Just in time for the start of the semester, Lakhdar Boumediene, the lead plaintiff in Boumediene v. Bush (2008) has a column in the New York Times about his experience being held at Guantanamo for seven years. If you teach the case in class, this should be added to your syllabus immediately.
His story is chilling and heart-breaking and will help your students understand the human carnage that Guantanamo has wrought. As a parent of two young children, I could barely hold back tears reading his story. As an American who thinks his government should be better than this, much better than this, I felt the same.
Here are the first two paragraphs:
ON Wednesday, America’s detention camp at Guantánamo Bay will have been open for 10 years. For seven of them, I was held there without explanation or charge. During that time my daughters grew up without me. They were toddlers when I was imprisoned, and were never allowed to visit or speak to me by phone. Most of their letters were returned as “undeliverable,” and the few that I received were so thoroughly and thoughtlessly censored that their messages of love and support were lost.
Some American politicians say that people at Guantánamo are terrorists, but I have never been a terrorist. Had I been brought before a court when I was seized, my children’s lives would not have been torn apart, and my family would not have been thrown into poverty. It was only after the United States Supreme Court ordered the government to defend its actions before a federal judge that I was finally able to clear my name and be with them again.