The moving, eye-opening memoir of an innocent man detained at Guantánamo Bay for 14 years: a story of humanity in the unlikeliest of places and an unprecedented look at life at Guantánamo on the eve of its 20th anniversary
At the age of 18, Mansoor Adayfi left his home in Yemen for a cultural mission to Afghanistan. He never returned. Kidnapped by warlords and then sold to the US after 9/11, he was disappeared to Guantánamo Bay, where he spent the next 14 years as Detainee #441.
Don't Forget Us Here tells two coming-of-age stories in parallel: a makeshift island outpost becoming the world's most notorious prison and an innocent young man emerging from its darkness. Arriving as a stubborn teenager, Mansoor survived the camp's infamous interrogation program and became a feared and hardened resistance fighter leading prison riots and hunger strikes. With time though, he grew into the man nicknamed "Smiley Troublemaker": a student, writer, advocate, and historian. While at Guantánamo, he wrote a series of manuscripts he sent as letters to his attorneys, which he then transformed into this vital chronicle, in collaboration with award-winning writer Antonio Aiello. With unexpected warmth and empathy, Mansoor unwinds a narrative of fighting for hope and survival in unimaginable circumstances, illuminating the limitlessness of the human spirit. And through his own story, he also tells Guantánamo's story, offering an unprecedented window into one of the most secretive places on earth and the people--detainees and guards alike--who lived there with him.
Twenty years after 9/11, Guantánamo remains open, and at a moment of due reckoning, Mansoor Adayfi helps us understand what actually happened there--both the horror and the beauty--a stunning record of an experience we cannot afford to forget.
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“Both a record of what was done to detainees and a triumphant boast about how they survived. We should read it to bear witness to what was done in our name."
Los Angeles Review of Books
About Mansoor Adayfi
Mansoor Adayfi is a writer, advocate, and former Guantánamo Bay detainee, held for over fourteen years without charges as an enemy combatant. He was released to Serbia in 2016, where he struggles to make a new life for himself and to shed the designation of a suspected terrorist. In 2019, he won the Richard J. Margolis Award for nonfiction writers of social justice journalism. He is also one of the Sundance Institute’s 2020 Episodic Lab Fellows, through which he is working to bring Don’t Forget Us Here to television.He has published several New York Times pieces, including a "Modern Love" column. He wrote the introduction to the 2017-2018 exhibit, "Ode to the Sea: Art from Guantánamo Bay," and contributed to the scholarly volume, Witnessing Torture. His graphic narrative, "Caged Lives" was published by The Nib and is included in the anthology Guantanamo Voices. He participated in the creation of the award-winning radio documentary "The Art of Now: Guantánamo" for BBC radio and the CBC podcast Love Me, which aired on NPR's Snap Judgment. Regularly interviewed by international news media about his experiences at Guantánamo and life after, he was also featured in the PBS Frontline episode Out of Gitmo. In 2019, he won the Richard J. Margolis Award for nonfiction writers of social justice journalism. He is also one of the Sundance Institute’s 2020 Episodic Lab Fellows, through which he is working to bring Don’t Forget Us Here to television.
Antonio Aiello is a writer, editor, and storyteller working in print, digital, and broadcast formats. He worked closely with Mansoor to help develop the manuscripts written at Guantánamo into Don’t Forget Us Here. Together, they are working to develop a TV show inspired by the book as Fellows in the Sundance Institute’s prestigious Episodic Lab.