What prisoners at Gitmo are reading

New York Times reporter Charlie Savage recently traveled to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba to cover the violent raid at the prison earlier this week. But Savage did more on his visit than just interview prison officials: On April 17, he posted his first photo of the Gitmo library to his new Tumblr blog. The simple and ...

610723_130418_harrypotter2.jpg
610723_130418_harrypotter2.jpg

New York Times reporter Charlie Savage recently traveled to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba to cover the violent raid at the prison earlier this week. But Savage did more on his visit than just interview prison officials: On April 17, he posted his first photo of the Gitmo library to his new Tumblr blog.

The simple and fascinating blog, "Guantanamo prison library books for detainees," gives us a look at some of what's available (Savage admittedly focused on English-language sections) for the detainees to read during their leisure time. The photos display a range of options, from texts in Arabic and French to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Lois Lowry's dystopian children's novel The Giver.

New York Times reporter Charlie Savage recently traveled to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba to cover the violent raid at the prison earlier this week. But Savage did more on his visit than just interview prison officials: On April 17, he posted his first photo of the Gitmo library to his new Tumblr blog.

The simple and fascinating blog, “Guantanamo prison library books for detainees,” gives us a look at some of what’s available (Savage admittedly focused on English-language sections) for the detainees to read during their leisure time. The photos display a range of options, from texts in Arabic and French to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Lois Lowry’s dystopian children’s novel The Giver.

Here are a few of the most striking photos Savage took.

Think this is a prisoner favorite?

Star Trek, Robinson Crusoe, and (lots of) David Copperfield:

And Larsson, next to le Carré, next to Lee:

Or how about this one, contributed by Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald:

Other notable works in the collection include seven copies of Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, nine copies of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, an Alice in Wonderland, the Harry Potter collection, and several Pashto-English dictionaries.

Strangely, six hours ago, Savage noted on Twitter that his Tumblr blog had been blocked by Gitmo web censors, meaning that nobody on the premises could see the photos he took. The reason given, according to Savage, was “Forbidden Category “Adult/Mature Content.” This seems bizarre: If the prisoners want to delve into the more “mature” parts of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, they don’t need Savage’s blog — they can just walk down the hall.

All photos by/courtesy of Charlie Savage: http://gitmobooks.tumblr.com and @Charlie_Savage

Elizabeth Ralph is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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