Jennifer (JC-S)'s Reviews > Guantanamo: My Journey

Guantanamo by David  Hicks
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Dec 25, 2010

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Read from December 25 to 27, 2010

‘I was impressionable, naïve and, on occasion, full of bravado and exaggeration.’

In 1999, David Hicks set off from Australia on an overseas trip. This trip ended in a five year incarceration in Guantanamo Bay as a terrorist – a long way away from his initial dream of travelling the Silk Road.

So, how did a restless young man become caught up in these events, and what does his treatment say about the world in which we live? What insights does his story provide? Why read this book at all? What can David Hicks tell us that is not already known by those of us who have followed his story in the various forms of the media since 2002? And what is the truth?

The picture David Hicks paints in his memoir is of a naïve, idealistic and impulsive young man who happened to be in the wrong place with the wrong people at the wrong time. But the public David Hicks is no longer an individual: he is an issue, as is Guantanamo Bay, the treatment of detainees, and the role of the various governments concerned. Who determines what is reasonable in the circumstances? If apprehending David Hicks in Afghanistan was initially appropriate, when (and how) should that action have been investigated?

Why read this book? It is not a neutral account - no memoir ever is. It answers some questions, but not others. Those concerned about the abuses of state power at Guantanamo Bay will find plenty of material here. Those concerned about Australia’s inability to have David Hicks’s case dealt with quickly in accordance with the law may wonder why some other countries acted far more quickly to have their nationals repatriated.

I read this book because I wanted to read David Hick’s own account of events, and to learn something about the man behind the name. I was saddened by some aspects, puzzled by others and at times infuriated.

Whether or not you completely believe David Hicks’s account, it is hard not to be moved by it.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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