If there’s one thing that the fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims agree on these days it's that we are engaged in a religious war. On the assumption that it’s a wise practice to “know your enemy,” I offer here a spare and uncomfortably familiar imagining of a Guantanamo detainee's encounter with Christian love. The deep cynicism, evidenced as much by the Appalachian styling as by the lyric, is my own, a luxury the prisoner probably cannot afford.

Download the mp3 as performed by
the Harley String Band


The stars for my blanket

I lie here on the ground

The sun’s the only thing

Allowed to move around

I don’t cause no trouble

Don’t even make a sound

Could be years to go, Guantanamo

A few more years to go, Guantanamo


I fought for my country

I fought the infidel

I heard Allah calling

Like the ringing of a bell

But now I found Jesus

Right here in Christian Hell

He loves me this I know, Guantanamo

Jesus loves me this I know, Guantanamo


The blue Caribbean

It soothes me in my rage

Its tropical breezes

Find me in my cage

An endless vacation

To pay the sinner’s wage

Everybody sing Swing Low, Guantanamo

A few more years to go, Guantanamo

Everybody sing Swing Low


Stephen R Coffee ©2004

I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food, or water. Most times they had urinated or defacated (sic) on themselves and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more. -- FBI agent

George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the United States…he was appointed by God....

Our enemy is a spiritual enemy because we are a nation of believers. His name is Satan.
--General William G. Boykin, U.S, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence

If you're not violating someone's human rights, you're not doing your job. -- an unnamed U.S. official.


More background from Amnesty International