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
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
In fact, they realised, women had been speaking up about this from the very start – it was just that no one was listening. ‘In the Juntas Trial in 1985 in which nine commanders were tried, there was a victim who said I was raped, and the prosecutor just ignored this. He literally said, “Don’t lose the wood for the trees. We need to focus on the torture and murder.”’ 1
In her work Our Bodies Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women, Christina Lambexplores the phenomenon of sexual violence in armed conflict. Her travels take her from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (nothing democratic about it) to Iraq and the former Yugoslavia. She also goes to Argentina, where she explores the violence against women that occurred during the military regime from 1976 to 1983.
‘Machismo’. The idea that masculine pride comes from strength and aggression. A concept that is predominantly associated with Latin American culture and customs, but is also prevalent in societies across the globe. Historically and contemporarily, ‘machismo’ is used to justify male sexual, physical, and emotional dominance, primarily over females. It is the stereotype that the man goes to work and makes a living while the woman stays home to take care of children and clean the house, that men do not cry or need help, and that expressing feelings is a sign of weakness. Local, national, and regional feminist movements have been fighting to change these societal roles and customs.
Michael E. Donoghue’s historical study Borderland on the Isthmus: Race, Culture, and the Struggle for the Canal Zone exposes traditionally underrepresented issues in the Panama Canal Zone. The Panama Canal Zone, which encompasses the canal itself, a well-known trade route that splits Panama, also encompasses the surrounding area. This zone was under U.S. control from 1903 to 1979; the canal was returned to Panama in 1999. Donoghue’s book is impressive and particularly strong in its detail concerning themes of race and gender in the Panama Canal Zone.
The 2012 film “Harvest of Empire,” based on the book of the same title by journalist Juan González of Democracy Now, demonstrates how U.S. policy toward Latin America has created political, social, and economic instability in the region. Directed by Peter Getzels and Eduardo López,it discusses the cases of Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. It also addresses the United States’ role in the military and corporate interventions that have triggered mass migration to the United States. Five years later, particularly given President Trump’s recent backing of the RAISE Act, the central theme of the documentary is relevant: anti-immigrant sentiments in the United States reflect a woeful ignorance of the structural forces that have caused millions in Latin America to flee their homes.
With the feminization of labor that has occurred in recent years, it is vital to examine the interplay between labor, gender, and globalization. In the book Disposable Women and Other Myths of Global Capitalism, the human geographer and feminist Melissa W. Wright effectively argues that in today’s global economy, the myth that the third world woman1 is disposable is pervasive. This ethos is tied to a culture of violence that normalizes the mistreatment of women and permits their dismissal and delegitimization in the public sphere. Using ethnographic research and a variety of theoretical frameworks, Wright presents the reader with an intricate and passionate account of the spatialized and corporeal aspects of factory work in the global South. However, a more detailed exploration of how workers perceive their own value and labor as well as a more committed examination of coalition-building and global solidarity would further strengthen her claims.