Home Morningside Events - Morningside Area Alliance Talks Still A Beast At Bay: Thirty Years of Resisting the United States’ Suspension of Universal Human Rights at Guantanamo Bay


Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway at 121st Street, New York, NY 10027


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Apr 24 2024


6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)


Still A Beast At Bay: Thirty Years of Resisting the United States’ Suspension of Universal Human Rights at Guantanamo Bay

Can perpetrators of human rights violations be advocates and agents for human rights?

Since 2002, in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, the United States has maintained Guantanamo Bay as a site of torture and brutality – holding detainees indefinitely and without trials. Prisoners held at Guantanamo have languished within its prison cells for years without due process, while civil rights organizations worldwide have condemned the United States Government for the civil rights violations and inhumane treatment of Guantanamo’s detainees.

Join us for a discussion called “Still a Beast at Bay: Thirty Years of Resisting the United States’ Suspension of Universal Human Rights at Guantanamo Bay.” Hosted by Dr. Samuel Cruz and featuring keynote speaker Don E. Walicek.

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image 3Don E. Walicek is Assistant Professor of English in the College of General Studies. He holds a PhD in English linguistics from the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras. He earned both his BA (Anthropology) and his MA (Latin American Studies, with concentrations in Anthropology and History) from the University of Texas at Austin. His main fields of academic interest are sociolinguistics, sociohistorical linguistics, Creole studies, and language and gender.Dr. Walicek serves as the Editor of the Caribbean Studies journal Sargasso, which is published by the Department of English in the College of Humanities. He has edited the following volumes of the journal: Celebrating Caribbean Voices: 25 Interviews (2011), Explorations of Language, Gender, and Sexuality (with Dr. Susanne Mühleisen, 2010),Alternative Identities: Resistance and Belonging (2008), Caribbean Theatre and Cultural Performance (with Dr. Lowell Fiet and Sally Everson, 2005), and Creolistics and Caribbean Languages (2005).Dr. Walicek’s other publications include articles focusing on the social life of language in Caribbean contexts. Several deal with issues of language and sociohistory as they relate to Anguilla, the most northerly of the Leeward Islands; these include “Trajectories of Cultural Feedback: Alan Lomax in 1962 Anguilla” (University of Curaçao, 2011), “Christianity, Literacy, and Creolization in Nineteenth-Century Anguilla” (University of Curaçao, 2011), “The Founder Principle and Anguilla’s Homestead Society” (John Benjamins 2009), and “Focusing in Context: Slavery and Vernacular Norms in Eighteenth-Century Anguilla” (La Torre, 2009). He is also the author of the chapters “Chinese Spanish in Nineteenth-Century Cuba: Documenting Sociohistorical Context” (John Benjamins, 2007), and “Farther South: Speaking American, the Language of Migration in Samaná” (U of Virginia, 2007).Currently he is writing a book about language and social life in Anguilla. He is also working with Dr. Manfred Krug (Bamberg University, Germany) on a language documentation project that focuses on the use of English in Puerto Rico.


SlahiMohamedou O. Slahi (Houbeini) is a writer, human rights advocate, and former Guantánamo Bay prisoner. Originally from Mauritania and trained as an engineer, he was detained at the U.S. government’s Guantánamo Bay naval base without charge for fourteen years. Slahi wrote a memoir during his incarceration. An international bestseller and the first memoir to be published during the author’s detention at Guantánamo Bay, it was published with hundreds of redactions in January 2015 as Guantánamo Diary. A restored edition was published in 2017, following his release. The memoir was used as the basis for “The Mauritanian,” a 2021 film. His friendship with Steve Wood, his former guard, is chronicled in the documentary “My Brother’s Keeper.” In 2021, his novel The Actual True Story of Ahmed & Zarga was published by Ohio University Press in its Modern African Writers series. He is currently writer-in-residence at Noord Nederlands Toneel, a Dutch theatre company.


Rev Dr Juan A CarmonaReverend Dr. Juan A. Carmona, D.Min. is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America. He was born and raised in New York City by his Puerto Rican family. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Comparative Religions from the State University of New York, a Masters of Divinity from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Liberation Theology from the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He is a retired prison chaplain with the New York State Department Correctional Services and has taught at various institutions of higher education, including having served as a Visiting Scholar at the Tainan Theological College & Seminary in Taiwan. Dr. Carmona is the author of two books: “The Puerto Rican Diaspora: A Model Theology,” and “The Sovereignty of Taiwan: A Theological Perspective.” He is married to Ruth Ayala-Carmona and has three children, Dr. Geoffrey Antonio Carmona-Baez, Jennica Carmona-Arandia, and Jessica Carmona-Baez.


Cruz Headshot 3Rev. Samuel Cruz, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Religion and Society at Union Theological Seminary. He completed his Ph.D. at Drew University (Madison, NJ) in 2002 under the directorship of internationally renowned Philosopher and Sociologist of Religion, Dr. Otto Maduro. Dr. Cruz also received his M.Phil. degree from Drew University in 1999 and M.A. degree, Magna Cum Laude, from New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Cruz is a 1987 graduate of the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, N.Y.. Prior to Union, Cruz was a lecturer in the Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies Department at Rutgers University. He has also been a professor at Drew University and New Brunswick Theological Seminary.