Books saved my sanity, knowledge opened the locked places in me and taught me first how to survive and then how to soar.

- Gloria Anzaldùa

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March 3, The Art and Testimony of Moath al-Alwi

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12pm New York  |  6pm Paris

Book launch and discussion featuring The Guantánamo Artwork and Testimony of Moath Al-Alwi: Deaf Walls Speak, edited by Alexandra Moore and Elizabeth Swanson. 

Panelists include Mansoor Adayfi, Safiyah Rochelle, Suchitra Vijayan, Alexandra Moore, and Elizabeth Swanson. Deaf Walls Speak offers a unique and groundbreaking perspective on artmaking in Guantánamo, the world’s most notorious prison, through a focus on detainee artist Moath al-Alwi’s testimony and artwork. Moath's incredible art is juxtaposed with essays that situate his work within legal, political, aesthetic, and material contexts to demonstrate that artwork at Guantánamo constitutes important forms of material witnessing to human rights abuses perpetrated and denied by the U.S. government.

Mansoor Adayfi, originally from Yemen, is a writer and former detainee in the Guantánamo Bay Prison Camp who was held for over fourteen years without charge before being transferred to Serbia. His essays have appeared in the New York Times’ Modern Love column and Op-Ed pages and the edited collection, Witnessing Torture: Perspectives of Torture Survivors and Human Rights Workers (Palgrave 2018), and the Ode to the Sea art exhibition catalogue. In 2019 he was awarded the Richard J. Margolis Award for nonfiction writing that illuminates issues of social justice. His memoir of his time at Guantánamo, Don’t Forget Us Here, was published in 2021 by Hachette Books.

Safiyah Rochelle is a researcher whose areas of interest and teaching centers on exploring the relationship between state violence, visual politics, law, and marginalized populations. She is currently working on two projects: the first examines racial governance and redress in the aftermath of state violence, and the second explores the spatial, visual, and imaginative boundaries of mourning and memorialization for victims of mass state violence.

Elizabeth Swanson holds the Joyce and Andy Mandell Endowed Professorship of Literature and Human Rights at Babson College. She is the author of Beyond Terror: Gender, Narrative, Human Rights (Rutgers UP, 2007), Dr. Swanson has co-edited six volumes and written many articles that explore human rights and literature, with a special focus on bringing the voices of survivors and human rights workers to the public. Dr. Swanson is also founding partner of Jane’s Way, a Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Consultancy that delivers academic knowledge about race, gender, and difference to organizations seeking to improve their cultures of belonging.

Alexandra Moore is Professor of English and Director of the Human Rights Institute at Binghamton University. She writes frequently on Guantanamo and made her first visit to the naval base and military commissions facilities this past fall. Her publications include Vulnerability and Security in Human Rights Literature and Visual Culture (2015) and Regenerative Fictions: Postcolonialism, Psychoanalysis, and the Nation as Family (2004). She has also co-edited several volumes on the intersection of human rights and literature.

Suchitra Vijayan is a writer, photographer and activist. She is the founder and Executive Director of The Polis Project. For her first book, Midnight's Border: A People's History of India, Suchitra traveled across the 9000-mile Indian border. A barrister by training, she previously worked for the United Nations war crimes tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda before co-founding the Resettlement Legal Aid Project in Cairo, which gives legal aid to Iraqi refugees. She is the co-author of How Long Can the Moon Be Caged? Voices of Indian Political Prisoners (2023) which offers a lens into today's India through the lived experiences of political prisoners.