December 6, 2007
Anna Christopher, NPR
FORMER GUANTANAMO BAY INTERROGATOR SHARES HER BELIEF IN THE POWER OF REDEMPTION IN PERSONAL ESSAY FOR THIS I BELIEVE ON NPR’S WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9
December 6, 2007; Washington, D.C. – A former interrogator at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba describes her belief in the power of redemption in a personal essay for NPR’s This I Believe series, airing on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday on December 9. For stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org/stations
The interrogator, who has requested anonymity, writes of coming to Guantanamo after spending 18 months in Iraq, first as a soldier, and later as a civilian contractor: “After the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, I left [Iraq] because I felt I could not make any difference anymore. Those events simply undermined all of our work. I felt defeated and frightened and tired, and I hoped I could redeem myself by making a difference in Guantanamo.”
While at Guantanamo, she describes one particular exchange with a detainee during which she learned to accept him and, consequently, herself.
“I don’t know what kind of a difference I made to the mission in Guantanamo,” she writes in her essay. “But I found redemption in caring for my clients and I believe it saved my life, or least my sanity. People say ‘hate the sin, not the sinner.’ This is easier said than done, but I learned that there is true freedom in accepting others unconditionally. I believe we help to redeem each other through the power of acceptance. It is powerful to those who receive it and more powerful to those who give it.”
Inspired by Edward R. Murrow’s 1950s radio program of the same name, This I Believe made its premiere in April 2005 and features people from all walks of life expressing their core beliefs and values in short, personal essays. Segments air on NPR on All Things Considered and Weekend Edition Sunday, and are also available at www.NPR.org/thisibelieve
More than 35,000 NPR listeners from 80 countries have also submitted essays to This I Believe. Essays chosen for broadcast have ranged from revelations about parents, personal struggles, race and identity to the importance of feeding monkeys. This I Believe essay writing has been incorporated into the activities of schools, community groups, places of worship as well as birthday celebrations. Essays have also been read or played at weddings and funerals. The series is a collaboration between NPR and This I Believe, Inc., produced by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, with John Gregory and Viki Merrick.
To date, This I Believe essays have consistently ranked among the top e-mailed stories on NPR.org. To listen or to read past essays, please visit www.NPR.org/thisibelieve