Magazine article New Internationalist

The General

Magazine article New Internationalist

The General

Article excerpt

BOOKS The General by Ahmed Errachidi with Gillian Slovo (Chatto & Windus, ISBN 9780701187224)

The continuing existence of Guantánamo Bay prison camp is an enduring stain on the Presidency of Barack Obama. While most people are generally aware of what goes on there, it takes an eyewitness account such as Ahmed Errachidi's story of his incarceration to bring home the true obscenity of the place.

Errachidi is a Moroccan, a jobbing chef who travelled widely and had the terrible misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time - Afghanistan at the time of the US-led invasion. Arrested at random, as so many foreign nationals were, Errachidi was shuttled between prisons in Lahore, Kandahar and the notorious Bagram Air Base before finally ending up in Guantánamo. He describes the barbarous conditions with stark clarity; the routine humiliations, the guards' casual contempt for the culture and religion of the prisoners and, most of all, the utter futility and inhumanity of the entire process. …

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