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Don't Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantanamo

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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 w 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.


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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 w 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.

30 review for Don't Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantanamo

  1. 5 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    Don't Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantanamo by Mansoor Adayfi This is a book that should be read by ever American so maybe we will not allow our government to go against the Geneva Convention again. This is one man's nightmare of being sold to the CIA for $1,500 dollars even though he was innocent. The majority of those locked up were innocent. Mansoor was only 19 years old and was locked up for 14 years. Monsoor describes the whole tragic ordeal of the capture, the torture, transfer to a b Don't Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantanamo by Mansoor Adayfi This is a book that should be read by ever American so maybe we will not allow our government to go against the Geneva Convention again. This is one man's nightmare of being sold to the CIA for $1,500 dollars even though he was innocent. The majority of those locked up were innocent. Mansoor was only 19 years old and was locked up for 14 years. Monsoor describes the whole tragic ordeal of the capture, the torture, transfer to a black site, and then to Guantanamo. He also what happens with others around him. What they endured, how they tried to fight back in subtle ways, and the fact they never expected the Americans would do this to them. There was daily beating, and other tortures such as rectal probes, holding their eyes open and pepper spray applied, keeping them naked, freezing them, little to no sunshine, loud noises to make them not sleep, constantly grabbing them for interrogation claiming they were guilty, having dogs attack them, and so much more. None of these people were charged with anything. Some were teachers, journalists, doctors, farmers, and kids! When one of Monsoor's friends got a broken tooth from fist or boot, he was in so much pain. No one would help him. The cell mates made a big stink so after a couple of weeks, they took the kid away. When he came back they had pulled eight teeth! One of the nice guards wrote up a report and was relocated off base. No one was allowed to complain. Another had frost bite to the tips of a couple of fingers. He came back with no fingers. Although this upset me greatly to read, I think it is important to know what our government did in our names! It was an illegal war in my opinion and to drop our humanity on top of that and be okay with it is beyond words! When Monsoor was finally released after 14 years of hell, he didn't even have a choice as to where to live. Others that left before him didn't do well. Some were killed because they were feared because America called them terrorists. I hope the Bush Administration and everyone of them that played a part in lying to get us into that war reads this and sees what they have done. There is so much in here! What I touched on is just the tip of the iceberg. Knowledge is power, read this! I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this book. Monsoor, I will think of you daily!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Murtaza

    Guantanamo Bay prison camp is still open today, a fact that is shocking after reading this account of the unfathomable cruelty and torture that has taken place since it opened at the start of the War on Terror. Mansoor Adayfi was taken to Guantanamo as a young man and spent all his twenties and much of his thirties there. This book is his memoir of that period, and is one of the most haunting I have ever read. The cruelties that Adayfi suffered daily for years were barely fathomable. The only th Guantanamo Bay prison camp is still open today, a fact that is shocking after reading this account of the unfathomable cruelty and torture that has taken place since it opened at the start of the War on Terror. Mansoor Adayfi was taken to Guantanamo as a young man and spent all his twenties and much of his thirties there. This book is his memoir of that period, and is one of the most haunting I have ever read. The cruelties that Adayfi suffered daily for years were barely fathomable. The only thing that pulled him through it, by his own account, was the incredible brotherhood that developed between himself and other inmates of the camp, as well as his indefatigable faith in God and his will. This is not intended to be a religious book by any means, let alone a book of proselytizing. Yet for me the most powerful lesson that I took from it was about the power of faith. This is a much darker book than Guantanamo Diary, in part because Adayfi was listed as a "non-compliant" prisoner and subjected to the absolute worst that Guantanamo had to offer. In between the endless accounts of torture and brutality, there periodically exist kind guards, lawyers who develop genuine friendships with their clients, and periods of beautiful friendship between the prisoners themselves. But the fear of being treated as less than a human never truly goes away when you are in the custody of those who have been instructed to hate and fear you. Adayfi is free today but what happened to him in Guantanamo Bay is in many ways a life sentence, both physically and psychologically. Reading his account of his time there, it is not hard to see why. Any full account of this period in U.S. history would be incomplete without grappling with what is retold in this painful memoir.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Hupe

    Thank you, Mansoor Adayfi and Hachette Books for the opportunity to read this book. It releases August 18th, 2021. “Imagine if American boys, eighteen years old or even younger, had spent five, ten, twenty years in a foreign prison without being charged with a crime, where they are tortured, punished for practicing their religion, experimented on, and forced to live in solitary confinement. This is Guantanamo.” DON’T FORGET US HERE Don’t Forget Us Here by Mansoor Adayfi is a memoir like no other. I Thank you, Mansoor Adayfi and Hachette Books for the opportunity to read this book. It releases August 18th, 2021. “Imagine if American boys, eighteen years old or even younger, had spent five, ten, twenty years in a foreign prison without being charged with a crime, where they are tortured, punished for practicing their religion, experimented on, and forced to live in solitary confinement. This is Guantanamo.” DON’T FORGET US HERE Don’t Forget Us Here by Mansoor Adayfi is a memoir like no other. I will never forget September 11th, 2001 even though I was only 13 at the time. It wasn’t only the Americans who think back on that day in horror. Mansoor Adayfi was only eighteen when he was traveling to Afganistan from Yemen when he was kidnapped and sold to the United States. He was sent to Guantanamo Prison and became detainee #441. There he experienced torture and injustice at the hands of the United States government and military, even though he was innocent. “Obama made life better at Guantanamo instead of closing it. We all knew this, but we didn’t know what this meant for our freedom.” DON’T FORGET US HERE It is true, our government wanted justice. They were consumed with finding the man behind the attacks and all those who helped him. But it came at a cost, the freedom and lives of those who were innocent. Because they technically weren’t Americans, they never received lawyers or a trial–which is a huge part of America. We claim liberty and justice for all. But it has never been for all, only for some. Mansoor was never a fighter or associated with Osama Bin Laden. But he went from a young farm boy to an assumed criminal in an instant because he was Muslim. He lays out the torture he endured and also the hunger strikes for better conditions. There is so much emotion as he discusses how much he misses his family and the grief he feels for the loss of his future. It is also inspiring how he and other detainees bonded together. Memoirs like this are important because this way we don’t forget and we can learn not to repeat our mistakes. There is no such thing as a perfect justice system but we must do better. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    An absolutely striking and unforgettable account of years spent imprisoned for no reason. What shines through is Mansoor’s attempt to find beauty, humor, and shared humanity in a place that was built to strip away all sense of self. I felt both his anger and his joy on the page and was brought to tears by his stories of reaching out to fellow humans whenever possible.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    When Mansoor Adayfi was eighteen, he went to Afghanistan, believing he would return to his home country of Yemen in due time. That never happened. He was, instead, kidnapped by warlords and sold to the US - the lead up to a drawn out case of mistaken identity. He spent the next 14 years as a detainee at Guantanamo Bay. Mansoor was an innocent man, but he was not given a chance to defend his innocence properly until the very end of his time at Guantanamo. Even then, his story did not unfold into When Mansoor Adayfi was eighteen, he went to Afghanistan, believing he would return to his home country of Yemen in due time. That never happened. He was, instead, kidnapped by warlords and sold to the US - the lead up to a drawn out case of mistaken identity. He spent the next 14 years as a detainee at Guantanamo Bay. Mansoor was an innocent man, but he was not given a chance to defend his innocence properly until the very end of his time at Guantanamo. Even then, his story did not unfold into something happier but, as he states in this, that’s another tale to tell. I hope he will give readers a second book. Mansoor Adayfi endured a number of physical and emotional traumas, which he details in his story, yet he somehow managed to communicate it all in a way that helps readers understand without completely overwhelming them. It’s the tone of the book that makes a world of difference. It is dark, yet full of hope. The things that really stood out in this memoir were Mansoor’s sense-of-humor, strength in advocating for better treatment, insight, maintained faith and clear attempts (especially as he matured) to not let this experience lead to bitterness. Few people could have come out of this with such a gracious attitude. He’s honest, but he never comes across as hateful. He acknowledges the bad, but also makes note of those who were good to him. Unsurprisingly, he did not walk away unscathed, as PTSD resulted from the trauma, and his ability to tell his story with such tact was impressive. Don’t Forget Us Here is a powerful true story that highlights the horrors of mistreatment and injustice. It offers a critical perspective from a wrongfully detained man. I’m thankful Mansoor Adayfi was finally able to tell his story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Danielle M

    Mansoor was 18 yo when he left Yemen to go on a short investigative expedition to Afghanistan on behalf of a writer who held the reference he needed to attend college in UAE. It was 2001. Mansoor was kidnapped by warlords and sold to the US as a high up leader and recruiter of Al Qaeda. A 40 yo Egyptian general, who looks nothing like 18 yo Mansoor. And how can you convince agents that are looking to extract info from you when they believe you are lying as a trained agent? You can't. Because when Mansoor was 18 yo when he left Yemen to go on a short investigative expedition to Afghanistan on behalf of a writer who held the reference he needed to attend college in UAE. It was 2001. Mansoor was kidnapped by warlords and sold to the US as a high up leader and recruiter of Al Qaeda. A 40 yo Egyptian general, who looks nothing like 18 yo Mansoor. And how can you convince agents that are looking to extract info from you when they believe you are lying as a trained agent? You can't. Because when you still don't confess after months and years of torture, they "reason" that it must be because of superior training in counter interrogation which makes them ramp up their counter-counter interrogation. Mansoor spends over 14 years in Guantanamo in the most degrading, dehumanizing unending cycles of pain, torture, and abuse. It's not really living. It's forced slow death at the hands of sadists. Having recently read My Time Will Come, I knew how hard of a read this would be. But there were new depths of despair I didn't think possible. Mansoor is known throughout Guantanamo as Smiley Troublemaker. And he fights back with the only thing prisoners can, by protesting with their body. This book is very rough to read, but it is extremely worth it. What do we give up when we refuse to see the humanity in others? What do we give up when we insist that the only way to freedom or justice is by any means necessary?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Umar Lee

    A powerful and infuriating book told from the vantage point of Mansoor Adayfi who is a Yemeni national imprisoned by the US for years at Guantanamo Bay. While there are some holes in this story, and it drifts at times, the final half of the book is extremely powerful. Every American should be ashamed GITMO was opened by the George W. Bush administration, pathetically kept open with half-assed measures from the Barack Obama Administration, and then served to Donald Trump as a coronation gift. The A powerful and infuriating book told from the vantage point of Mansoor Adayfi who is a Yemeni national imprisoned by the US for years at Guantanamo Bay. While there are some holes in this story, and it drifts at times, the final half of the book is extremely powerful. Every American should be ashamed GITMO was opened by the George W. Bush administration, pathetically kept open with half-assed measures from the Barack Obama Administration, and then served to Donald Trump as a coronation gift. The fact that there haven't been widespread prosecutions of GITMO staff, and some have even used their time there as a major CV booster, illustrates just how far America fell into a moral abyss after 9-11. The sheer stupidity and immorality of the military and DOJ personnel described in this book is an indictment on the American family, educational system, and religious institutions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Justin Young

    I am at a loss for words to begin to describe what Mansoor Adayfi has recorded and detailed what humans are capable of. I will have to return to this at a later date. Thank you Mansoor for your courage.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lani

    This was a powerful, difficult, heartbreaking book. While I thought I was familiar with the situation at Guantanamo, I clearly had no idea what really was going on and I'm sure I'm not alone in that statement. This is such an important read for everyone. At age 19, Mansoor Adayfi was sold to the CIA by warlords after 9/11 and taken to Guantanamo Bay where he became known as Detainee 441. Suspected of being an Egyptian general named "Adel," Adayfi was interrogated and tortured and though there wa This was a powerful, difficult, heartbreaking book. While I thought I was familiar with the situation at Guantanamo, I clearly had no idea what really was going on and I'm sure I'm not alone in that statement. This is such an important read for everyone. At age 19, Mansoor Adayfi was sold to the CIA by warlords after 9/11 and taken to Guantanamo Bay where he became known as Detainee 441. Suspected of being an Egyptian general named "Adel," Adayfi was interrogated and tortured and though there was never official evidence of any wrongdoing, he was kept at Guantanamo Bay for nearly 15 years, much of which was spent in solitary confinement. This is his story of Guantanamo. Adayfi takes the reader through all of his emotions during this time: his resistance, his confusion, his fear, and his relationships with the other detainees and guards. I had to take frequent breaks from this book as it weighed so heavily on my heart. But ultimately, I'm so glad I was able to read Adayfi's story. Thank you to Netgalley and Hatchette Books for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura Snell

    Mansoor, unlawfully detained at Guantanamo Bay for 15 years tells about his experience and the experiences of his brothers who suffered along side him This book was hard to digest and process. Often leaving me gutted at what humans are capable of. Leaving me wondering how people could possibly be conditioned to be so cold and callous to other humans I frequently had to put this book down because of how horrific things were This isn’t fiction. This is reality. And everyone should read it because Mansoor, unlawfully detained at Guantanamo Bay for 15 years tells about his experience and the experiences of his brothers who suffered along side him This book was hard to digest and process. Often leaving me gutted at what humans are capable of. Leaving me wondering how people could possibly be conditioned to be so cold and callous to other humans I frequently had to put this book down because of how horrific things were This isn’t fiction. This is reality. And everyone should read it because being ignorant about what has and continues to happen just makes you part of the problem Mansoor, the US took 15 years from you. Not only that it gave you only one option upon release, to go to Serbia, further imprisoning you. The world owes you more, you deserve better Please don’t stop writing Your life is valuable and your story should be heard This is one of those things that will sit with me for years

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dipika

    Imagine a world where you eat, sleep, pee and even shit on command. Imagine the punishment to not obeying this, is solitary confinement, forced feeding, electric shocks, sleep deprivation and irreversible mental and physical damage. Now multiply this with 14 long years, every waking second of your life. There are some truths that need to be told. Books that must be read, aloud, repeatedly, for the world to hear. ‘Don’t Forget Us Here’ by @mansoor441_adayfi is that definitive book. The book relea Imagine a world where you eat, sleep, pee and even shit on command. Imagine the punishment to not obeying this, is solitary confinement, forced feeding, electric shocks, sleep deprivation and irreversible mental and physical damage. Now multiply this with 14 long years, every waking second of your life. There are some truths that need to be told. Books that must be read, aloud, repeatedly, for the world to hear. ‘Don’t Forget Us Here’ by @mansoor441_adayfi is that definitive book. The book releases today. In the wake of the chaos in Afghanistan, the big question being asked, is who is the real villain? Is the United States the conflicted military prosecutor with a heart of gold? Or does the truth lie in its direct confrontation with the ideology that underpinned it all? Either way, war and conflict, have causalities and consequences.   And worse, collateral damage.    Don’t Forget Us Here, is a story set in a burning living hell on earth built largely, to cover, just that. 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 woke at Guantánamo Bay, where he spent the next 14 years as Detainee #441.   The book, painful, graphic and brutal is the testimony of an ordinary man, trapped in an extraordinary situation. And despite the pain, trauma, torture and sleep deprivation, Mansoor Adayfi, not so fondly called, "Smiley Troublemaker" by the regime, proves that the triumph of the human spirit outlasts all evil.  Thank you @mansoor441_adayfi , @netgalley & @hachettebooks for the Digital ARC.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lance Hillsinger

    Don’t Forget Us Here is a book that should be required reading at West Point. Just as future commanders need to learn from battlefield mistakes in past wars, future commanders need to know how to avoid the inept interrogations, the abuse of power, and general ineptitude that regularly occurred at Guantanamo. It was painful to read how American soldiers (but generally not naval personnel) let their ugly side out. Because the reader sees the shameful way some American soldiers acted, Don’t Forge Don’t Forget Us Here is a book that should be required reading at West Point. Just as future commanders need to learn from battlefield mistakes in past wars, future commanders need to know how to avoid the inept interrogations, the abuse of power, and general ineptitude that regularly occurred at Guantanamo. It was painful to read how American soldiers (but generally not naval personnel) let their ugly side out. Because the reader sees the shameful way some American soldiers acted, Don’t Forget Us Here is not a book to read before bedtime to lull oneself asleep. Don’t Forget Us Here would be a five-star book if it were not for the author’s repeated assertions that all his fellow detainees were his “brothers.” When allowed to, detainees prayed together, reaffirming their faith, so naturally, they bonded together as they suffered together. While some detainees were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time or turned over to American forces by opportunists, some detainees were indeed terrorists or “gophers” for terrorists. However, suppose the author’s fellow detainees were not terrorists (or alleged terrorists) but were simply common murderers (or rapists, or drug dealers), and like the author, Muslim, would he still call them his brothers? One would hope not. So, calling terrorists “brothers” because of a common religion and common detention is a double-standard. Because of the double-standard, Don’t Forget Us Here loses one star.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Russell Roth

    Disclaimer: I listened to this as an audiobook on Libro.fm. Maybe thats the cause of the 3 star rating. I tend to enjoy audiobooks less than reading, something about my own voice vs that of the narrator. I don't know. Don't Forget Us Here is a harrowing story of what happens inside a place I hope to never go. At times it seems unbelievable, but I don't doubt any of what was written. It's hard to imagine a place like this exists. The book itself was well written, entertaining, gut-wrenching, emoti Disclaimer: I listened to this as an audiobook on Libro.fm. Maybe thats the cause of the 3 star rating. I tend to enjoy audiobooks less than reading, something about my own voice vs that of the narrator. I don't know. Don't Forget Us Here is a harrowing story of what happens inside a place I hope to never go. At times it seems unbelievable, but I don't doubt any of what was written. It's hard to imagine a place like this exists. The book itself was well written, entertaining, gut-wrenching, emotional, and, at times, hopeful. I would recommend it as a print book, however, as some of the narration in the audiobook took away from the reading experience. At least for me personally.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Mansoor Adayfi tells his goals for writing this book: to present the story from the inside, from those who experienced it; to convey moments of bonding among detainees; to tell of resistance; to tell of surprising moments of beauty and joy among the horrors. And he accomplishes his goal. Every American should read this book and then demand the closure of Guantanamo and legislation to prevent such an atrocity from ever happening again.

  15. 4 out of 5

    George Nap

    Read it, because only by looking at our flaws as a nation can we reach our potential.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Noor Bint Firoz

    What can I say. This book blew me away. It left me sleepless at night. It left my mind numb during the day. This is a book every person should read. It describes in vivid detail the horrors that occurred at Guantanamo Bay. And the sad reality that over 80% of gitmo's inmates were innocent people "sold" to the US for bounty money. It shows the sad reality of a prison who's inmates were not protected by any law. It shows the years of these men that were wasted away behind those walls. It also show What can I say. This book blew me away. It left me sleepless at night. It left my mind numb during the day. This is a book every person should read. It describes in vivid detail the horrors that occurred at Guantanamo Bay. And the sad reality that over 80% of gitmo's inmates were innocent people "sold" to the US for bounty money. It shows the sad reality of a prison who's inmates were not protected by any law. It shows the years of these men that were wasted away behind those walls. It also shows the resilience of the human mind and heart. And most of all, it shows that utmost belief in Almighty God (Allah) is the best (and often only) power that saved these men from going insane. This books shows the reality behind nations who call themselves "democratic". It is a stain on democratic society and a shame on America for what it did to these men. Keep the remaining 39 inmates in your duas (prayers). Book is also available in an audiobook!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ruby

    "The soldiers had so much hate and fear. I knew by now that they thought I was al Qaeda and that I had something to do with the attacks on September 11. I had heard about the attacks on the radio in a restaurant in Afghanistan, and I didn't think anything of it. There were no TVs, no photographs of the event, and I couldn't imagine airplanes flying into buildings or why someone would want to kill so many innocent people. What I knew about America I had learned from TV shows and movies and I didn "The soldiers had so much hate and fear. I knew by now that they thought I was al Qaeda and that I had something to do with the attacks on September 11. I had heard about the attacks on the radio in a restaurant in Afghanistan, and I didn't think anything of it. There were no TVs, no photographs of the event, and I couldn't imagine airplanes flying into buildings or why someone would want to kill so many innocent people. What I knew about America I had learned from TV shows and movies and I didn't hate it. I didn't love it either. I didn't know enough about it to even care. I was sorry to hear that inncocent people had died, but I didn't understand what that had to do with me." "I didn't know much about America, but I knew it was the most powerful country in the world. I wanted to believe that they would treat us better than our own countries treated prisoners, that they would see their mistakes." "I would learn later that she was a protected animal and that soldiers could get fined $10,000 for touching or harming iguanas. She had more rights and freedom than we did." "The Americans didn't understand our values and how important things like respect and integrity were to us. In Raymah, even enemies were treated with respect. My father had told me about battles where he shared a meal with his enemies and let them rest from their long journey before the fight. I understand that there was a right way and a wrong way to treat human beings, even those you thought of as your enemies. My American captors held no such values." "Fear of the unknown is what I think drove our captors to such dark places, to imagine the worst in us. The soldiers didn't know who we were, and that made them afraid and angry. I was a living example of their fear: my face and eyes were swollen and bruised from beatings. I knew that if you didn't face that fear and own it, you would lose touch with who you are." "There comes a point when it doesn't matter how afraid you are, you must act." "The interrogators thought the isolation of strangers speaking Pashto and Urdu would break us. The Afghans were a tough bunch, but the interrogators didn't understand that each move, each interrogation, each beating brought all of us closer together despite our differences intead of pushing us further apart. This place called Guantanamo had created a brotherhood among us and now we looked out for each other wherever we were, no matter who we were." "In Yemen, what my father called the country of love, whenever there was a protest against the government, or even a small riot, our president reacted diplomatically with fighter jets, tanks, artillery-all kinds of peaceful means-as a way to show his love. At Guantanamo, they didn't have fighter jets or tanks, so they had to think of other creative ways to tell us we should be quiet and stop protesting." "I felt lost in this terrible place-we all did. But sometimes I found myself, just little pieces, and I tried to hold on to them for as long as I could." "A Black army officer came with a female interpreter. The Black officers were always nicer. I don't know why." "We threw shit on the American army that tortured us. We threw shit on the general who made the army think that way. But that was not America and we knew it. We knew not to see America through the filter of Guantanamo, even though most of the guards still saw us through the filter of 9/11." "Guantanamo was a living, breathing monster that was always growing, expanding, adapting, changing." "They brought camp staff, civilians, and many vistors to Oscar Block to see us. The guards opened the viewing windows on our doors so delegations could walk past and look at us like we were in a zoo. They laughed at us, but I also saw fear. What kind of men were they holding?" "I'm sorry to say this, but our hearts were not full of warmth for most of the white guards. It wasn't because they were white, but because they were racists and didn't think of us as humans. Generally speaking, Muslims are forbidden from treating people differently based on color or any another reason. All people are the creation of Allah and should be treated equally. But the Americans were really good at their racism and brought it to new heights. N***er! Sandn***er! Towel head! Haji! They had so many names for us and it always hurt. They called Black guards and brown guards the same names and worse." "One day, one of the guards I had become friends with asked me one of the strangest questions. He was a really nice Native American guy who wasn't afraid to talk to me. I'd told him all about my village and my tribe and he'd told me about his." "I'd had more than ten years of interrogators. I probably could have done their jobs better than most of them by now." "Life in prison was like having your hard drive slowly erased. The longer you stayed, the more your memories were overwritten with new ones. It was a battle we all fought." "I'd seen a lot of American men in my fourteen years and learned that American women are more qualified and dedicated than the men. They took things more seriously." "I was shipped our of Guantanamo in the same way I was shipped in: against my will, gagged, blindfolded, hooded, earmuffed, and shackled. I was loaded into the cold body of a military transport plane, chained to my chair, and flown halfway around the world to a scary place I didn't know."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I am rating and reviewing the audio book. The choice of a female narrator is explained, and I appreciate the author's respect for women, but I'm not sure it worked. The book is horrifying to the extent that I hope it is not 100% true, though I fear the treatment is accurate. I doubt the legitimacy due to a few "holes.". Obviously, the author may be having mental and cognitive difficulties due to the torture. I'm left wondering how he learned to subdue and kill a dog with his bare hands. At times p I am rating and reviewing the audio book. The choice of a female narrator is explained, and I appreciate the author's respect for women, but I'm not sure it worked. The book is horrifying to the extent that I hope it is not 100% true, though I fear the treatment is accurate. I doubt the legitimacy due to a few "holes.". Obviously, the author may be having mental and cognitive difficulties due to the torture. I'm left wondering how he learned to subdue and kill a dog with his bare hands. At times prisoners had clothing taken for punishment, only to be have the clothing being worn mentioned. They are searched cruelly and meticulously, yet still have American money for trade. These and other inconsistencies confuse me. I have no doubt the author experienced tremendous treatment and am embarrassed for my country. Some of the inhumane treatment I remember seeing on the news but of course nothing like described here. The book also does not match the few first hand reports I've heard from our service men and women, but I guess it wouldn't. I wonder how many people on both sides were involved. I have many questions, and though I fear the answers, they nut be found. This book should be read and more needs to be done to uncover the truths of Goutinimo so that it may be stopped and never repeated. It is not enough, but I do hope writing helps him heal, and I pray he is able to move forward in peace to find joy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Geraldine (geraldinereads)

    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. Wow! This is definitely one of the most h 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. Wow! This is definitely one of the most heart wrenching memoirs I've ever read. This book will make you feel all the emotions and most of the time it is very hard to get through, because there are a lot of very graphic scenes. If you have any triggers in general, you might want to stay away from this one as it's filled with horrifying scenes that are extremely graphic. But at the same time, I couldn't stop reading this book because I was so captivated by Mansoor's story. His story also had small moments of hope, laughs, and happiness even though they were unfortunately cut short 😭 I honestly can't stop thinking about this book, and Mansoor's story will stay with me for a long time. I really hope he comes out with a sequel soon as I would love to read about his life after Guantanamo. I love memoir so if you love memoirs too, I highly recommend reading this one! It's a 5/5 star read for sure and a MUST read! Thank you Hachette Books for the review copy!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jischmidt

    I deeply appreciate the insight and candor of Adayfi Mansoor, though any naiveté about all the U.S. government is capable of is forever gone with the reading as this book gives more and more reason for paralyzed shame. Wherever they happen, such evils cannot be undone, especially without the admission that it not only happened but is still happening. Great illegal wrongs, including creating an expedient category that would disqualify these people "prisoner of war" status, cannot be tolerated any I deeply appreciate the insight and candor of Adayfi Mansoor, though any naiveté about all the U.S. government is capable of is forever gone with the reading as this book gives more and more reason for paralyzed shame. Wherever they happen, such evils cannot be undone, especially without the admission that it not only happened but is still happening. Great illegal wrongs, including creating an expedient category that would disqualify these people "prisoner of war" status, cannot be tolerated anywhere either, especially among those who would profess to hold to the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. (view spoiler)[As for Mr. Adayfi, he among countless others has been unjustly ruined forever. May the rest of his life somehow include the help to heal the effects of this courageous man's experiences. (hide spoiler)]

  21. 5 out of 5

    Skip

    Mansoor Adayfi, a Yemeni citizen, is kidnapped by warlords while in Afghanistan and sold to the U.S. as a terrorist working for either bin Laden or the Egyptians. He is "disappeared" to Guantánamo Bay, where he spends 14 years as Detainee #441 or "Smiley Troublemaker." While at Gitmo, Adayfi is subjected to many forms of torture and abuse, beatings, pepper sprays, isolation, hot, cold, noise, light, hunger, etc. Yet, he manages to maintain his own humanity and connections to fellow inmates from Mansoor Adayfi, a Yemeni citizen, is kidnapped by warlords while in Afghanistan and sold to the U.S. as a terrorist working for either bin Laden or the Egyptians. He is "disappeared" to Guantánamo Bay, where he spends 14 years as Detainee #441 or "Smiley Troublemaker." While at Gitmo, Adayfi is subjected to many forms of torture and abuse, beatings, pepper sprays, isolation, hot, cold, noise, light, hunger, etc. Yet, he manages to maintain his own humanity and connections to fellow inmates from many nations, leading uprisings and hunger strikes to gain the right to be treated humanely. He writes openly, both good and bad, about the guards, lawyers, and wardens. This book is an important record and testament of how unbridled monetary incentives and indiscriminate policy can combine to violate sacred human rights and decency. A tough read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Novotne

    Captivating If this was a story about an American captured by another country, they would have already been drone struck and invaded for war crimes and crimes against humanity. It's difficult to fathom how anyone could endure this and still have even basic mental, psychological and physical function. Mansoor shows how his faith, his ideals and the brotherhood they formed there helped him to survive. Captivating If this was a story about an American captured by another country, they would have already been drone struck and invaded for war crimes and crimes against humanity. It's difficult to fathom how anyone could endure this and still have even basic mental, psychological and physical function. Mansoor shows how his faith, his ideals and the brotherhood they formed there helped him to survive.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julie Derden

    This book was gut-wrenching. What the author endured at Guantanamo is nothing short of horrific, all at the hands of the U.S. government. This book is a testament to why we need the Geneva Conventions and why they should be monitored by impartial entities.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Sampaio

    heartbreaking story… MUST read!!!!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Wow! Guantanamo in its early days. A shocking and sorrowful on one of America's worst chapters Wow! Guantanamo in its early days. A shocking and sorrowful on one of America's worst chapters

  26. 5 out of 5

    Briayna Cuffie

    I have so many, but also no words. Such a personal lens about an experience that has lacked humanity from the U.S. Well teased out, the right amount of detail, and well-paced.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Meli

    NYT Book Review: He Spent 14 Years at Guantánamo. This is His Story. NYT Book Review: He Spent 14 Years at Guantánamo. This is His Story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nick Fleming

    I've you've ever wanted to rethink the existence of liberal western politics over the past two decades then this is the book for you. Utterly harrowing. I've you've ever wanted to rethink the existence of liberal western politics over the past two decades then this is the book for you. Utterly harrowing.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lakshmi Menon

    This book is written by an inmate at Guantanamo. It gives you a clear picture of why the camp should be closed.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    Couldn’t put it down and await the teased sequel.

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