Photo Credit: Salwan Georges

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down virtually with Mansoor Adayfi, author of Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo. Mansoor is an activist and former Guantánamo detainee now residing in Serbia. At the age of only eighteen, he was kidnapped in Afghanistan and sold to the U.S. government. Held in Guantánamo for fourteen years, he was tortured and deprived of his basic human rights.

We talked with Mansoor about what he would go back and tell his younger self, his life in Serbia, and his recent college graduation. Now the Guantánamo Project Manager at the NGO CAGE, Mansoor and fellow former detainees, or “brothers,” have published an eight-point plan to instruct President Biden on how to properly close Guantánamo. Wearing a bright orange cloth around his neck out of solidarity for his brothers, Mansoor explained his plans to advocate for the closure of Guantánamo until they were free. As he spoke with conviction and humor, calling silence “a tool of the oppressors,” it became increasingly clear: Mansoor’s voice will be a powerful instrument of justice for years to come
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Escrito por Alexia Rauen

Traducido por Pilar Espitia

El texto autobiográfico de Mansoor Adayfi publicado en 2021 Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo [No se olviden de nosotros: De cómo me perdí y me encontré en Guantánamo] transporta a los lectores a la bahía de Guantánamo en Cuba, a un mundo en el que niños y adultos son torturados de forma rutinaria por los Estados Unidos. La bahía de Guantánamo es una base naval en posesión de Estados Unidos desde 1903. Adayfi pasó su niñez en las montañas idílicas de Yemen1 con sueños de estudiar en los Emiratos Árabes Unidos.2 Cuando Adayfi tenía 18 años, viajó a Afganistán en un viaje de investigación para un importante jeque que le prometió una carta de recomendación para la universidad a cambio de su trabajo.3 En ese entonces, los Estados Unidos ofrecían recompensas por atrapar a combatientes talibanes y de Al-Qaeda; Adayfi fue capturado y vendido por caudillos que lo obligaron a decir que era un miembro de Al-Qaeda o que, sino, los estadounidenses lo matarían.4 A su vez, los estadounidenses capturaron a un muchacho yemení de 19 años y reinventaron la narrativa de quién era. Se convencieron de que era un general egipcio mayor (“incluso creían que [el general] se había hecho una cirugía plástica para verse jóven y diferente, supongo, para que se pareciera a mí”) y lo torturaron por años para obtener información que él de ningún modo podía poseer.5 

By Alexia Rauen

Mansoor Adayfi’s 2021 memoir, Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo, transports readers to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to a world in which children and adults are routinely tortured by the United States. Guantánamo Bay has been a naval base in U.S. possession since 1903. Adayfi spent his childhood in the idyllic mountains of Yemen1 with dreams to study in the United Arab Emirates.2 When Adayfi was eighteen years old, he traveled to Afghanistan on a research trip for an important sheik in Yemen who promised him a university reference letter in exchange for his work.3 With the United States offering bounties for Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, Adayfi was captured and sold by warlords who instructed him to say he was a member of Al-Qaeda, or else the Americans would kill him.4 The Americans, in turn, took a nineteen-year-old Yemeni boy and reinvented the narrative of who he was. They convinced themselves he was an older Egyptian general (“they even believed [the general] had plastic surgery to look young and different, I guess to look like me”) and tortured him for years in search of information he couldn’t possibly possess.5

Inspired by her documentary and forthcoming book, The Banker Ladies, we recently had the privilege of connecting with Dr. Caroline Shenaz Hossein about her research on coop banking, the role of rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs), and social enterprises in Canada.

Caroline Shenaz Hossein is an Associate Professor of Global Development and Political Science at the University of Toronto at Scarborough in Ontario, Canada. She founded the Diverse Solidarity Economies (DiSE) Collective, made up of more than 20 Black and racialized feminist leaders, and is the author of Politicized Microfinance: Money, power and violence in the Black Americas (University of Toronto Press, 2016). Caroline currently sits on the Board of the International Feminist Economics Association, is the Board Chair of the Miami Institute for Social Sciences, and is a Board trustee of the Association of Social Economics, all global academic institutions reaching thousands of members. She is currently conducting research on the African diaspora in Canada and the Caribbean, and she is particularly interested in advancing the economic role of racialized women in the Caribbean and Canada in real ways to acknowledge and hire the Banker Ladies in economic development. You can see more about her research and projects on her website or follow her on Twitter: @carolinehossein.

  1. What has your career journey been like and what inspired you to create the Banker Ladies documentary and research alternative models of banking?

While at Cornell University (1995-1997), I started researching Sudanese exiles in Cairo, Egypt and livelihood strategies such as Sandooq and other microbanking programs. I then worked in Benin, Niger, Guinea, and a number of other places focused on economic development programming through global non-profits and development aid agencies for about 10 years. Now as an academic, I am interested in coops and the commoning of goods. Though I studied professionalized financial development, such as microfinance, for years as my PhD topic across a number of Caribbean countries, my interest was always in community-driven cooperative institutions, officially known as rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs). ROSCAs are locally called by the vernacular: Susu, Chit, Hagbad, Osusu, Chama, Arisan, Hua and such banking coops. Being told that there was only one commercial model of banking to follow seemed untrue. Growing up in a Caribbean immigrant family we had to struggle for everything, and I knew that right in Toronto African peoples and other racialized immigrants were always organizing their own mutual aid financing and coops, and often did this work out of sight. This is what we can see as part of the commons, in which people shared goods to help themselves and others. In my experience, doing research on ROSCAs is accepted in the academe, as long as one is studying these coops in the Global South, outside of the Western world. Running a ROSCA is tough work because the members who organize these coops are operating informally, and they are commoning resources so building trust takes time. Because I focus on Black marginalized women, this takes even more time to get the story right due to the secrecy at times with informal coop systems. I am working on my fifth book, The Banker Ladies, and the Canadian case is the hard one to do because the ROSCA members – known as the Banker Ladies – hide what they do. The documentary is directed by a Haitian-Canadian filmmaker Esery Mondesir and the goal is to bring awareness and to educate the public about ROSCAs, informal coops, and mutual aid carried out by marginalized Canadian women. The Banker Ladies is hosted on films for action (open access) and it was supported by federal SSHRC funding and the early researcher award by the Province of Ontario. This body of work on ROSCAs in the Americas is based on 11 years of research and I have a book, The Banker Ladies, underway with the University of Toronto Press.           

Barbara Crane Navarro es una artista, autora y activista francesa que actualmente vive cerca de París. Durante 12 años, pasó los meses de invierno con el pueblo Yanomami en Venezuela y Brasil, una experiencia que inspiró su práctica artística y sus esfuerzos de décadas para llamar la atención sobre la devastación de la selva amazónica. Desde crear instalaciones de arte que quema hasta escribir e ilustrar una serie de libros para niños, Crane Navarro es un artista prolífico que tiene el poder de inculcar un sentido de urgencia, responsabilidad y conectividad a todos los que interactúan con sus creaciones. Le contamos sobre sus mayores inspiraciones, en lo que está trabajando actualmente y lo que hace que la selva tropical sea invaluable.

Las siguientes fotos pertenecen a Barbara Crane Navarro y han sido publicadas con su permiso.


Barbara Crane Navarro est une artiste, auteur et activiste française qui vit actuellement près de Paris. Pendant 12 ans, elle a passé les mois d’hiver avec le peuple Yanomami au Venezuela et au Brésil, une expérience qui a inspiré sa pratique artistique et ses efforts de plusieurs décennies pour attirer l’attention sur la dévastation de la forêt amazonienne. De la création d’installations artistiques qu’elle brûle à l’écriture et l’illustration d’une série de livres pour enfants, Crane Navarro est une artiste prolifique qui a le pouvoir d’inculquer un sentiment d’urgence, de responsabilité et de connectivité à tous ceux qui interagissent avec ses créations. Nous lui avons parlé de ses plus grandes inspirations, de ce sur quoi elle travaille actuellement et de ce qui rend la forêt tropicale inestimable.

Les photos suivantes appartiennent à Barbara Crane Navarro et ont été publiées avec sa permission.

By Erika Quinteros

Pedro Castillo has defeated Keiko Fujimori by 44,058 votes. That doesn’t mean the electoral battle is over.

With 100% of Peru’s votes counted, the country has a new president-elect. But will Pedro Castillo have a chance to govern?

On June 6th, Peruvians went to the polls to elect a president in a runoff election between right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori and left-wing contender Pedro Castillo. The night of the elections, the pollster Ipsos gave the first quick count – a method that consists of counting a representative sample of the country’s votes in the presence of the electoral authorities – which showed Castillo ahead with 50.2% of the votes.