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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The following interview was conducted in July 2020 with Erika Quinteros, author and illustrator of TOMASA TITO CONDEMAYTA: Una historia de valor y coraje. Erika Quinteros is an industrial engineer with a Master’s degree in Political Communication and Governance from the George Washington University. She has worked as a consultant in the design and evaluation of community development projects. She has a particular interest in issues of gender, the rights of indigenous people, and environmental protection.

What inspired you to write the story of Tomasa Tito Condemayta?

It was Tomasa herself and her powerful story. She was an indigenous woman leading a battalion of women to fight against the Spanish. This happened during a period when many Peruvians believe that women had no military or political role. 

I think, having grown up reading so many different  books and being inspired by people overseas, I just couldn’t believe that no one had told me Tomasa’s story. She was Peruvian, like me. She was a woman, like me. And even though I am not indigenous, my grandmother was indigenous, part of me is indigenous. In Peru, our national heroes are mostly wealthy white men. I think every child should be able to learn about heroes that she or he can identify with, and  I am sure many will be fascinated and inspired by Tomasa and her courage.

Hace poco nos sentamos con Néstor Gómez, cuarenta veces ganador del Moth Grand Slam, y conductor del podcast de historias, 80 Minutes Around the World.  

Néstor, que antes tartamudeaba, proviene de Guatemala y encontró su voz después de migrar a Chicago, entrar al bachillerato, y aprender a moverse dentro de una nueva cultura. Actualmente usa su plataforma para animar a otros a contar sus historias. 

“Cada lugar, cada persona y cada cosa me inspira una historia o poema distinto,” dice.