Rupture and Reckoning: Guantánamo Turns 20

Reflecting on the Legacy of the Notorious Detention Camp and US Counter-Terrorism Policy Two Decades After 9/11


If history is written by the victors, as the saying goes, then who will write the story of the detention camp at Guantánamo? How can we grapple with the legacy of injustices that persist not only in Guantánamo’s continued operation, but also in its myriad contemporary manifestations: from mass surveillance to fortressed borders, drone warfare to domestic terrorism frameworks, crackdowns on protestors by heavily militarized police to enduring double standards of accountability for powerful Western actors?

In response to such questions, this anthology represents a conscious effort to remember, reflect and reckon with Guantánamo and two decades of US counter-terrorism policy by those who have fought against, worked within, or been held captive at the notorious detention camp. By presenting a diverse range of personal insider accounts, expressed in writing, interviews and artistic visual mediums, it aims to not only stir reflections on the failings of the last twenty years, but also to highlight the humanity inside the walls of the detention center the way we – current and former detainees, lawyers, activists, journalists, academics and artists – see it.

The anthology aspires to present a specific part of the human history, preserved for both present and future generations, of what we see as the real story of Guantánamo over the last twenty years. We hope that it will help shape the memory and conversation surrounding the detention camp in the years to come, and that it will serve as a record when history finally comes to bear on the US for its crimes.