Guantanamo Boy PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 March 2009 18:33


Anna Perara

  Imagine you are 15 years old living in a northern town, hanging out with your mates playing football, bunking off school occasionally and too shy to ask out the girl you have a crush on.  Your big obsession is playing computer games and you are developing a new game with your cousin.  You have a loving family but your Mum irritates you, your Dad embarrasses you and your little sisters wind you up. Pretty normal stuff until one day whilst staying with an Auntie abroad you are kidnapped and flown to a detention centre where you are interrogated and tortured until you are prepared to admit to anything. No-one knows where you are and you have no contact with the outside world and barely any contact with your fellow prisoners.  This is the shocking story of Khalid from Rochdale and how he endured the horrors of Guantanamo Bay. If you want to know what terms such as â extraordinary renditionâ  and â enemy combatantâ  really mean this book will explain far better than any news reports.
   Anna Perara brings to life a very current story, although this is a fictional account it is clearly well researched and I was personally shocked to learn that children as young as twelve years old were held in Guantanamo. It is definitely a book for older teenagers and adults, I would recommend parents read it first as parts of the book contain quite graphic scenes of torture and humiliation and it will inevitably raise some difficult questions.  The author has found an authentic voice for Khalid and the range of emotions from disbelief, terror, anger, shame and forgiveness are entirely believable (the only unbelievable part of the story is that this was allowed to go on in a free society in the 21st century). Despite the unmitigated horror there are flashes of humour and it is ultimately an inspiring story of endurance and love.
   This is a very powerful book and would be an excellent resource for teachers when discussing issues of citizenship, racism, religious tolerance and human rights. 

Guest Reviewer:

Charlotte Revely
Programme Director
National School of Government


Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 March 2009 19:41 )
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