Join Me on Dec. 9 for an Online Discussion About Guantánamo with Mansoor Adayfi, Author and Former Prisoner

6.12.21

Promotional material for Andy Worthington’s online interview with former Guantánamo prisoner and author Mansoor Adayfi, hosted by the Justice for Muslims Collective on Thursday December 9, 2021.

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I’m honored to be interviewing former Guantánamo prisoner Mansoor Adayfi in an online event this Thursday, Dec. 9, hosted by the Justice for Muslims Collective. This free event is taking place on Zoom, and if you’re interested, please register here. The event is intended primarily as a fundraiser for Mansoor, so if you can help out at all, please visit this page.

Mansoor, a Yemeni, is the talented writer of an extraordinary Guantánamo memoir, Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo, which I reviewed on its release in August, when I described it as “a devastating account of Guantánamo’s cruelty, but one suffused with hope, humor and humanity.”

I’ll be asking Mansoor to talk about his experiences as one of the “red-eyes,” a group of a dozen young Yemenis, who resisted the brutality and injustice of their imprisonment through persistent hunger strikes and non-compliance, for which they were made to suffer through repeated isolation and considerable violence, all of which was fundamentally unrelated to whatever it was that they were — or were not — alleged to have done before they got to Guantánamo.

In Mansoor’s case, the US authorities thought he was some sort of terrorist leader, based partly on false statements extracted under torture when he was first held in Afghanistan, but primarily, it seems, because of his behavior in Guantánamo. Some of his fellow rebels are among the nine men who have died in Guantánamo — their persistent resistance adding weight to long-held suspicions that they did not commit suicide, as alleged.

Mansoor was lucky. He survived his 14-year ordeal, but when it came to negotiations for his release in a third country — with the entire US establishment refusing to repatriate Yemenis from Guantánamo, because of its precarious security situation —  the only country that was prepared to take him in, after reviewing his file — which still contained all the false allegations against him, as well as his considerable disciplinary record — was Serbia, where he was resettled in October 2016, but where freedom remains elusive.

As the Guardian explained in an interview with Mansoor in August, in Serbia “he is still considered a terrorist, and his ambitions have been thwarted. He has found it hard to make friends because people fear associating with him; a tabloid ran a two-page spread calling him a terrorist, and his acquaintances have undergone interrogation just for knowing him. He can’t get a job. He can’t leave the country, or drive. He has no healthcare. His relationship with a woman he loved ended after he was denied a travel document to visit her.”

As the Guardian also added, however, “this is not unusual,” and, “[i]n fact, others have fared worse,” and, as well as discussing Guantánamo past and present, and how and why it must be closed, I’m pretty sure that Mansoor and I will also be discussing the plight of all those released from the prison, who continue to carry the “taint” of Guantánamo as “enemy combatants,” individuals who, although, for the most part, were never charged or tried, remain fundamentally without rights as human beings after their release, just as they were when Guantánamo was first set up nearly 20 long years ago.

There will be much more under discussion in this exciting event, but I don’t want flag up everything in advance, as I hope you’ll be able to join us on Thursday — although, if you can’t, I anticipate that it will be recorded and made available afterwards.

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer (of an ongoing photo-journalism project, ‘The State of London’), film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here, or you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.50).

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of the documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, and the trees were cut down on February 27, 2019, the struggle for housing justice — and against environmental destruction — continues.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    I’m honored to be discussing Guantanamo past, present and future this Thursday, Dec. 9, on Zoom (2pm Eastern time, 7pm GMT), with former prisoner and author Mansoor Adayfi, whose compelling memoir “Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantanamo” was published in August.

    It’s a free event, hosted by the Justice for Muslims Collective, and I’m looking forward to discussing with Mansoor his long years of resistance in Guantanamo, his friends who are still held, including Saifullah Paracha and Khalid Qassim, his life after Guantanamo, his extraordinary book, and how former prisoners, forever regarded as “enemy combatants,” continue to be deprived of fundamental rights even though they were never charged with any crimes or put on trial.

    I hope you can join us! You can register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIudeGrrDwjHtA11mERyTXHlJtghoNDHHZh

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    What a great event! Thanks to Maha Hilal and Alli Jarrar for organising it, and what a pleasure it was to get to talk at length with Mansoor. The event’s intent was to raise money for Mansoor, so if you can help out at all, the fundraiser for him is here: https://bit.ly/Money4Mansoor

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Here’s the recording of the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/justiceformuslimscollective/videos/314673163851459

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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