The setting for episode two, “Maps, Memory and Violence” is inside Khalid Qasim’s* painting of a robust fire burning below a white box, an air conditioner, attached to a completely black wall. This high contrast painting documenting torture sets the stage for a conversation that exposes the way torture practices extend across time, space, and conflict. Specific attention is brought to Chicago police officer and Navy Reserve Lt. Richard Zuly whose torture habits establish direct connections between torture in Chicago and Guantánamo. Simultaneously, what emerges as exceptional is the creativity and resilience of survivors.
* Khalid Qasim is currently imprisoned at the extralegal military prison at Guantánamo despite being cleared for release.
Remaking the Exceptional podcast is a part of the ongoing Tea Project and produced by Amber Ginsburg, Nate Sandberg, and Aaron Hughes.
Visit the Tea Project website to view works from the accompanying exhibition, donate to the Guantánamo Survivors Reparations fund, and learn more.
Special thanks to Anthony Holmes, Moazzam Begg, Kilroy Watkins, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Ronnie Kitchen, Sabri al-Qurashi, La Tanya Jenifor-Sublett, and Mansoor Adayfi for sharing their stories.
Featured Cello music was contributed by Maestro Karim Wasfi from his 2019 Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) recordings. For more information on those recordings and to listen, visit poetrydespite.online
Additional music, audio editing, and audio design by Nate Sandberg. The Remaking the Exceptional podcast is supported by an Illinois Humanities, Envisioning Justice, 2021 Humanist Grant.
Research and support for Remaking the Exceptional by Maira Khwaja from the Invisible Institute and Valli Perrera, Margaret Kates, Kelly Milan, Alex Shur and Marie Mendoza from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Additional thanks to Alice Kim, Sarah Ross, and Joey Mogul for support and mentorship.
The exhibition Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture, and Reparations | Chicago to Guantánamo is on view at Depaul Art Museum through August 7, 2022.
The accompanying publication Remaking the Exceptional: Tracing Torture, Justice, and Reparations brings together artworks by former and current detainees from Chicago and abroad, new works by contemporary artists and collectives, and texts by leading scholars working at the intersection of aesthetics and politics.
An additional publication, Invitation to Tea, compiles 48 tea recipes and traditions, one for each of the countries that have had citizens extralegally held at the US military prison in Guantánamo. Edited by Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes as part of the ongoing Tea Project, Invitation to Tea will be released summer of 2022.
Thank you for listening. We hope this podcast will spark conversations about interconnection, justice, and reparations, best had over a cup of tea.