A Handful of Walnuts

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Every now and then, I read something that I immediately want to share with everyone I know.    I had such an experience recently while reading the current issue of Granta. The issue in print and online has some fantastic writing. (Shout outs to Hunter College MFA Alum Phil Klay and Samantha Smith).  I also really appreciated Nuruddin Farah’s “Crossbones” and Tahar Ben Jelloun’s “A Tale of Two Martyrs,” as well as work featured by Alia Malek and V.V. Ganeshananthan online.  Do check it out.

It was Ahmed Errachidi’s “A Handful of Walnuts.” that triggered something deep. I shared it with lawyer friends, animal loving friends, a friend in prison, writing friends and family members. This is an excerpt from his forthcoming memoir, which I am eager to read.  Errachidi writes of his experience in Guantanamo Bay.  His lawyer Clive Stafford Smith provides an introduction to the piece describing the circumstances that led to his unjust detention.

But it is Errachidi’s descriptions of incarcerated life that brought me to tears.  It was not only the injustice of the situation that is revealed on the page, but a beautiful mind and tender heart that responds to this unfortunate set of events.  I hope you read his words for yourself– how he entertained his fellow prisoners with descriptions of imaginary feasts, his relationship with a visiting colony of ants, and how his mind worked to keep himself alive. “Thoughts were not restricted, even though hands and feet were shackled.”

Thank you Ahmed Errachidi.

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