Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Cold Hearted

"Shut your mouth and put something in it!" The Deputy yells.

"I'll give a soup to someone who kills him," a detainee offers.

"Shut up, Bin Laden!" Another detainee screams.

"Shut your Arab ass up!" Another detainee cries out.

I walk by Muhammad's cell during my morning walk in the day room. He grabs my hand through the tray slot of his cell. With tears in his eyes, he asks, "Why are they so cold hearted?" His grip is strong as I hold onto his hand. I look him in the eye and tell him, "Those people are ignorant. They don't understand who you are. You're a miracle. Please take care of your heart. It's okay to talk to your people. Allah will take care of you.," Muhammad smiles with tears rolling down his cheek and pats me on the heart with his other hand. "You're a good man. Thank you."

Muhammad is a Muslim detainee from Yemen. He lives in a signle cell because he has mental problems. He talks to himself and has conversations with the wall. At times, it's like there are 30 people in his cell when he speaks nonstop Arabic. He talks loud all the way into morning hours. It interrupts people's sleep. He can't help it. It's a mental condition. When he's calm, he understands everything and speaks English well.

Some detainees automatically mimic him, curse him, and condemn him. They're supposed to be the ones without mental conditions.

Who's crazy? How many more Muhammads are in ICE custody?


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