Dev­as­tat­ing piece in the New York Times that needs no ex­pla­na­tion:


One man here weighs just 77 pounds. An­other, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they re­store my dig­nity.

I’ve been de­tained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never re­ceived a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one se­ri­ously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the mil­i­tary said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was non­sense, like some­thing out of the Amer­i­can movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to be­lieve it any­more. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, ei­ther.

When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a child­hood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do bet­ter than the $50 a month I earned in a fac­tory, and sup­port my fam­ily. I’d never re­ally trav­eled, and knew noth­ing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try.

I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the Amer­i­can in­va­sion in 2001, I fled to Pak­istan like every­one else. The Pak­ista­nis ar­rested me when I asked to see some­one from the Yemeni Em­bassy. I was then sent to Kan­da­har, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.

Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hos­pi­tal and re­fused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Ex­treme Re­ac­tion Force), a squad of eight mil­i­tary po­lice of­fi­cers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly in­serted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. Dur­ing this time I was not per­mit­ted to go to the toi­let. They in­serted a catheter, which was painful, de­grad­ing and un­nec­es­sary. I was not even per­mit­ted to pray.

I will never for­get the first time they passed the feed­ing tube up my nose. I can’t de­scribe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throw­ing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stom­ach. I had never ex­pe­ri­enced such pain be­fore. I would not wish this cruel pun­ish­ment upon any­one.

I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Some­times they come dur­ing the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleep­ing.

There are so many of us on hunger strike now that there aren’t enough qual­i­fied med­ical staff mem­bers to carry out the force-feed­ings; noth­ing is hap­pen­ing at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals. They are feed­ing peo­ple around the clock just to keep up.

Dur­ing one force-feed­ing the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stom­ach, hurt­ing me more than usual, be­cause she was doing things so hastily. I called the in­ter­preter to ask the doc­tor if the pro­ce­dure was being done cor­rectly or not.

It was so painful that I begged them to stop feed­ing me. The nurse re­fused to stop feed­ing me. As they were fin­ish­ing, some of the “food” spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard re­fused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dig­nity.

When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Ei­ther I can ex­er­cise my right to protest my de­ten­tion, and be beaten up, or I can sub­mit to painful force-feed­ing.

The only rea­son I am still here is that Pres­i­dent Obama re­fuses to send any de­tainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a pass­port, and I de­serve to be treated like one.

I do not want to die here, but until Pres­i­dent Obama and Yemen’s pres­i­dent do some­thing, that is what I risk every day.

Where is my gov­ern­ment? I will sub­mit to any “se­cu­rity mea­sures” they want in order to go home, even though they are to­tally un­nec­es­sary.

I will agree to what­ever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my fam­ily again and to start a fam­ily of my own.

The sit­u­a­tion is des­per­ate now. All of the de­tainees here are suf­fer­ing deeply. At least 40 peo­ple here are on a hunger strike. Peo­ple are faint­ing with ex­haus­tion every day. I have vom­ited blood.

And there is no end in sight to our im­pris­on­ment. Deny­ing our­selves food and risk­ing death every day is the choice we have made.

I just hope that be­cause of the pain we are suf­fer­ing, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo be­fore it is too late.