Sunday, 24 January 2010

Life After Guatanamo: Omar Deghayes

The Guardian (21 January 2010) carries an interview with Omar Deghayes, detailing his time at Guatanamo Bay, how he got there and how he is coping since his release. As with many others written before, this is a painful account of what this man suffers although you can see he does not dwell on his treatment. It is also painful reminder of what rights a Muslim sometimes really has.

Deghayes says his suffering made his faith stronger; it helped him ­survive. "We knew there's a Muslim [God] ­behind things, there's a hereafter, our patience and hardships will be ­rewarded and the pain has to end sometime. Our religion teaches these things – the good always prevails and the bad is only temporary; the patience of Job, the patience of Moses. All these teachings make a difference." Praying five times a day delivered ­transcendence, removing him from the material world of bodily suffering. "My body and physical being can be chained, can be tarnished, can be beaten, can be raped," he says now, "but not the spiritual: that is something that nobody can bind down. The spirit is what makes us who we are."

Stafford Smith believes Deghayes has fared better than many veterans of Guantánamo since his release because he had the support of his family, an ­education – and because he has taken a very positive approach to his experiences. "He's not just sat back and taken it; he's tried to do something positive. Omar works a lot with us to try to help other prisoners who are still in Guantánamo. He's also always been up for a good argument or a good ­debate."

You can read the full article here.

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