Here's yesterday's Washington Post article, "Number of prisoners on hunger strike in Guantanamo rises to 97:"
The number of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay who are on a hunger strike has risen again.
Lt. Col. Samuel House said Friday that 97 men are now on strike, up three from the day before. He says 19 of them are receiving liquid nutrients through a nasal tube to prevent dangerous weight loss. Another five are under observation at the hospital on the U.S. base in Cuba. He says none have life-threatening conditions.
The hunger strike began in February, with prisoners protesting conditions and their indefinite confinement. Lawyers for the prisoners say the military is undercounting the number of hunger strikers. The U.S. holds 166 prisoners at Guantanamo, most without charges.I have several recommendations for novels about Guantanamo.
For a satirical novel, try From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant by Alex Gilvarry:
Boyet Hernandez is a small man with a big American dream when he arrives in New York in 2002, fresh out of fashion school in the Philippines. But on the brink of fame and fortune, there comes instead a knock on the door in the middle of the night: the flamboyant ex-Catholic is swept to America’s most notorious prison, administered a Qur’an and locked away indefinitely to discover his link to a terrorist plot.
Now, in his six-by-eight-foot cell, Boy prepares for the tribunal of his life with this intimate confession. From borrowed mattress to converted toothpick factory loft, from custom suit commissions to high-end retail, we are immersed in a wonderland of soirees, runways, and hipster romance in twenty-first-century Gotham... But behind the scrim of his wit and chutzpah is his present nightmare of detainment in the sun-baked place he calls No Man’s Land. The more Boy’s faith in American justice is usurped by the Kafkaesque demands of his interrogator, the more ardently he clings to the chimerical hope and humanity of his adoptive country.
For a novel about what what it's like to be an interrogator at Guantanamo, try The Prisoner of Guantanamo by Dan Fesperman:
When the body of an American soldier is discovered in Cuban waters near the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo, Revere Falk, a former FBI agent, is reassigned from his job interrogating an accused al-Qaeda operative to investigate the soldier’s mysterious death.
Falk soon finds himself in a deadly game of intrigue that stretches from the charged waters of Guantánamo Bay to the polished halls of Washington. Every move Falk makes could be costly, and to make matters worse, a dark figure from his past reappears, brandishing a secret he thought he had safely buried.
For a young adult novel about what it's like to be a prisoner at Guantanamo, try Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera:
Khalid, a fifteen-year-old Muslim boy from Rochdale, is abducted from Pakistan while on holiday with his family. He is taken to Guantanamo Bay and held without charge, where his hopes and dreams are crushed under the cruellest of circumstances. An innocent denied his freedom at a time when Western boys are finding theirs, Khalid tries and fails to understand what's happening to him and cannot fail to be a changed young man.
Finally, I also recommend M. Salahuddin Khan's Sikander, a book I previously recommended as a pairing to the debate over arming Syrian rebels:
It's 1986. Seventeen-year-old Sikander dreams of studying and living in America, but in a blind rage after a family quarrel, he leaves his Peshawar, Pakistan home.
Encountering mujahideen warriors, he joins them in their fight against the occupying Soviets in neighboring Afghanistan. American assistance is stepped up with advanced weapons, like the Stinger missile, and the mujahideen begin prevailing against the Soviets.
After just two years following Sikander s arrival, a Soviet withdrawal begins and Sikander returns as a war-wise hero, settling down to build a normal life in Pakistan.
Discovering romance, Sikander, becomes a happily married successful entrepreneur in Pakistan, when he finds his life abruptly thrown into turmoil as he s caught up in aftermath of 9/11.
He must draw on the lessons from his mujahideen past as he takes on a perilous journey reaching as far as America, changing his life forever. SIKANDER takes us from the pricey suburbs of Peshawar to the primitive war-torn landscape of Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, to the placid serenity of Scotland, through the camps of Guantanamo...