Human Rights & Public Liberties

Human Rights & Public Liberties

Published on: 13 Jan, 2021

Sami Alhaj Guantánamo Memoir/3/

Published on: 17 January, 2021

In the hospital, in contrast to the deliberate neglect of my days in the block, they began feeding me intravenously. I resisted as much as my body’s energy permitted me, but they held my forearms and stuck me with the needles in the most painful way possible.

That period was filled with pain, deliberate mistakes, mockery, and ridicule. It wasn’t, however, able to reduce my determination and persistence to continue on the hunger strike.

After they failed in poking me with needles they decided to exert psychological pressure by subjecting me to force-feeding through a tube. My health condition was such that it didn’t permit a deliberate delay according to the medical supervisor overseeing my torture.

They would tell me, “Those you hold dear will die, and you will die as a result of your refusal to eat and the intravenous injections.” In this way, they were masters in creating a horrific and terrifying atmosphere, and of course, their conversations with me were annoying and lacking the most basic precepts of manners and decency.

The hunger set in from my flesh to my bones. But I was armed with faith in Allah and for that reason, I wasn’t disturbed when they, in return, were going about their business nervously and with great discomfort.

I was calling on the example of Bilal ibn Rabah and how he was able to endure the boulder in the desert of Makah, among other varieties of torment. The picture was in my mind: him lying down with the rock on his chest, continually repeating: “The One! The One!”  Those words didn’t depart my mind.

I also remembered Mus’ab ibn Umayr, holding the flag in his left hand after they cut off his right hand, and then holding it with his upper arm after they cut off his left hand. I recalled the heroism of Abdullah bin Rawwaha, the bravery of Ja’far ibn Abi Talib and the courage of Khalid ibn al-Walid whose body didn’t even have a single inch that wasn’t covered in sword blows, spear strikes, or arrow piercings.

In the words of Ernest Hemingway: “Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed, but not defeated.”