(October 29, 2012) Last week, I was lucky enough to be in the audience for a truly remarkable event: a conversation between two men whose lives have been indelibly altered by American's brutal prison regime, Robert King and Omar Deghayes.
At first glance, it might seem as if these two men have nothing in common. King grew up in New Orleans in an era of violent racial repression and is a Black Panther to this day; he was convicted by an all-white jury in 1973 for a murder he did not commit, and spent 32 years in Louisiana state prison.
In his earliest childhood, Deghayes lived in Libya, but after his father was murdered by Gaddafi, he and his family fled to the UK. Deghayes was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, where he had been living with his Afghan wife and child, and spent over six years detained at Guantanamo without charge or trial.
Angola, Louisiana and Guantanamo Bay are actually quite near to each other. But for anyone present at the event, it was clear that what Omar and Robert had in common was more than geographic proximity during their confinement.