n.— «They’re not prisoners, they’re “detainees.” It sounds better, as if they’re merely inconvenienced rather than shoehorned into cinderblock cells, thumbing their military-issued Korans and waiting to be interrogated. One-third are innocents caught up in sweeps; one-third are jihadists who will slit your throat, and one-third are opportunists who will rat out their neighbors. You will hold them for 14 days, no more, while the interrogators try to figure out who is what. Each gets a CF, for Camp Fallouja, and a four-digit number. No names will be used, mainly because numbers fit more easily onto spreadsheets. They will be forever known as entas.Enta” means “you” in Arabic, and that’s what you call them day after day, meal after meal, port-a-potty call after port-a-potty call. “Enta, ishra mai,” you say, and the enta drinks his water, and if you say, “Enta, ishra mai kulak,” he drinks all of his water, every drop, and holds the bottle upside down to prove it.…The enta who screams “meesta!” every 10 seconds for 48 hours straight isn’t doing it to infuriate you, his captor.…The only illumination in the back of the truck will come from the red-lens flashlight you pan across the entas to make sure none of them have wormed loose from their flex cuffs and hatched a plot to kill you.» —“The warden of Fallouja” by Mike Carlson Los Angeles Times Mar. 4, 2007. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

Tagged with →  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.