I am indebted to Petina Gappah of the One World team for a chilling post. Petina is a Zimbabwean lawyer, she lives works in Geneva and has her short story collection out with Faber and Faber. She blogs HERE.
Her collection Elegy for Easterly is endorsed by two extraordinary writers – J M Coetzee and Yiyun Li. If you only buy one short story collection this year, please do make it this one.
Petina reports that Miss Universe recently visited Guantanamo Bay, and wrote up her findings on her blog. Why visit at all? You may well ask. Here is her incredibly intelligent report, copied below. I am delighted to find that the sea is lovely and the beach is all twinky with little bits of coloured glass. And that lovely lunch and all those lovely marines and a lovely boat trip. And those sweet dogs doing tricks for them. How lovely. Must put it on my travel wish-list. Art classes, books and movies. Wow. Like a culture festival then? And nice to hear that history made an appearance: “they were informed us with a little bit of history…” (sic)
Here she is, lovely creature. Shame about the political sensibilities. Although I guess she was told what not to write.
her travel report in full:
This week, Guantánamo!!! It was an incredible experience.
We arrived in Gitmo on Friday and stared going around the town, everybody knew Crystle and I were coming so the first thing we did was attend a big lunch and then we visited one of the bars they have in the base. We talked about Gitmo and what is was like living there. The next days we had a wonderful time, this truly was a memorable trip! We hung out with the guys from the East Coast and they showed us the boat inside and out, how they work and what they do, we took a ride around the land and it was a loooot of fun!
We also met the Military dogs, and they did a very nice demonstration of their skills. All the guys from the Army were amazing with us.
We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting.
We took a ride with the Marines around the land to see the division of Gitmo and Cuba while they were informed us with a little bit of history.
The water in Guantánamo Bay is soooo beautiful! It was unbelievable, we were able to enjoy it for at least an hour. We went to the glass beach, and realized the name of it comes from the little pieces of broken glass from hundred of years ago. It is pretty to see all the colors shining with the sun. That day we met a beautiful lady named Rebeca who does wonders with the glasses from the beach. She creates jewelry with it and of course I bought a necklace from her that will remind me of Guantánamo Bay :)
I didn’t want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful.
I am sure the place is great.