Socialist Worker

Omar Deghayes’ Guantanamo hunger strike diary

Below we print extracts from Guantanamo hunger striker Omar Deghayes’ diary of the first hunger strike

Issue No. 1969

Sunday 3 July
Jafallah Mari, the only Qatari prisoner, has fallen in the hunger strike. He was taken to hospital. His weight was 120 pounds, now reduced to 103 pounds.

Tuesday 5
Khalid Hatair, a Kuwaiti, was found unconscious in his cell because of the hunger strike. He was taken to hospital.

Wednesday 6
A detainee started to bleed from hunger strike. He is in the third week.

Friday 8
Many people started to fall from hunger. A doctor and a translator were threatening people and shoving them. He says they will force people to take food.

Monday 11
Jafallah is in hospital since last Friday. I heard the strike had spread everywhere. Camp 5 is still very determined even though we are in the fourth dangerous week.

Tuesday 12
I am worried about the conditions of all detainees. But I found morale is very high and everyone is steadfast, they want to go on and continue whatever the costs. If the authorities don’t do something fast to improve things, I think things are getting worse and it will go out of control.

Tuesday 19
I am back alive. I was very sick and unable to write anything [in the] last few days, in much pain.

Wednesday 20
Omar Khadr, the Canadian juvenile, is very sick. He is throwing up blood. I tidied my blanket and realised the bad state it is in.

Several months, if not a year, since I had a change. No facilities to wash it.

Wednesday 27
We all decided to end the strike. The general promised to fulfil many conditions. The strike has stopped for one month, to give him the time he required to implement all of them.

He promised treatment under the Geneva Convention, respect of the Qur’an and rituals, religious book and others, better food and conditions and many other things, he said. We will see.

Thursday 28
About 4am I received early morning food. It was very good. They changed it. It may cost the same price as before. But it was made this time for human beings.

Before they intended to make detainees’ lives miserable. It was not the cost of food or amount we were complaining about.

But we wanted what they have now done — cook it properly for human consumption.

Thursday 28
Yesterday a prisoner came back from meeting his attorney. He said three bombs hit London. I am thinking who would put such bombs in London in this time?

To whose benefit? The British people have supported the cause and plight of those mistreated in Guantanamo. The media, politicians and human rights lawyers and organisations are in the forefront in talking against Bush’s policy.

Friday 29
They gave me a comb. I brushed my hair and beard for the first time since April 2002.

Monday 1 August
Things are not going good. They changed the food for two days, made sure everyone ended the strike then went back as usual.

They went back to previous food all the last days. Qhatani downstairs was not given level one clothes.

We will all stand with him if he is not given clothes like everybody else. The general promised that food will change, clean water will be given with meals, international laws would apply to everyone in detention.

He went back on everything. It does seem very likely that the strike will start again.

I am very frustrated with these cunning officers and worthless men of no word.

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