A failure of literary intelligence - Al Jazeera America | Universaliss | Scoop.it
A failure of literary intelligence
Al Jazeera America


Memoirs are — memory is — rarely 100 percent accurate. Any autobiography is a construct, ballpark, even unnatural. Private diaries, too, can be unreliable — a detail that matters only if the diary is read.


The diaries of the infamous Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah have been keenly read by U.S. intelligence officials. The U.S. government built its legal and political case for torture and other distinguishing features of the “war on terror” on what they claimed was in Zubaydah’s purloined daybook. They never let anyone outside narrow circles of the government read the diaries, however. Questions of first-person reliability and narrative voice usually preoccupy just scholars and writers, but in this case they have assumed historical significance. Yet there has been no discussion. Let’s start one.

Via Mary Daniels Brown