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« Bush Terminator: How many Friends Eliminated? | Main | e-urban: Waarom doe ik 't? (1) 19.4.07 [NL] »
Tuesday
Apr242007

A Turkish Guantanamo Victim tells his Story

In August 2006, a Guantánamo victim, Murat Kurnaz (30), who was born an grew up in Bremen (Germany), was freed after five years of torture in a Kandahar prisoners' camp and on the Guantánamo base. Since then, he lives again with his family in the Bremer neighbourhood of Hemelingen.

A fact-finding commission of the German Parliament concluded that he is completely innocent of any link to Al-Qaeda or terrorism. A conclusion that was already submitted by the German Secret Service delegation who interviewed him in 2003/2004 at Guantánamo, to the German and Turkish Governments.

His sad story is told now in a book that will be published next Wednesday in Germany. The calm, flegmatic Kurnaz is a particularly credible person (see the quoted YouTube registration of his interviews on German and Turkish TV).

This new book will constitute another blow to US credibility in Europe. Mrs Bush' and Cheney's stubborn refusal to acknowledge at least some errors in their antiterror policies, is turning itself more and more against the US and against the values for which it stands. Another sad story.

Starting in Germany, the book provokes a tsunami of bloggers' comments. I'd like to share with you some parts of my co-blogger BigBerta's review of Kurnaz' book. Bigberta is a female medical doctor, who participated in recent German military missions in Asia. Adhering to a mild version of Islam herself, she studied Islamic history and sociology, and writes regularly about xenophobia and islamophobia. Knowing, that it is superfluous, I'd like to mention also, that she is in no way anti-Jewish or anti-Israel. Her website features the Khazari history of conversion to Judaism in the 800's.

Guantanamo-Victim: Murat Kurnaz from Bremen (Germany)

December 2001. Murat Kurnaz, after touring a number of Islamic schools and loaded with presents for his family and newly-wed spouse in Bremen, is on his way home from Pakistan, riding a bus to the airport. Pakistani police halts the bus, arrests Murat and gets $3000,- from the US Army, delivering him as a "terror suspect" to them.

Bigberta (my translation & summaries, HR):

Murat Kurnaz - Five Years of My Life

Click on the image
Kurnaz1
A thoroughly human book
For the first time we heard Kurnaz himself at the moving TV-emission with Beckmann. (YouTube, HR). In my view, he needs nobody to talk in his place. After seeing that emission, nobody can doubt, that five years of this man's life have been stolen, without any justification.

His ghostwriter, Helmut Kuhn, has done a good job, for anyone who has heard Kunaz himself talking with Beckmann, hears him, and nobody else speaking from what has been written: uncomplicated, calm, without accusations.

I shouldn't deny that me too, at first I wondered also, why Kurnaz decided to study the Quran in Pakistan, at that fatal moment. Aren't there Qur'an-schools in Turkey? Well, when he explains why, I understand:
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[In the beginning, Kurnaz looked for a course in a mainstream Islamic school. He felt that he owed that to his new bride, a more traditional Muslima than his rather secular family. HR]

Coming from a marginalized, jobless life and environment, he choose definitely for another approach to life than using drugs and small criminality, as a number of his friends did. He oriented himself to the Tablighi Jamaat an active missionary movement in the muslim world. The prominent French orientalist Olivier Roy, Amnesty International and the Paris City Council are positive about this movement. The Paris City Council even cooperated with them in calming the 2005 suburban rebellions by muslim youngsters. So, even if this movement is not what I would like to be Islam, you cannot charge Kurnaz with opting for the wrong Islamic movement, as the Paris City Council made the same choice. Even if they were wrong, why charge Kurnaz with making the same choice?

[..]

In the book, all horrors imaginable come true: In Guantánamo, wild amputations happen, a 96 years old, blind, prisoner is met, killing "Immediate-Response-Teams", terrorizing guardians.
But the book is not an indiction at all. It just tells the sory.
That is what makes it so readable.

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