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Book Awards by Year
Book Awards by Years Awarded
Juan Gonzalez on America's role in Latin America
Adam Hochschild on how World War I began
Manning Marable, 1950 - 2011, dies days before publication of his biography of Malcolm X
Edward Herman and David Peterson on Julian Assange and Luis Posada Carriles
Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune
American scholar Chalmers Johnson, 1931 - 2010
Susan Reverby has won the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award for Examining Tuskegee
Fractal Mathmematician Benoit B. Mandelbrot, 1924 – 2010
Mohammed Arkoun, Islamic scholar who explored Enlightenment ideals, 1928-2010
Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa wins Nobel Prize
Tariq Ali on "The Obama Syndrome"
Historian and public intellectual Tony Judt, 1948 - 2010
Former U.S. Senator James Abourezk on Leaders in Hiding
David Kirby on something else we feed chickens
Andrew J. Bacevich on How to Dismantle the American Empire
Stacy Malkan on Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry
Joy Gordon on the Invisble War, the United States and Iraq Sanctions
Tom Engelhardt on the American Way of War
Writer, critic and activist Carlos Monsiváis, 1938 - 2010
He is totally unreproducible — he was sui generis — Martin Gardner, 1914 - 2010
Joe Meadors: I seem to have all the bad luck in the world when it comes to the Israelis.
Historian Bruce Cumings on the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula
How the hell did it happen? - Daniel Okrent on how Prohibition democratized drinking and made the income tax possible
"We have more than an oil slick out of control, we also have these big corporations out of control." - Marine toxicologist Rikki Ott on the BP and Exxon Valdez oil spills.
"This is too important. We cannot leave this to governments": Cormac Cullinan on the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights
Anarchist, poet, publisher and chess-player, John Rety, 1930 - 2010
"Literature was another victim of the war": Miguel Delibes, 1920 - 2010
The beautiful brain of Sherman Alexie: War Dances wins 2010 Pen/Faulkner Award
It's terrible to be possessed by brittle things: Elena Fanailova's The Russian Version wins the Best Translated Book Award for Poetry
Translator, critic and BBC script editor, Barbara Bray, 1924 - 2010
Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award to D. A. Powell
The banks have had nine months to creatively increase the real cost of borrowing: Robert Manning on Credit Card Nation
Robert McChesney and John Nichols the history and necessity of government subsides for US journalism
Of course, I’d forgotten she’d died: An extract from A Scattering by Christopher Reid, the 2009 Costa Book of the Year
Tributes to People's Historian Howard Zinn, 1922 - 2010
Johann Hari on P. W. Singer's Wired For War
Jamin Raskin on the Supreme Court campaign finance ruling which removes limits on corporate campaign spending
"Haitians have been punished ever since for claiming their freedom", Tracy Kidder and Peter Hallward on Haiti
At 42, she was one of the best poets of her generation, Rachel Wetzsteon, 1967 - 2009
You have to decide which side you are on: there is always a side. Commitment does not exist in an abstraction; it exists in action: Dennis Brutus, 1924 - 2009
The wedding guests look upon the cracked, pink lips of Rosie's bridegroom - an extract from Petina Gappah's An Elegy for Easterly, the 2009 Guardian First Book Award winning book
David Cortright on Obama's shallow understanding of the priciples of Just War Theory
Obama's rejection of Landmine Treaty lacks vision, compassion, and basic common sense
Those who saw him hushed: Let the Great World Spin, the National Book Award winner by Colum McCann
Robert Jensen: Of Turkeys and Holocausts
Claude Lévi-Strauss, 1908 - 2009, his works as a practical anti-racist manifesto
Power exercised by man over his fellow man is always a usurpation, Francisco Ayala, 1906 - 2009
If you think you'll to be rich someday, why resent million-dollar bonuses: Barbara Ehrenreich on Positive Thinking
Four Canadians tortured in the name of fighting Terror, Kerry Pither wins Ottawa Book Award for Dark Days
The Potato that Became a Tomato, Playgiarist Raymond Federman, 1928 - 2009
Four Canadians tortured in the name of fighting Terror,
Ottawa Book Award
Dark Days tells the story of a Canadian national security investigation gone wrong through the eyes of four of its targets: Ahmad El Maati, Abdullah Almalki, Maher Arar and Muayyed Nureddin. The book chronicles how all four men were accused of terrorist links, detained overseas and subjected to brutal torture while being interrogated with questions from Canadian agencies. No evidence was ever produced to back the allegations against them and all were eventually released and returned to Canada.
"Most Canadians know about Maher Arar, but few know the extent to which there was a pattern behind his case -- that what happened to him happened to at least three other Canadians too," said Pither.
"All of these men are still working for justice, to clear their names and move on with their lives. For Arar, it's waiting for the Obama administration to accept responsibilty for its role and clear his name, and for El Maati, Almalki and Nureddin it's about waiting for an apology from the Canadian government for its role in their ordeals," said Pither. "And for all of us, it's about ensuring the changes are made to stop this from happening again." - from the Dark Days Book Launch
The lock slid open and the door swung into the cell. Ahmad had to jump out of the way. The guard ordered him out and led him back upstairs into a room, where he tied a piece of rubber over his eyes.
Then the interrogation started. Someone said they’d received information about him and read out the names and addresses of his family in Toronto, the make and colour of his car, and its licence plate number. They knew his address, the man said, and read it out to him. He had the wrong apartment number, so Ahmad corrected him.
Then the beating started. Ahmad was punched in the face and kicked at. The men in the room screamed insults at him, his family, and his faith.
One of the interrogators leaned in and told Ahmad that they were going to bring Rola, the woman he’d been going to Damascus to marry, in and rape her, there, in front of him.
Ahmad was terrified — did they have Rola? He knew this kind of thing happened in Syria. He pleaded with them, saying that he had told them the truth.
“No,” the man yelled. “We need to hear something new!”
“I can’t invent something,” said Ahmad.
“No,” the man replied. “You can invent something.
Then things got worse. Ahmad was ordered to strip down to his shorts and lie on his stomach on the floor. In pain from the beating, he moved slowly. The men yelled at him to move faster as he struggled out of his shirt and pants. When Ahmad was lying down, the men grabbed his hands and handcuffed them behind his back, then lifted his feet up and tied his wrists to his ankles with a rope. He was like a sheep ready for slaughter, Ahmad says.
Ice water was poured all over his body, then he was whipped on his feet, legs, knees, and back with a thick metal cable. The pain was sharp and fierce, but the first strokes were the worst. After a few lashings, Ahmad’s feet and legs went numb, but that was what the dousing with ice water was for – to bring the feeling back. He could see the interrogators’ shoes from under the blindfold. The ones without the cable kicked him in the face and his back and legs.
Ahmad begged the men to stop, asking why they were doing this to him. They just laughed. “They were asking me to repeat my story, and I kept repeating what happened, and they said, ‘That’s not what we want to hear.’ They kept threatening me and mocking me and said they were going to inflict permanent injury – they said I wouldn’t be able to have kids later on.”
Ahmad lost track of how often he was taken down to his cell and back up for more torture but remembers that eventually he couldn’t walk and had to be dragged up and down the stairs. In his cell, without the blindfold, he saw his legs were covered in blood. His feet were too swollen to fit into his shoes.
“After I just couldn’t take it any more, I told them, ‘I’m willing to say whatever you want me to say,’” Ahmad recalls.
The men asked him about people he knew in Canada – including Abdullah Almalki and Maher Arar.
- excerpted from
Dark Days: The Story of Four Canadians Tortured in the Name of Fighting Terror
(read a longer excerpt at
Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Rendition and Torture Program
Truth, Torture, and the American Way: The History and Consequences of U.S. Involvement in Torture
Jennifer K. Harbury
A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror
Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror