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RED: "Well, we ought to file that under Educational too. Oughtn't we?"
April 28, 2013 8:49 AM   Subscribe

Guantánamo prison library for detainees. [tumblr] New York Times reporter Charlie Savage set up a Tumblr dedicated to cataloging some of the books available in the Guantánamo prison library for detainees.
posted by Fizz (37 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not seen and sorely needed: Kafka.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:08 AM on April 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm having difficult finding information on how to donate to the prison? If anyone has a link or an address, kindly share. Thanks.
posted by Fizz at 9:12 AM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


How humane.
posted by dubusadus at 9:18 AM on April 28, 2013


Damn, I saw that a couple of minutes ago and thought "This would make a great FPP".

After reading this, I must conclude that I was right, kudos Fizz.
posted by Canageek at 9:23 AM on April 28, 2013


Is this place still open?
posted by infini at 9:43 AM on April 28, 2013


So these people who are being denied their human rights now have their library books on a tumblir. How very fucking lovely.
Meanwhile 100 out ot 166 prisoners are on a hunger strike and 20 are being force fed which is tantamount to torture.
I am sure this will really help their plight.
posted by adamvasco at 9:48 AM on April 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


In Guantanamo, books lend you out.
posted by anewnadir at 10:05 AM on April 28, 2013


I am sure this will really help their plight.

Charlie Savage wrote an article about it only four days ago - I don't think the target audience for this are unaware of what's going on.
posted by GenericUser at 10:20 AM on April 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can already predict the Fox News reaction to this story. I'm not going to state it, that'd be way too depressing, and anyway you can predict it too. That's my point -- the dancing monkey only knows a couple of moves.
posted by JHarris at 10:54 AM on April 28, 2013


The Chronicles of Narnia

Yuck.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:15 AM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think the target audience for this are unaware of what's going on.
I dont think the target audience gives a flying fuck. I don't think much of America does either - I mean they are all terrorist aren't they otherwise they wouldn't be there?
The absolute disconnect is amazing. However I quite realize there are more important things like Game of Thrones and American Idol.
Once upon a time a large section of the American population seemed to care. Nowdays it seems even more of an'' I've got mine buddy'' sort of culture. People whine on the internet but seldom seem to get up and actually do anything. Of course I could be wrong and there are daily protests on the streets that the mass media has conveniantly omitted to report on. However the conclusion I am led to believe by the evidence presented is that Americans as a whole (not individuals) just don't give a shit. And that saddens me. It also makes me mad though not half as mad as those related to those incarcerated or being ''droned'' into a thousand pieces by near kids pressing buttons on a computer consul half a world away.
The moral backbone of a populace that protested Vietnam, fought for civil rights and so much more seems to have evaporated. And even here on ''leftist'' metafilter there will be a whole bunch of apologists and hand wringing for this. /rant. *Throws up*.
posted by adamvasco at 11:44 AM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rules. We love rules, and we ought to have them. Goddam books. I can't imagine enduring the torment of being held prisoner, even under the most humane conditions.

Prisoners of war are chattel. If I were a prisoner of war I would to take solace in being able to continue to resist the enemy, to look forward to the opportunity of escape, however slim the prospects might be. I would feel some pride in surviving my captivity, some pride in learning the secret rules of POWs, the codes, the minor intrigues. I would cling to hope, either in my eventual release, or--in the hope of proper conduct on my part--my honorable death at the hands of my captors. I would dream of the day I might be traded back to my country for some one or another political reason, and I doubt that I would care about any cynical motives that got me sent home. I would relive my captivity forever. I would mourn those who still lived there, and who died there. I would hate myself for cherishing my freedom while they remained captive. I would never forget them.

That's what I know about this sort of thing. That's because of my own experience as a soldier. I was never a captive, and the thought of being captured was always horrific, terrifying to me. These guys...It seems as though none of our beloved rules have been applied to them. They are just prisoners, without rhyme or reason. They are nothing, and because they are nothing, nothing can be done about them.

This is wrong.

Their library, a portrait in negative imagary, a bleak and bizarre caricature of the American Way, is a travesty of decency.
posted by mule98J at 11:59 AM on April 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


> Of course I could be wrong and there are daily protests on the streets that the mass media has conveniantly omitted to report on.

Well, there are in fact that. Don't forget that we had the largest protests in the history of the planet before the Iraq War - and this barely made the papers.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:05 PM on April 28, 2013


They are just prisoners, without rhyme or reason. They are nothing, and because they are nothing, nothing can be done about them.

This is wrong.

Their library, a portrait in negative imagary, a bleak and bizarre caricature of the American Way, is a travesty of decency.
posted by mule98J An hour ago


Sorry, hwere was I ... just suddenly reminded of my visit to Auschwitz, the same wonder at the cognitive dissonance at man's inhumanity to man.
posted by infini at 1:10 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


So these people who are being denied their human rights now have their library books on a tumblir. How very fucking lovely.

I think these photographs are trying to make a pretty sharp political point. To me, they read as an indictment of the prison, of US foreign policy, and of Western attitudes toward the Arab world. The selection of books seen in these pictures looks like a half-hearted attempt to indoctrinate prisoners into Western ways of thinking. It reveals the ignorance and indifference of the jailers. The shelves are full of bullshit like Star Wars novelizations, Arabic translations of Danielle Steele, and other cultural detritus of modern American society. If I were a prisoner at Gitmo, I'd feel insulted.

(The inclusion of the Nicomachean Ethics is interesting, too, in the context of Islam's relationship with Aristotle over the centuries.)

Protests in the street, angry articles, and incisive investigative reporting are great, and I agree with your basic point that we need more of that stuff in America. But political speech doesn't have to consist exclusively of these things. It can be complemented by more subtle works of protest and commentary, and I think these photos belong to that category.

tl;dr: I don't see how publishing rare images of the interior of an illegal prison can possibly be a bad thing for people trapped in illegal prisons.
posted by my favorite orange at 1:17 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


infini: "just suddenly reminded of my visit to Auschwitz"

Not a fan of what's being done at Guantanamo. But the a genuine attempt to compare GITMO (where 166 prisoners of war are being kept) to Auschwitz (where 1.1 Million people were slaughtered) is not the way to go here.

my favorite orange: "The shelves are full of bullshit like Star Wars novelizations, Arabic translations of Danielle Steele, and other cultural detritus of modern American society. If I were a prisoner at Gitmo, I'd feel insulted."

Except for the books in Arabic and the Pashto dictionary, I don't think there's any difference between the selection of books in this prison and the books one would find in any American prison.

I'd would really love to hear your examples of titles that wouldn't offend you, as a hypothetical prisoner at Guantanamo.
posted by gertzedek at 2:07 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is that a modified Dewey?
posted by graventy at 2:21 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Auschwitz (where 1.1 Million people were slaughtered)

You were thinking of Birkenau. I was recalling this particular room. This was not Godwin.
posted by infini at 2:26 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Auschwitz (where 1.1 Million people were slaughtered)

You were thinking of Birkenau. I was recalling this particular room. This was not Godwin.


Birkenau was actually known as Auschwitz II - Birkenau, so you are both right. More important to this thread, let's keep in mind any reference to Nazis in a discussion of GITMO is going to get a Godwin call, whether or not intended, so why make it and then have to explain yourself?
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 2:38 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


whether or not intended, so why make it and then have to explain yourself?

Its not about how, or where, or when or who, but WHY?
posted by infini at 3:21 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Holocaust survivor, author and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel rejected all Holocaust comparisons in modern politics."
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 4:07 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Guantánamo Stain
posted by homunculus at 4:35 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


JimInLoganSquare: The title of your link seems a bit misleading... He isn't attempting to set the discourse for other people and tell them what is and isn't an acceptable comparison, he is speaking for himself ("I don't compare...").

Also, on GITMO: this (and many other foreign policy and civil rights policies) is why I'm not a fan of Obama and what I'm annoyed at my left-leaning friends (who really disliked Bush for the same policiy's Obama is continuing). Sure, I expected Obama to be moderate, but I didn't expect him to be far-right (by Reagan's standards, not the currently Overton window we currently have).
posted by el io at 4:43 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Quoting Elie Wisel, as quoted in the article I linked:

"Only Auschwitz was Auschwitz."

... The Times of Israel paraphrased Wiesel as saying that “he did not approve of the frequency with which comparisons with the Nazis were made” and noting that not all genocides are like the Holocaust and such comparisons, “aside from being inaccurate, only belittle the Holocaust itself.”


That is one line down from the quote you pulled, el io. And it is not inconsistent with the one you pulled; Wiesel believes no one should make the comparison; he does not make that comparison himself.

Wiesel absolutely was trying to "set the discourse for other people." Whether he was right or wrong is beside the point; Wiesel was earlier quoted as the sole support for a particular position, which he actually does not support.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 4:49 PM on April 28, 2013


By the way and just to be clear, I am opposed to GITMO because I consider it a political prison and therefore morally abhorrent; however, GITMO is not a Nazi concentration camp, and it is wrong to draw the comparison. Evil is being perpetrated at GITMO. The level of evil being perpetrated at GITMO (and I would also argue the kind(s) of evil) are wrong enough to be wrong, but they withstand no comparison to the unprecedented type and scale of evil perpetrated by the Nazis. Also, as a personal and procedural note, please don't make the amateur mistake of assuming that because I criticize someone's argument in favor of a particular conclusion or position that I oppose that conclusion or position (and not just the faulty reasoning of that argument).
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 5:25 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fine. So GITMO isn't anything like a Nazi Concentration Camp.

But I'm not seeing much difference between the American People who permit GITMO to operate, and the German People who permitted the Concentration Camps to operate, and while there's no comparison of the final result, the moral and social damage done to our National psyche caused by that complicity is the same, and we should be asking ourselves:

If we'll do this, why *WOULDN'T* we do THAT?

Once you're strapping people to tables and drowning them outside the Rule of Law, what's stopping anyone from just summarily executing them? Once you're summarily executing them outside the rule of law, does the number you execute really matter? Or how they're executed?
posted by mikelieman at 6:38 PM on April 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, people are already being summarily executed. Not at Gitmo, as far as we know, but summary execution is a fundamental plank of the USA's War on Terror.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:14 PM on April 28, 2013


Once upon a time a large section of the American population seemed to care. Nowdays it seems even more of an'' I've got mine buddy'' sort of culture. People whine on the internet but seldom seem to get up and actually do anything. Of course I could be wrong and there are daily protests on the streets that the mass media has conveniantly omitted to report on. However the conclusion I am led to believe by the evidence presented is that Americans as a whole (not individuals) just don't give a shit. And that saddens me. It also makes me mad though not half as mad as those related to those incarcerated or being ''droned'' into a thousand pieces by near kids pressing buttons on a computer consul half a world away.
The moral backbone of a populace that protested Vietnam, fought for civil rights and so much more seems to have evaporated. And even here on ''leftist'' metafilter there will be a whole bunch of apologists and hand wringing for this. /rant. *Throws up*.


Grandpa, I think you missed your nap today.
posted by liketitanic at 9:02 PM on April 28, 2013


I acknowledge the argument. I probably wouldn't have made the comparison if the memory wasn't fresh in my mind of what I'd seen.
posted by infini at 12:17 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, sure, Guantanamo isn't anything like a Nazi concentration camp.

Unless we keep aware now, in fifty years people, when talking about whatever new human rights atrocity the United States is committing, will be saying that it isn't anything like Guantanamo, in the same tone of voice.
posted by JHarris at 12:55 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


In fifty years time?

U.S. to Retain Role as a Jailer in Afghanistan
posted by de at 6:20 AM on April 29, 2013


Barack Obama says Guantanamo Bay prison must close: President Barack Obama has pledged a new push to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amid a growing prisoner hunger strike there.
posted by homunculus at 9:39 AM on April 30, 2013


Mahatma Gandhi would have been proud of their ahimsa.
posted by infini at 9:56 AM on April 30, 2013


The Guantánamo Memoirs of Mohamedou Ould Slahi: How the United States kept him silent for 12 years.
posted by homunculus at 12:16 PM on April 30, 2013


Here's the full three-part series of excerpts from Slahi’s declassified memoirs.
posted by homunculus at 9:30 PM on April 30, 2013


Rachel Maddow: Supine Congress oddly assertive in defense of Guantanamo prison

Conditions deteriorate in Guantanamo prison

Carol Rosenberg previously.
posted by homunculus at 9:33 PM on April 30, 2013


" Caution: Imminent martyrhood ahead! " ~ pretend its from Illusions by Richard Bach
posted by infini at 12:30 AM on May 1, 2013


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