The best stories from around the world.
- By Rachel Wilkinson<p> Rachel Wilkinson is a contributor at Longform. </p>
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The Guantánamo Memoirs of Mohamedou Ould Slahi
Mohamedou Ould Slahi • Slate
Excerpts from the once-classified journals of a current prisoner.
When I failed to give him the answer he wanted to hear, he made me stand up, with my back bent because my hands were shackled with my feet and waist and locked to the floor. [ ? ? ? ? ?] turned the temp control all the way down, and made sure that the guards maintained me in that situation until he decided otherwise. He used to start a fuss before going to his lunch, so he kept me hurt during his lunch, which took at least two to three hours. [ ? ? ? ? ?] likes his food; he never missed his lunch. I was wondering, how could [ ? ? ? ? ?] have possibly passed the fitness test of the Army? But I realized he is in the Army for a reason.
The fact that I wasn’t allowed to see the light made me “enjoy” the short trip between my freakin’ cold cell and the interrogation room. It’s just a blessing when the warm GTMO sun hit me. I felt the life sneaking back into every inch of my body. I always had this fake happiness, though for a very short time. It’s like taking narcotics.
John Moore/Getty Images
Surviving Hell in a Bangladesh Factory Collapse
Gillian Wong, Chris Blake and Tim Sullivan • Associated Press
21-year-old factory worker Merina was trapped under the rubble for three days.
Merina was sitting at her knitting machine on the fourth floor, in the Phantom TAC factory, when the world seemed to explode.
She jumped to her feet and tried to run for the door, but pieces of the ceiling slammed down on her. She crawled in search of a place to hide, and found one: a section of the upstairs floor had crashed onto two toppled pillars, creating a small protected area. About 10 other men and women had the same idea, including Sabina, a close friend. The two women clutched hands and wept, thinking their lives would end in a concrete tomb. “We’re going to die, we’re going to die,” they said to each other.
MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Mark Perry • Foreign Policy
The death of Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh, “the world’s most wanted terrorist not named Osama bin Laden,” remains a mystery five years later.
On the night of Feb. 12, 2008, an overweight middle-aged man with a light beard walked from his apartment in the Kfar Sousa district of Damascus to his silver Mitsubishi Pajero, parked in front of his building. It was already 10:15, and he was late for a meeting with Iran’s new ambassador to Syria, who had arrived in the country the night before.
There was good reason for the man’s tardiness: He had just come from a meeting with Ramadan Shallah, the leader of the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and before that had spent several hours talking with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The man was Imad Mughniyeh, the world’s most wanted terrorist not named Osama bin Laden. His true identity as the violent mastermind of Hezbollah would have come as a shock to his Damascus neighbors, who thought he was a chauffeur in the employ of the Iranian embassy. A number of them had even called on him, on several occasions, to help tote their bags to waiting taxis. He had happily complied.
Illustration by Piotr Lesniak for FP
Bring Up the Bodies
Nicholas Schmidle • The New Yorker
Kosovo’s leaders have been accused of grotesque war crimes. But can anyone prove it?
The task of accounting for the missing was left largely to outsiders. One of them was Michael Montgomery, an American radio journalist who had helped expose the massacre of forty-one Kosovar Albanians by Serbian forces in the village of Qyshk, on May 14, 1999. He began amassing troubling stories involving the K.L.A. Multiple sources told him that, in the days after Milosevic’s defeat, the K.L.A. had shipped accused traitors to camps in Albania. A former K.L.A. member recalled guarding seven prisoners in the back of a van, their mouths taped and their hands cuffed, as they crossed the border. A K.L.A. driver said that he had been given orders not to hurt anyone; once his captives were in Albania, they were taken to a house where doctors were present. The driver heard that the doctors sampled the prisoners’ blood and assessed their health. Several sources implied that this caretaking had a sinister purpose: the K.L.A. was harvesting the prisoners’ organs and selling them on the black market.
Kael Alford/Getty Images
Edir Macedo, Brazil’s Billionaire Bishop
Alex Cuadros • Businessweek
How Edir “The Bishop” Macedo, founder of a Pentecostal church, bought a $1.1 billion media conglomerate.
“Which is the largest country in the world, economically speaking? It’s America, the United States. Do you know why? Because way back-this is history, you can look it up on the Internet-the colonization was done by men who believed in the word of God. And they were tithers. That’s why you see on the dollar bill: ‘In God we trust.”