In 2009, I traveled around England writing a blog called Guantanamo Voices. The project tracked former Guantanamo Bay guard Chris Arendt and two former Guantanamo detainees, Moazzam Begg and Jarallah Al-Marri as they traveled around the UK together on a speaking tour.
January 2009 was a brief, crucial time for Guantanamo Bay. Barack Obama had promised to close the prison, but it was not known what will happen to the 270 men who still detained there. Also unknown was how the Obama administration and the new Congress and Senate will approach the complicated legal issues that created and sustained Guantanamo. Little did we know that the men in Guantanamo would still remain in legal limbo five years later. What’s missing from the national discussion about Guantanamo are the perspectives of veterans and detainees themselves. This blog is focused on getting those voices to be part of the mainstream conversation about the future of the prison.
Begg and A-Marri work with the UK-based prisoner nonprofit Cageprisoners in the UK and invited Arendt to join them on tour after seeing him speak at an Iraq Veterans Against War event. They first time the three men shook hands was at the beginning of the tour, on January 10th, 2009. The prisoners and guard may have met in Guantanamo, but they were not allowed to speak to one another. Follow Guantanamo Voices here.