Don’t Forget Us Here

Hachette. Jul. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780306923869. $29. POL SCI/MEMOIR
After being kidnapped by Afghan warlords, Yemeni 18-year-old Mansoor Adayfi was sold to the United States in the aftermath of 9/11. He was imprisoned, without being charged, at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, where he was stripped of his name and known as Prisoner 441. In this memoir, Adayfi describes the incarceration that he remarkably survived for 14 years, until his 2016 release. He offers detailed descriptions of torture (beatings, starvation, humiliation, sleep deprivation) that brought him close to death more than once. (Three of Adayfi’s fellow inmates were beaten to death during these years.) He and other detainees used hunger strikes to demand religious freedom, decent food, clean water, and medical treatment, none of which was available for long; guards often ended the strikes with forced feeding. Adayfi writes about the small kindnesses he did receive from a few guards and one base commander, plus his two attorneys and the cats and iguanas that inhabited the grounds at Guantánamo Bay. He attributes his survival to Allah’s mercy and concludes, “The guards’ job was to kick our asses, and [our] job was to fight back.”
VERDICT This unvarnished memoir will grip readers and anger them; a decisive contribution to the continuing reappraisal of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing