The End - 2000 to 2009

A Letter to Barack Obama from a Guantanamo Uighur

Abu Bakker Qassim’s letter to Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President,

I express my gratitude and my best respect for the contribution of the United States of America to our Uighur community. At the same time, I express my gratitude for your right and prompt decision to close the jail of Guantánamo Bay. I hope you will forgive my English, which I have tried to learn.

I hope my letter will find you in a good health. Please allow me to express my wish and prayer to read my letter.

My name is Abu Bakker and I’m writing on behalf of Ahmet, Aktar, Ejup, with whom I have lived since May 2006 in Albania, the only country that offered us political asylum from Guantánamo when US courts concluded that we were not enemy combatants.

I would like to write something about myself. The Uighur people have a proverb: “Who thinks about the end will never be a hero.” Obviously it is human to think about the end, as it is human for me to remember things long ago.

30.12.2000. My last night in my little home. No one was sleeping … not even my eight-month twins in my wife’s womb. No one was speaking … even my two-year old son … I had decided that I would confess that night to my wife the end I had thought of in my heart, but I hesitated because of a question my son had asked me, that I could not answer. It was at the beginning of winter. We were standing near the oven, and I was cuddling his hands. He took with his little hands my forefinger.

Dad! Is a fingernail a bone?

No, I said. The fingernail is not a bone.

It is flesh?

No. Neither is it flesh.

So, the fingernail: what is it, Dad?

I didn’t know.

I don’t know, I said.

So small was my boy, and I couldn’t answer his questions. And when he grows up and the questions are not about the fingernail? How shall I answer then?

31.12.2000. Without telling the end, without turning back my head, without fear I started my long and already known way. “Ah, if only …! Ah, if only I reach Istanbul, am hired in the factory, to work day and night, to save my self and money. God is great! Ah, if only I could bring my wife there, my son and — the most important — to see my twins for the first time in Istanbul. To hold them on my breast, to pick up as I could … to show my son and to tell to them: We are from the place where the sun rises. I would embrace them, I would answer all of their questions, I would teach to them everything my mother taught me, as her mother taught her, to my grandmother her grandmother … as though in a movie with a happy ending: me film director, me scenarist, me at the lead role. The hero of my dearest people … Me.”

After three years and a half, questions after questions, the military tribunal in Guantánamo asked me:

If you will die here, what will you think at your last minutes?

I’m a husband and a father that is dying in the heroism’s ways, I answered and I asked the permission to put a question of my own.

If Guantánamo Bay were closed today, would you be a hero for your children?

I was proclaimed innocent. The lawyer proposed — meantime we were waiting for a state which will accept us — to live in a hotel in the Military Base of Guantánamo Bay. No way! We were put in a camp near to the jail, which was called “Iguana Camp.” We were nine. Sometimes, one of my friends asked the soldiers about the time. Even today, I hadn’t understood why he needed to know the time. I asked the time … I had reasons …

In Camp Iguana, there were iguanas. We fed them with bread, so they began to enter in our dormitory. All of us needed their company. Sometimes, when they were late, everyone missed them …

One morning, I had an unforgettable surprise from my friends. They gave to me cake from their meal, since that day was my twins’ birthday. The same day, in our dormitory entered two iguanas and I give to them the cake … thinking about my kids … thinking about my end … My dream finished from Istanbul to Guantánamo, from my kids to iguanas …

Finally in 2006 I arrived in Albania, my second homeland. The ring of the telephone! What anxiety! Are they alive? For the first time, I spoke with my wife and my kids. They were alive!

Every morning, I go out of my home before the sun rises and wait for him with the hands up and empty. Since I’m still from the country where the sun rises. I think about the family which perhaps I will never see again and I resolve not to forget my vow, seven years ago, to be their hero.

Yet, Mr. President, seventeen of my brothers remain in that prison today. It is three years since I left the prison, and still they are there. Please end their suffering soon. Your January 22 words were so welcome to us, and I congratulate you for that and for your historic election. But many months have passed.

For the four of us who remain in Albania (one of us is in Sweden today, trying for asylum), life is very hard, and our future still seems far away. I hope that one day soon your government and countrymen will meet our seventeen brothers. Maybe when that day comes there would be hope that we might come to America too.

Mr. President.

In life not everyone will reach his desired end. Perhaps you don’t know, but we are similar … Except as to the end. Since you, like me, without thinking abut the end of your long way, managed to be a hero … I’m at Your side … I’m proud of you …

Mr. President.

Please allow me to share with You a thought. Gift a pair of shoes to every child, to every woman, or every barefoot man since the barefoot people doesn’t think too much before walking on the dirty mud. Begin with everything from above.

Very truly yours,

Abu Bakker Qassim

Tirana, Albania
March 24, 2009

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  • 9 Responses for "A Letter to Barack Obama from a Guantanamo Uighur"

    1. farooq May 17th, 2009 at 6:48 pm

      wow, good writer, came from the heart

    2. Arif May 17th, 2009 at 8:27 pm

      Masha’Allah, it was very eloquently put!

    3. Ammar May 17th, 2009 at 8:58 pm

      Masha Allah… SO what is a fingernail though? jk

    4. Abdullah May 18th, 2009 at 3:30 am

      dead cells

    5. Abdullah May 18th, 2009 at 3:35 am

      Fingernails and toenails are made of a tough protein called keratin and have many different parts:
      eponychium or cuticle, the fold of skin at the proximal end of the nail
      paronychium, the fold of skin on the sides of the nail
      hyponychium, the attachment between the skin of the finger or toe and the distal end of the nail
      nail plate, the hard and translucent portion, composed of keratin
      nail bed, the adherent connective tissue that underlies the nail, often referred to as the quick
      lunula, the crescent-shaped whitish area of the nail bed (when visible)
      nail fold, a fold of hard skin overlapping the base and sides of a fingernail or toenail
      the free edge, the part of the nail that extends past the finger, beyond the nail plate.

    6. miloservic May 18th, 2009 at 9:42 am

      this is not a biology group talk, ok?

    7. Simon isa May 18th, 2009 at 6:36 pm

      yeh the letter was beautiful, masallah…

      As for fingerNail (anatomy)
      A nail is a horn-like structure at the end of an animal’s finger or toe. See also claw.
      Contents
      [hide]

      * 1 Parts of the nail
      * 2 Health and care
      * 3 Fashion
      * 4 Medical test
      * 5 References
      * 6 See also

      [edit] Parts of the nail
      Fingernails.
      Toenails.
      Anatomy.

      Fingernails and toenails are made of a tough protein called keratin and have many different parts:

      * eponychium or cuticle, the fold of skin at the proximal end of the nail
      * paronychium, the fold of skin on the sides of the nail
      * hyponychium, the attachment between the skin of the finger or toe and the distal end of the nail
      * nail plate, the hard and translucent portion, composed of keratin
      * nail bed, the adherent connective tissue that underlies the nail, often referred to as the quick
      * lunula, the crescent-shaped whitish area of the nail bed (when visible)
      * nail fold, a fold of hard skin overlapping the base and sides of a fingernail or toenail
      * the free edge, the part of the nail that extends past the finger, beyond the nail plate.

      Nails act as a counterforce when the end of the finger touches an object, thereby enhancing the sensitivity of the fingertip,[1] even though there are no nerve endings in the nail itself. The growing part of the nail is the part still under the skin at the nail’s proximal end. The average thickness of this portion of the nail is .016 inches, or 0.43 millimetres. In common usage, the word nail often refers to the nail plate only.

      Nails grow at an average rate of 3 millimeters a month.[2] Fingernails require 3 to 6 months to regrow completely, and toenails require 12 to 18 months. Actual growth rate is dependent upon age, gender, season, exercise level, diet, and hereditary factors. Contrary to popular belief, nails do not continue to grow after death; the skin dehydrates and tightens, making the nails (and hair) appear to grow.[3]

      This growth record can show the history of recent health and physiological imbalances, and has been used as a diagnostic tool since ancient times.[4] Major illness will cause a deep transverse groove to form across the nails. Discoloration, thinning, thickening, brittleness, splitting, grooves, Mees’ lines, small white spots, receded lunula, clubbing (convex), flatness, spooning (concave) can indicate illness in other areas of the body, nutrient deficiencies, drug reaction or poisoning, or merely local injury. Nails can also become thickened (onychogryphosis), loosened (onycholysis), infected with fungus (onychomycosis) or degenerate (onychodystrophy); for further information see nail diseases.

      [edit] Health and care
      Mechanical injury can result in the nail being dropped.

      Nails can dry out, just like skin. They can also peel, break and be infected. Toe infections, for instance, can be caused or exacerbated by dirty socks, specific types of aggressive exercise, tight footwear, and walking unprotected in an unclean environment.[citation needed]

      Manicures and pedicures are health and cosmetic procedures to groom, trim, and paint the nails and manage calluses. They require various tools such as cuticle scissors, nail scissors, nail clippers, and nail files. Artificial nails can also be appended onto real nails for cosmetic purposes.

      Nail tools used by different people may transmit infections. Regarding nail tools such as files, “If they’re used on different people, these tools may spread nail fungi, staph bacteria or viruses,” warns Rick Lopes, a spokesperson for the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.[1] In fact, over 100 bacterial skin infections in 2000 were traced to footbaths in nail salons. To avoid this, new improved contactless tools can be used, for example, gel and cream cuticle removers instead of cuticle scissors.

      Inherited accessory nail of the fifth toe occurs where the toenail of the smallest toe is separated, forming a smaller, “sixth toenail” in the outer corner of the nail.[citation needed] Like any other nail, it can be cut using a nail clipper.

      [edit] Fashion
      Main article: Manicure
      Long, manicured nails are a fashion statement.

      Someone whose occupation is to cut any type of nail, apply artificial nails and care for nails is sometimes called a nail technician. The place where a nail technician works may be called a nail salon or nail shop (also “nailshop”).

      Painting the nails with nail polish (also known as nail lacquer) is a common practice dating back to at least 3000 BCE.

      Ornamented fake nails are sometimes used to display designs, such as stars or sparkles, on nails. They are also used to make nails look longer.

      [edit] Medical test

      Healthcare and pre-hospital-care providers (EMTs or paramedics) often use the fingernail beds as a cursory indicator of distal tissue perfusion of individuals that may be dehydrated or in shock.[5] However, this test is not considered reliable in adults.[6] This is known as the CRT or blanch test.

      Procedure: briefly depress the fingernail bed gently with a finger. This will briefly turn the nailbed white; the normal pink colour should be restored within a second or two. Delayed return to pink colour can be an indicator of certain shock states such as hypovolemia [7][8]

      Salams

      :) I know. I’m hilarious.

    8. AnonyMuslim May 18th, 2009 at 10:01 pm

      Free my 17 brothers, but let us live in America? Interesting.

      Rest assured he did not send a similar letter to the Taliban.

    9. miloservic June 13th, 2009 at 9:31 am

      the 17 Uighurs finally be resettled saftely, 4 in Bermuda, 13 in Palau!

      Thanks

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