Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Guantanamo Detainees Wax Poetic, Get Published

Poems From Guantanamo - the Detainees Speak. You can buy this little volume of sob stories told in doggerel from (at $11.16), or wait a month and look for it on the deep discount rack at Borders. The editor, Marc Falkoff, happens to also be the lawyer for all 17 of the sensitive souls who contributed their poetry.

Robery Pinsky, the ex-Poet Laureate of the U.S., wrote a blurb for the book jacket and praised the project on NPR. He hedged as to its literary merit, nevertheless, he thinks it's terribly important for all of us to pay attention to these weepy jihadis since "these voices in confinement implicitly call us to our principles and to our humanity. They deserve, above all, not admiration or belief or sympathy—but attention. Attention to them is urgent for us." I don't know about you, but these voices call me to pay attention mainly to the problem of how to keep them in Gitmo for the rest of their natural lives.

One of the voices belongs to Moazzam Begg, who was released from Gitmo in time to join the book tour. [Released? Some prison camp that is!] Here's one of his poetic efforts:

Freedom is spent, time is up -
Tears have rent my sorrow's cup;
Home is cage, and cage is steel,
Thus manifest reality's unreal.

Judge its literary merit for yourself. Does it call you to anything, urgently or otherwise? Here's my reply to Mr. Begg:

You were caught, your game was up -
Now you cry in your tin cup
You were caged for a few years,
Good! - now let me dry my tears.

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