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About the book
  • Published: 15 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9780099572299
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $19.99

The General

The ordinary man who challenged Guantanamo




This is Ahmed’s story. It will make you rethink what it means to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It will also make you look anew at courage, survival, justice and the War on Terror.

On 11 September 2001, in a café in London, Ahmed Errachidi watched as the twin towers collapsed. He was appalled by the loss of innocent life. But he couldn’t possibly have predicted how much of his own life he too would lose because of that day.

In a series of terrible events, Ahmed was sold by the Pakistanis to the Americans in the diplomatic lounge at Islamabad airport and spent five and a half years in Guantanamo. There, he was beaten, tortured, humiliated, very nearly destroyed.

But Ahmed did not give in. This very ordinary, Moroccan-born London chef became a leader of men. Known by the authorities as The General, he devised protests and resistance by any means possible. As a result, he spent most of his time in solitary confinement. But then, after all those years, Ahmed was freed, his innocence admitted.

This is Ahmed’s story. It will make you rethink what it means to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It will also make you look anew at courage, survival, justice and the War on Terror.

  • Pub date: 15 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9780099572299
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Authors

Ahmed Errachidi

Ahmed Errachidi was born in Tangier but lived and worked as a chef in London for 18 years before being detained in Guantanamo. He now lives back in Morocco with his wife and children and is opening his own restaurant.

Gillian Slovo

Gillian Slovo is a highly acclaimed South African-born novelist, playwright, memoirist and activist. Her work includesIce Road, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize; Red Dust, which was made into a film starring Hilary Swank; and the play Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom which was put on in theatres all over the world.


Praise for The General

“A revelation. People need to read this book”

Mark Haddon

“Those who doubt Guantanamo exemplifies American power should read this epic story of a truly brave man who survived to tell the truth”

John Pilger

“One of the many things that you are left feeling by Errachidi’s account is that there is no such thing as an “ordinary man”; another is that his extraordinary story, with all its surreal and brutal twists, needed telling”

Tim Adams, Observer

“Remarkable... The General purports to be the story of just one man but this compelling read speaks for every innocent victim in the War on Terror, from the 3,000 murdered on 9/11 to the 30,000 Iraqi and Afghan civilians”

Marco Giannangeli, Sunday Express

“Anyone at all interested in the state of human rights or democracy in the 21st century should read this. It's a profoundly humane testimonial written by a person whose kindness and dignity uplift. His treatment at the hands of the US Administration beggars belief”

Emma Thompson

“This is not the first published account of life in Guantanamo, but it is perhaps the most moving”

David Rose, Mail on Sunday

“An account of life in Guantanamo Bay is an unlikely place to turn for a lesson in happiness, but Ahmed Errachidi offers just that”

Maggie Fergusson, Intelligent Life

“An important book which provides a valuable insight into the mental and physical trauma suffered by those who were, and continue to be, detained in the living hell that is Guantanamo”

Paddy McGuffin, Morning Star

“Both uplifting and terrifying”

The Lady

“This book documents his honesty, courage and fortitude”

New Internationalist

“This eloquent autobiographical novel challenges our ideas about the war on terror and teaches us about human bravery”

Eve Commander, Big Issue

“Gruesomely compelling”

Herald


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