Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Celebrating What We Have in Common

Turns out the prisoners at Guantanamo like Harry Potter as much as I do. Although they seem to like Agatha Christie a whole more. Well I liked her, too, when I was 10 and 11.
Harry Potter has bewitched detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, where tales of the young wizard and mysteries by Agatha Christie top the list of most popular books, a prison librarian said on Tuesday...

[T]he popularity of the best-selling Harry Potter books, which recount the adventures of a boy wizard as he triumphs over the powers of evil, was matched only by the prisoners' passion for Agatha Christie, some of whose murder mysteries are set in the Middle East.

We have Harry Potter in four languages, English, French, Farsi and Russian. We have it on order in Arabic. We do not have books 5 and 6 in the series, at this time. We have had several detainees read the series," [a civilian contractor who works at the prison] said in a written response to questions from Reuters.

"One prisoner has requested the movies," she said.
It's not really surprising, though. They're all enamoured of a little boy wizard fighting evil. Evidently, that's how they project themselves in their own minds. Boys, turning into men, fighting Western evil and decadence against the odds, ready to die in the cause. That's the Utopian aspect of the extremist Wahhabist vision shining through.

In comparison, my reasons for liking Harry Potter turn out to be a little less literal.

So why is it that they like Agatha Christie? Just boredom?

It's an interesting factoid though that the Army won't provide these prisoners with Koran's containing commentaries lest the Army end up in a situation where they have to provide Wahhabist commentary. So, the men get just the plain unvarnished text. It's a lot less lethal in that form, evidently.

[Hat Tip: LGF]

UPDATE: Soccer Dad points out that Guantanamo even has its own version of dementors in the form of very depressing UN human rights investigators that lurk about the place.


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