slahi wrote this diary while living under torturous conditions in an isolated & very small bubble (no contact or knowledge of what was going on in the world outside of his cell). Picking up English as his fourth language while imprisoned & using it for his diary, he recounts his background, arrests, tortures, & 'world travels' (being taken to Jordan, Afghanistan, & then Guantanamo) with intelligent observations & an unerring faith in God, while maintaining his humanity in spite of decidedly inhumane treatment.

The diary mainly covers the years 2001-05. Ten years later, his diary has finally been published after years of legal wrangling. (It is almost certain that Slahi has no idea his diary has actually been published.) Although a federal judge ordered Slahi's release in 2010, the US government balked. Slahi remains in Guantanamo &, these many years later, still has not been charged with any crime.

We Americans, especially, need to read this & ask questions of ourselves, our government, our humanity, & our future.

Is this the America we once were? Is this the America we are now? Is this really the America we want to be?

Powerful & required reading.
Profile Image for Fahad Alqurain.
302 reviews130 followers
October 31, 2016
كتاب أشبه بالجحيم وقصة مثيرة، لن تستطيع النوم حتى تنهيها !!
Profile Image for Sean Sharp.
11 reviews1 follower
February 22, 2015
It is the responsibility of every American to read this book.

It is not the responsibility of the reader to make a conclusion on whether Salahi is necessarily innocent or guilty (though his conditions of guilt are not and have never been described), nor is it the responsibility of the reader to even qualify a judgment against Salahi’s character. Ultimately what the reader must take from this account, indeed what post-modern American society must come to grips with, is a true, first-hand understanding of the humanitarian crimes wrought by the American government during the frenzied post-9/11 period.

Salahi’s detention without charge and months of unending torture (“legally” permissible under the Authorization for Use of Military Force) recounted here is firmly at odds with every value that the United States has fought for over two centuries to uphold. Ironically enough, Salahi’s treatment by US Military Intelligence, so gruesomely entombed in this memoir, is the direct embodiment of the chaos and lawlessness that it has crusaded through distant lands to eradicate.

As American citizens, indeed as persons of belief in humane treatment, we must not turn a blind eye to this book or to the horrors within. Whatever your misgivings of “uncomfortable” literature or ideological debate, this account must be digested, shared, and discussed, lest the evils inflicted upon the United States in 2001 become internalized by its people.
Profile Image for Missy J.
563 reviews83 followers
March 19, 2021
Update: In October 2016, Mohamedou Oul Slahi was freed from Guantanamo Bay and returned back to Mauritania.

After reading this book, it's still not clear why exactly the American government decided to detain him. Slahi seemed to be set for a bright future. After finishing high school, he won a scholarship to study in Germany. For 12 years, he studied, worked and lived in Germany before trying to immigrate to Canada. In the early 90s, he traveled to Afghanistan twice and fought with Al Qaeda against the Communist regime. This and the prominent people of the Islamic world he met while living abroad in Germany and Canada would later spark suspicions among US officials when Slahi returned to Mauritania in 2000. He was handed over by local officials to the American government.

This diary follows the events of how Slahi was first interrogated upon returning to Mauritania, following his interrogation in Senegal, Mauritania, Jordan, Afghanistan until he was sent to Guantanamo Bay in August 2002. This book also covers horrifying torture scenes Slahi suffered at the hands of interrogators with authorization from the US government up until 2005 (when he handed over his diary). What has happened to him since that time is not included in the book. However the little details he does include about the torture are enough to make any reader realize that it's crazy that a so-called first world nation like the US commits such crimes in the 21st century.

Slahi's pro-bono lawyer fought hard to get these manuscripts from the US government and the diary they received was redacted. Therefore Larry Siems, the editor of this book, included a lot of footnotes in this book for clarification and what he believes was left out in the book. He did a good job and also pointed out at some of the absurd things that were censored. Slahi has been imprisoned for over a decade already. Let's hope that he and the remaining detainees whose reasons for imprisonment are not clear, will live to see a day where they receive some sort of justice. That said, Guantanamo Bay is truly a black chapter in today's America.
Profile Image for Kells Next Read .
528 reviews532 followers
May 22, 2017
Not Redacted

"The Law of war is Harsh, If there's anything good at all on a war, it's that it brings the best and the worst out of people: some people try to use the lawlessness to hurt others, and some try to reduce the suffering to the minimum."

Putting aside political, cultural and spiritual preferences I personally found this book to be thought provoking, eyeopening, candid read, filled with humor. I'm always skeptical about autobiographies as I find them firstly Boring and Unnecessary. This book broke all my preconceived prejudices and I am extremely please that I picked it up. I'm not going summarize what this book is about because you can do so from it's Goodreads Page but what I will say is this. While reading this book about Mohamedou Ould Slahi experiences and the things that he pass through,( ie. from the perspective of who he is and what religious faith he ascribed too ) it has me firstly examining myself. Whether I too hold ( knowingly or unknowingly ) prejudices and or fixed thought patterns ( that I don't even question if they are right or wrong ) about people, cultures and religion that I have never taken the time to really know. This book left me asking myself a lot of hard questions. Oh Boy...That's always a good think.

Still Thinking, but here's some quotes that are on replay in my head from the book

"All of this shit happens because of hatred, Hatred is the reason for all Disasters."

Dictatorship is governed Chaos

Read This Book
Profile Image for Rural Soul.
462 reviews68 followers
April 4, 2021
I saw this movie poster (The Mauritanian) and I got to know that it's based on true events. Starring one of my most favourite actor Tahar Rahim.
I wanted to read the book first. So here I am after devouring it nonstop with all those omissions in the text.
Muhammadou Oulad Salahi born in Mauritania and got his scholarship for Germany in Electronic Engineering. He spent almost 12 years in Germany. He did only one thing bad, which was fighting in Afghanistan against Communists. Ironically people who kidnapped or detained him, were on his back on that time.
This was dark spot which got him arrested for more than three times and everytime he turned him in.
Guantanomo Bay detention centre had been in headlights of human rights violations and other war crimes. I had been hearing and reading this since in was 13 years old. Salahi bore tremendous torture but he wasn't chargeded in all those years.
Mauritanian govt stabbed him in the back to turn him over without sufficient proof. It's not new thing for third world countries to bait these so called demi God like America with their own people. Our Pakistani dictator Musharaf offered many individuals like Salahi.
The book is very beautifully written but redactions tried to make it very difficult to read. However footnotes from editor helped to understand redacted texts. After all that torture, Salahi didn't have any grudge against Americans and even those guards who did him. He had been critical of USA policies. However Salahi finally won his battle of release but this book was published in 2005.
November 4, 2015
I've never in my entire life endure attempts at brainwashing quite like this. I finished this book on principle after being stationed at GTMO for a year.

The redactions were poorly done (many inconsistencies/redundancies were pointed out by the editor). I'm not saying that MOS wasn't tortured, but I strongly feel that this book is an attempt to play on the emotions of the reader. This book is completely subjective and anyone who reads this book as a voice of truth and doesn't take it with a grain of salt is falling prey to exactly what MOS, the editor, and extremists around the world want you to believe: That the US is the big bad guy.
Profile Image for Noel نوال .
619 reviews34 followers
May 5, 2021
This is the manuscript diary of Mohamedou Ould Salahi, a Mauritanian Muslim man that was detained and imprisoned for 15 years in Guantanamo Bay without ever having been charged for a crime. He was innocent. His crime? Being Arab and Muslim right after 9/11 had taken place when America was on a path of revenge determined to punish all Muslims and Arabs for the actions of a select few. To any person unignorant to the corruption of the American government, especially in regards to the “War on Terror”, the human rights violations and war crimes the US has committed just in the last few decades is astronomical. George Bush created so much harm through his corruption, initiating unethical wars he titled “Crusades” completely unsanctioned by the UN, opening up Guantanamo Bay, creating torture procedures used on prisoners of war despite the violatioins of the Geneva convention, and so much much more yet he remains free and uncharged despite the fact that he is technically by many accounts a war criminal. If you disagree, perhaps you should do your research about the Bush family and their multitude of business and personal ties with Osama Bin Ladin and Sadam Hussein, both of whom both Bush Sr. and Jr. conveniently waged wars with in the names of American patriotism and “freeing Iraq”.
After 9/11 my family was one of thousands of Muslim and Arab American families in my state alone questioned and interrogated, because in the US if you are not white you are guilty until proven innocent. It was then that the American government made it perfectly clear that regardless of our citizenship, we were not really Americans, not to them, but more like espionage villains as we were continuously alienated and othered with criminality we didn’t possess or practice. Islam and the Arab race have been so heavily vilified in the media, especially in post 9/11 America, that the word ‘terrorist’ has become synonymous with both demographics, and even more so when you’re an Arab Muslim. ‘Terrorist’ is NEVER used towards the largest demographic that commits the most terrorism in the United States and is completely homegrown; white supremacy.
Mohamedou’s diary has been heavily redacted by the US government, nearly half of it is blacked out to hide the inhumane torture, the rampant sexism and rape culture of the US armed forces, international groups associated with America’s war crimes, and essentially the US government covering their asses for the abyss-deep corruption. Since this book was published before Mohamedou’s release in 2016 many of his words were censored, but with the help of Larry Seims who expertly used articles, research, and various reputable resources he was able to fill in the many gaps of the redacted manuscript with footnotes.
It does not surprise me that fellow Americans are so blinded with patriotism and hesitant to believe that horrible human beings can be in the Armed Forces. Not everyone that wears a uniform is a good person regardless of the profession they’re in, and people really need to get that in their heads. Many of America’s most prolific serial killers served in the Armed Forces; Jeffrey Dahmer, Gary Ridgeway, David Berkowitz, and Dean Corll just to name a few. As both a Muslim and Arab American I have faced hate crimes by members of the US Army and Marines, and people I love have had their lives threatened and nearly taken by members of the Armed Forces on American soil. Go into any Army supply or surplus store in America and many of them have Islamophobic paraphernalia and accessories; Arabic text that declares the wearer is armed and will proudly kill Muslims. Think I’m lying? Go check it out for yourself. Many Americans drive around with bumper stickers declaring the same thing on the rear ends of the cars. Now, I do not hate the military and I posess enough intelligence to understand that there are good and bad people in every group. I’m related to and have known many amazing human beings in the Armed Forces who live their lives and serve their duties with honor and respect towards humanity. But unfortunately, so many fellow Americans are so blinded by patriotism they cannot see the difference between what is right and what is wrong so corruption, criminality, and inhumanity are overlooked.
Guantanomo Bay is a disgusting stain on not only the United States’ history, but on humanity, and those who disagree are either deeply ignorant or extremely racist and Islamophobic. Many of the detainees there have not even been charged with crimes and yet are considered “forever prisoners” and held without trial, without proof of criminality, and are put through the most inhumane conditions and torture. In 2013 when Edward Snowden gloriously leaked “Wikileaks” a ton of information about Guantanomo Bay was released including the sick methods of torture the guards were inflicting on the detainees; torture that is completely against the Geneva code and violates a multitude of human rights. When they were released I read through many of those documents; it was horrendous and I became physically ill and vomited from the sickening acts those monsters committed on human beings. Once these documents were leaked, America rushed to release over 70 detainees to the Middle East, South America, and Africa who were never convicted of any crimes and had been wrongfully held at Guantanomo Bay experiencing physical, psychological, and emotional tortures, and sexual assault and rape.
Reading this book shattered my heart into a million pieces for so many reasons. The US government took away decades of Mohamedou’s life for no reason, and to this day despite his innocence being proven and freeing him he has received no justice, no compensation, no aid in rebuilding his life, no apology, nothing. Despite everything that Mohamedou was put through he holds no grudges and remains a kind and gentle spirit even though he is not allowed to leave Mauritania. Watching the British short documentary “My Brother’s Keeper” about Mohamedou and one of the former Guantanomo Bay guards Scott Woods he befriended who treated him with compassion and humanity my heart ached so much for Mohamedou and all of the innocent detainee “forever prisoners'' who continue to live in the hell that is Gitmo.
Profile Image for kostas  vamvoukakis.
421 reviews12 followers
January 31, 2020
μια σειρα επιστολών ενος μέλους της αλ καιντα α οποίος έχει μπλεχτει σε ενα φαυλο κυκλο ανακρισεων και βασανισμων ενω δεν εχουν καταφερει (οι ΗΠΑ) να του προσαψουν κατηγοριες....πολυ λογοκριμενο σε σημεια να χανεις την συνοχη...απο πλευρας ανθρωπινων δικαιωμάτων ειναι εμφανες ότι υπαρχουν σοβαρες παραβάσεις με βαση τα όσα εξιστορει ο σλαχι...από πλευρας αθωότητας του δεν μπορώ να έχω άποψη γιατί είναι μονο η μια πλευρα ....δεν ειναι ευκολο αναγνωσμα...αλλά αρκετα ενδιαφέρον
Profile Image for Tanzeel.
35 reviews
May 31, 2020
I know you guys have been eagerly anticipating this review, so I went into overdrive and finished the book in just over a day! 2 books in approximately 3.5 days - if you had told 2019 Tanzeel that, he’d have called you a madman.

You may have been asking yourself ��Why is my friend Tanzeel so interested in this area? Should I call the police?” NO! Growing up in Birmingham post 9/11, often I’d hear of people being sent to this prison on the other side of the world and I wondered why? What had they done to deserve this? And so, I was at my uncles house when I saw a book sitting on his shelf: “Enemy Combatant - Moazzam Begg” (I’d see Moazzam Begg regularly as me and his son did karate together. At the time I had no idea who he was) - which I borrowed. I will probably reread this book in the near future, so look out for a review! But long story short, he was detained unjustly in Guantanamo for about 2 years - if I recall correctly. Since reading that book I have held considerable interest in the detainees of this prison.

Guantanamo diary is a detailed account by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, an electrical engineer by trade, that follows his harrowing journey from his mother’s doorstep in Mauritania to a place he’d call home for the next 15 years - Guantanamo Bay. He goes into excruciating detail about the torture and humiliation he underwent at the hands of Americans and, surprisingly (to me, anyway), Jordanians - he was subjected to enhanced interrogation in Jordan before he was sent to Guantanamo - and Egyptians. Slahi, a hafidh of the Quran, showed tremendous trust and faith in Allah (SWT) during them arduous years, which I found quite inspiring.

Surely to be locked up for 15 years in the worlds highest security prison, reserved for the worst of the worst, you’d have had to commit a heinous crime? Well, think again. For years, his interrogators tried to pin the failed Millennium Plot on him. Later they accused him of being one of the conspirators behind 9/11 - but they couldn’t prove it. Why? Because he was innocent.
Profile Image for Kyriakos S Kyriakou.
119 reviews14 followers
January 1, 2017
Ένα είναι σίγουρο. Ότι δεν έχω ξαναδιαβάσει τέτοιο βιβλίο. Και τι εννοώ; Πρόκειται για το ημερολόγιο του συγγραφέα ο οποίος βρίσκεται ακόμη φυλακισμένος στο Γκουανταναμό, τις φυλακές των Η.Π.Α. μέσα στην στρατιωτική τους βάση, που βρίσκεται στην Κούβα. Ο Σλάχι βρίσκεται εκεί από το 2002 και πολλά πράγματα που έχει γράψει στο ημερολόγιο του, έχουν λογοκριθεί και εμφανίζονται στο βιβλίο ως μαύρα κενά ή μαύρες γραμμές. Απαλοιφές ονομάτων και αντωνυμιών που καθορίζουν το φύλο των ατόμων και άλλων πληροφοριών που η Αμερικανική κυβέρνηση θεωρεί απόρρητες. Σε ένα σημείο του βιβλίου φτάνει σε 6,5 σελίδες γεμάτες με μαύρες γραμμές.

Παρόλα αυτά το βιβλίο είναι ευάγνωστο και υπάρχουν αρκετές υποσημειώσεις από τον επιμελητή για να καταλάβεις τα πάντα. Είναι ένα βιβλίο που σίγουρα σε προβληματίζει για το που μπορεί να φτάσει ο άνθρωπος σε ακρότητες, κακοποίηση και απανθρωπιά. Για το ποιος φταίει για την τρομοκρατία τελικά; Αν οι καλοί είναι τελικά οι κακοί και αντίστροφα; Η εξουσία μπορεί να μετατρέψει τον άνθρωπο σε τέρας;

Θέλω τελειώνοντας να αντιγράψω δύο μικρά αποσπάσματα που θεωρώ ότι είναι γροθιές στο στομάχι και καλό είναι να προβληματίσουν όλους μας.

"Εγώ απλώς αναρωτιόμουν πόσο στενόμυαλοι μπορούν να είναι οι άνθρωποι. Όταν βλέπουν ένα πράγμα από μια συγκεκριμένη οπτική γωνιά, σίγουρα δεν καταφέρνουν να σχηματίσουν ολοκληρωμένη εικόνα κι αυτός είναι ο βασικός λόγος για τις περισσότερες παρεξηγήσεις που καμιά φορά οδηγούν σε αιματηρές συγκρούσεις."

"Η βία είναι φυσικό να προκαλεί βία, το μοναδικό δάνειο που μπορείς να δώσει με εγγυημένη αποπληρωμή, είναι αυτό της βίας. Μπορεί να πάρει λίγο καιρό, αλλά είναι σίγουρο πως το δάνειο θα σου επιστραφεί"

Εύχομαι ολόψυχα να επικρατήσει η αγάπη και η ειρήνη σε όλο τον κόσμο αλλά αυτό πρέπει πρώτα να ξεκινήσει από την ψυχή του καθενός μας.
Profile Image for Ibtesam.
49 reviews1 follower
December 3, 2018
اذا نود إيجاز (هذه المخطوطة) فسأقتبس هنا ماكتبه محمدو ولد صلاحي في مذكراته "الولايات المتحدة بلد (ديمقراطي) بأقسى نظام عقابي،وحشي"

برغم ان المخطوطة تذكر بعض من بشاعة المعاملة النفسية والجسدية، خبث وعشوائية التحقيق معه، الا ان الكاتب انتهج الدبلوماسية في الطرح حيث كُتبت تحت اشراف وموافقة المخابرات الأمريكية

هنا يحكي مظلوميته ببعض من السخرية أحياناً برغم الحزن والصراع الذي كان يعيشه.

يحاول أن يكون عادلاً في طرحه ..حيادياً ربما وهذا الذي استغربته، كما أعجبني ايمانه وحرصه على ممارسة العبادة برغم منعه منها صراحتاً

هذه المخطوطة تجعلك تفكر.. كيف لك أن تتصرف لو كنت مكان صاحب هذه المذكرات؟

عندما تصادر حياتك، وتُختطف قسرياً ليتم ترحيلك من بلدك الي وجهة مجهولة بمؤامرة ثلاثية (بلدك مورتانيا، الاردن بلد التعذيب المشهور وامريكا) بتهمة الارهاب وتورطه في مؤامرة الألفية (بتجنيده المختطفين في هجمات الحادي عشر)، كل ذلك بدون أي دليل يدينه، بل مجرد تكهنات

وبرغم ان المخطوطة لاتشمل ١٤ سنة الكاملة التي قضاها الكاتب في السجن، الا انها كافية لإدراك مدى تشتت امريكا في مواجهة ماتسميه الارهاب والخلل والعنصرية المتفشية في نظامهم الاستخباراتي

ازعجتني النصوص الملغية في المخطوطة، اعتقد بعضها شمل أسماء شخصيات، والبعض الآخر حقائق، وكأننا أمام تحدي لإكمال المخطوطة بصبر مع محاولة ربط الحقائق بحسب المفهوم من السرد
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