The Odd Collection of Books in the Guantanamo Prison Library

gitmo booksYou don’t hear much about Guan­tanamo these days, unless you keep an eye on the writ­ings of Pulitzer Prize-win­ning jour­nal­ist Char­lie Sav­age. Last week, Sav­age report­ed on a hunger strike involv­ing 93 pris­on­ers that’s now in its third month. Osten­si­bly the protest is in response to prison guards han­dling the Koran in dis­re­spect­ful ways. But the real cause comes down to this: “a grow­ing sense among many pris­on­ers, some of whom have been held with­out tri­al for more than 11 years, that they will nev­er go home.”

As part of Sav­age’s report­ing on Git­mo, he has also cre­at­ed a pho­to blog that gives us insight into the prison library and its odd col­lec­tion of books. The library offers pris­on­ers access to Cap­tain Amer­i­ca comics (that must go over well with ene­my com­bat­ants); pulp romance books by Danielle Steele (anoth­er choice pick for Islamists); the com­plete Har­ry Pot­ter series (I imag­ine the Pris­on­er of Azk­a­ban vol­ume hits home); some more seri­ous works by Gabriel Gar­cia Mar­quez, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien and Charles Dick­ens; an assort­ment of reli­gious books; and the occa­sion­al self help book like The Anx­i­ety & Pho­bia Work­book.

Accord­ing to news reports, the library cur­rent­ly has 3,500 vol­umes on pre-approved top­ics. Pris­on­ers have to order books in advance. (They can’t just won­der through the stacks.) And the most pop­u­lar books include Agatha Christie mys­ter­ies, the self-help man­u­al Don’t Be Sad; the The Lord of the Rings; and, of course, Har­ry Pot­ter. 

We know that oth­er pris­ons have giv­en their res­i­dents access to our col­lec­tions of Free Audio Books and Free eBooks. But I doubt that will be hap­pen­ing at Git­mo any time soon.

You can fol­low Sav­age’s pho­to­blog here.

via @themillions

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Comments (4)
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  • bob says:

    I have the “Anx­i­ety and Pho­bia Work book” It’s pret­ty good.

  • Evelyn Hiller says:

    That these peo­ple have been impris­oned with­out tri­al for ELEVEN YEARS is a shame­ful and shock­ing vio­la­tion of the Fifth Amend­ment which states in part that ‘No per­son shall be …deprived of life, lib­er­ty, or prop­er­ty, with­out due process of law.’

  • Hanoch says:

    Is there real­ly any won­der why we don’t hear much about Guan­tanamo since our cur­rent Pres­i­dent took office (espe­cial­ly after he cam­paigned to close it)? I hope nobody is that naive.

  • Kegan Mahon says:

    Wan­der through the stacks*n

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