Three most popular books at Guantanamo

I have to say, I was pretty surprised when I read this article listing the three most popular book titles in the library at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

Out of the 13,500 books available to the 229 prisoners, these 3 were most popular:

1. Harry Potter (series)

2.  Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

3.  Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama

First, I thought this was kind of cool because I’ve read all 3 books. (Okay, I attempted Don Quixote and didn’t quite finish it) … The article goes on to quote a lawyer who spoke with one of the prisoners as a potential client. The prisoner was a 36 year old Algerian man named Ali.

From the article:

I kept our conversation light. We spent a long time discussing the Harry Potter books, his favorite books at the Guantánamo library.

Ali sees parallels between George W. Bush and J.K. Rowling’s arch-villain, Voldemort. Guantánamo is the real-world equivalent of Azkaban, the cheerless prison guarded by the soulless “tormentors.”

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4 Comments

Filed under books, politics

4 responses to “Three most popular books at Guantanamo

  1. Katie

    I read this story a few years ago. I met a lawyer representing prisoners in Gitmo. He laughed when I told him this story. He said there are no books. Guarunteed. This is a spin story to make it sound like they’re cared for. At least that’s what this lawyer told me.

    • Tee

      @ Katie – Wow. I can’t even put into words how stunned and sad that makes me feel. I will at least hope that things have improved for the prisoners since Barack Obama was elected President.

      • I’m not sure – the original source was the Pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat who sent a reporter there, apparently.

      • Tee

        As I E-mailed privately with Katie, and after researching for myself – I don’t doubt the lawyer who told her this, and perhaps at the time it was true — but I think they really do have a library at this point and have for a long time. When Gitmo was just “Camp X-Ray” in those early years, the conditions were horrid – worse than the way dogs are treated at an animal shelter — but things have changed so much since then. I’m not saying I support the existence of Gitmo or that I think torture didn’t go on – I know it did and I believe they are being illegally detained there — but I do believe their treatment has been much improved due to public outcry/scrutiny.

        Here are some links to check out:
        http://www.miaminewtimes.com/slideshow/view/247722/14

        http://www.pri.org/theworld/?q=node/4260

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