“This is the closest I have been to my son in almost 5 years,” said Zohra Zewawi, the mother of Guantanamo prisoner Omar Deghayes, as she stood in front of the gates of the prison on the Cuban side. “On the one hand I feel incredibly sad that I am so close but can’t see or hold him; on the other hand I am happy because focusing the world’s attention on this shameful place might help get my son out of prison.”
While protests were happening all over the world to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the first prisoners taken to Guantanamo on January 11, 2002, a group of us traveled to the city of Guantanamo to bring our protest close to the gates of the US prison.
This is not the first time tragedy has befallen the Deghayes family. Zohra’s husband, a labor lawyer in Libya, was killed by the government of Col. Omar Qaddafi. Zohra fled to England to raise her five children. “The dictator Qaddafi tortured and imprisoned my husband; now the U.S., a country I thought was civilized, is doing the same thing to my son,” she said.
For the people of Guantanamo, our visit gave them insights into the horrors of the prison, but hope that people around the world are working to shut it down. “My city used to be known for Jose Marti’s beautiful poem and the song Guantanamera. It pains us that now we’re known worldwide for the infamous prison on the US base,” said Eneida Leiva Molina, head of the Guantanamo Friendship Institute. “We hope that once this anniversary is over, people will continue to work to shut the prison down.
For more information from Grenada's past, check out: Cagedprisoners.com