This is Sharqawi Al Hajj, a 47 year-old man from Yemen. He has been detained in Guantánamo for 17 years without charge. Guantánamo opened 19 years ago today.
Not pictured are his five siblings in Yemen, who see him a few times a year on video calls looking gaunt. His siblings’ children, who see their uncle looking gaunt and stricken.
Not pictured is his mother, who died a few months ago, who last saw him in his 20s. His father, who died before her.
Not pictured are the detainees in his camp, who have walked around each other for 19 years without seeing another soul but their guards and lawyers.
Not pictured are the medical staff who try to care for Sharqawi, who’ve had to forcibly feed him when he’s gone on hunger strike, who may have felt sick doing it.
Not pictured are the guards who walk by his cell daily, young men and women posted there, who were kids when Guantánamo opened and are now responsible for maintaining order there.
Not pictured are the prison staff who were around when Sharqawi cut himself, when the pressure built up, who felt shaken, or loathing, or indifferent and numb, and took it back home.
Not pictured are Sharqawi’s advocates, who’ve sat with him in meeting rooms and absorbed his trauma and took it back home.
Not pictured are the families of all of these people.
Circles and cycles of harm around one person in prison. Multiply.
Time to stop.