Towfiq Bihani has been held at Guantánamo Bay since early 2003. He has never been charged with a crime. Towfiq has been ‘prepared for release’ three times – coming agonizingly close to leaving the prison , and seeing his beloved family again.
Towfiq is a keen poet, and has written poetry in English and Arabic during his time in Guantanamo. Below are a selection of Towfiq’s poems, which he has shared with his Reprieve lawyer Shelby Sullivan-Bennis:
Go everywhere you would like my darling.
Don’t look behind.
Don’t fear the sight.
Live in happiness.
Sing as loud as you can,
Dance as much as you would like.
Enjoy all the fun you can.
My darling, forget your past.
And go ahead to start,
A new way, another way
Don’t look back on yesterday
Don’t feel sorry about me,
Or even worry about me
Don’t think who you left behind
Go everywhere you would like
Don’t look behind
The morning’s sun has risen. And I saw all the drops of dew on the leaves of the trees.
When I looked at the rays of the golden sun, it reminded me your yellow hair.
When I watched the beauty of the pure blue sky, I remembered your blue eyes.
When I gazed at the dew on the leaves, I remembered your tears that were running down your smooth face
When I heard the chirping of birds, I remembered your sweet voice, when you sang the song “remember me this way”
My darling, please don’t forget the promise that you made, you have nothing to worry about, we will be together again.
My darling, when will you return to me?
I want you to take me in your arms.
I want you to know that there is nothing left of me except the pain in my heart.
My darling, I am begging you to come to be before the hands of death abduct me.
I hope that I can see you one last time in my life, then I will say to death, I am ready to sleep in your lap forever.
I don’t understand or even know, are you born from beauty, do you take light from the moon, or does the moon take it from your face, are you painting your cheeks from your face, or are they painting themselves from your cheeks, is your scent coming from your perfume, or the perfume comes from your breath, God created you, in a more beautiful picture therefore I don’t need a deep adventure, God completed you with a kind heart, which has more compassion that never end, ask anybody who knows her, she always offers us help.
What is wrong, what is going on, why are the beams of the sun dancing? Why are the flowers and roses wearing perfume? Why do all the jasmines coming to bloom, the butterflies come out as a fleet fluttering their wings as they compete, flocks from birds higher they are flying, happy birthday they are singing, what is the date today. Today is her day. Yes, my friend’s birthday now I just remember today is the first of December, then to her I say, happy birthday.
An amputated hand never needs a glove; a broken heart never needs a new love.
I don’t know how can I prove
That how I am falling in your love
You became in my sky lightning flash
I made you on my eye its lash
Your love in every parts in me grown
You are a queen, my heart is your throne
Let me sailing in your heart wondering
How I came in your eyes wandering
By your morals I become your captive
Your compassion and affection most active
You drew my hope in a beautiful picture
All good things for me you capture
You recreate my smile from its grave
All meaning of happiness for me wave
In a short time you become my owner
Completely you owned me, and give me my honor