This moving, eye-opening memoir of an innocent man detained at Guantánamo Bay for fifteen years tells a story of humanity in the unlikeliest of places and an unprecedented look at life at Guantánamo.At the age of 18, Mansoor Adayfi left his home in Yemen for a cultural mission to Afghanistan. He never returned. Kidnapped by warlords and then sold to the US after 9/11, he was disappeared to Guantánamo Bay, where he spent the next 14 years as Detainee #441.
Don't Forget Us Here tells two coming-of-age stories in parallel: a makeshift island outpost becoming the world's most notorious prison and an innocent young man emerging from its darkness. Arriving as a stubborn teenager, Mansoor survived the camp's infamous interrogation program and became a feared and hardened resistance fighter leading prison riots and hunger strikes. With time though, he grew into the man nicknamed "Smiley Troublemaker" a student, writer, advocate, and historian. While at Guantánamo, he wrote a series of manuscripts he sent as letters to his attorneys, which he then transformed into this vital chronicle, in collaboration with award-winning writer Antonio Aiello. With unexpected warmth and empathy, Mansoor unwinds a narrative of fighting for hope and survival in unimaginable circumstances, illuminating the limitlessness of the human spirit. And through his own story, he also tells Guantánamo's story, offering an unprecedented window into one of the most secretive places on earth and the people--detainees and guards alike--who lived there with him. Twenty years after 9/11, Guantánamo remains open, and at a moment of due reckoning, Mansoor Adayfi helps us understand what actually happened there--both the horror and the beauty--a stunning record of an experience we cannot afford to forget.
Author: Mansoor Adayfi
Publisher: Hachette Books
Binding Type: Hardcover
Size: 9.10h x 5.80w x 1.30d
Library Journal Prepub Alert 03/01/2021 pg. 66
Publishers Weekly 05/24/2021
Kirkus Reviews 07/01/2021
Booklist 07/01/2021 pg. 6
Library Journal Prepub Alert 12/01/2021 pg. 84
About the Author
Mansoor Adayfi is a writer and former Guantánamo Bay Prison Camp detainee, held for over 14 years without charges as an enemy combatant. Adayfi was released to Serbia in 2016, where he struggles to make a new life for himself and to shed the designation of a suspected terrorist. Today, Mansoor Adayfi is a writer and advocate with work published in the New York Times, including a column the Modern Love column "Taking Marriage Class at Guantánamo" and the op-ed "In Our Prison by the Sea." He wrote the introduction, "Ode to the Sea: Art from Guantánamo Bay," for the 2017-2018 exhibition of prisoners' artwork at the John Jay College of Justice in New York City, and contributed to the scholarly volume, Witnessing Torture, published by Palgrave. In 2018, Adayfi participated in the creation of the award-winning radio documentary The Art of Now for BBC radio about art from Guantánamo and the CBC podcast Love Me, which aired on NPR's Snap Judgment. Regularly interviewed by international news media about his experiences at Guantánamo and life after, he was also featured in Out of Gitmo, a mini-documentary and part of PBS's Frontline series. Work from his memoir was recently featured at a public reading at the Edinburgh Book Festival along with work by Guantánamo Diary author Mohamedou Ould Slahi. His graphic narrative, Caged Lives, was by The Nib and will be included in the anthology Guantanamo Voices. In 2019, he won the Richard J. Margolis Award for nonfiction writers of social justice journalism.
Antonio Aiello is a writer, editor, and storyteller working in print, digital, and broadcast formats. He worked closely with Mansoor to help develop the manuscripts written at Guantánamo into Don't Forget Us Here. Together, they are working to develop a TV show inspired by the book as Fellows in the Sundance Institute's prestigious Episodic Lab.