“I liked working night shifts, because whenever they were awake, I wanted to apologize to them. When they were sleeping, I didn’t have to worry about that. I could just walk up and down the blocks all night long.
There was usually one detainee who would lead the call to prayer at five in the morning. That person was in the very last cell. The detainees, they sang beautifully. It was so eerie to hear, because it was such a beautiful song, and to hear forty-eight detainees just get up in the morning and, in unison, sing this gorgeous song that I could never understand . . .”
This is from the article “What It Feels Like…to Be a Prisoner Guard at Guantanamo Bay,” published by Esquire magazine. The story, told by former guard Christopher Arendt, tells what it was like to actually guard the Guantanamo inmates.
“What It Feels Like…” is an article series archived at Esquire. Each essay gives an inside take on the most unusual experiences: what it feels like to be in a plane crash, to have multiple personalities, to be a drug mule, to live at the South Pole, to row across the Atlantic, to chop a man’s head off, to stay awake for eleven days, to have Jesus enter your heart.
Esquire’s fiction heyday is long gone, but these stories are worth the time.