Marriage Classes at Guantánamo

Modern Love

Jun 8 2022 • 17 mins


Mansoor Adayfi was only 19 when he arrived at the prison camp at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Growing up in a tiny village in the mountains of Yemen, “I didn’t know much about the world,” he said. “Now my world was Guantánamo.”

For a period during his 14 years there, he and his fellow detainees organized informal classes for one another. There was a cooking class, taught by a former chef. In a marriage class, they learned about love. They shared their views on how men should treat women, they discussed what it would feel like to meet the person you love, and they even simulated an engagement and wedding celebration. “I have never been in love, but now I could feel its sweetness,” Mansoor said.

Today, we listen to Mansoor’s essay and then hear an update from him. Since Guantánamo, he said he has experienced one of the best moments of his life — and one of the most painful. He talks to our host, Anna Martin, about what he would now teach others about the art of love.

Mansoor Adayfi is the author of “Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo.” You can find more information on today's episode here.