Guantánamo Public Memory Project

Michael Rose on sharing Guantánamo’s ‘Important Stories’


The circus troupe during their visit to Guantánamo.

Earlier this year, we heard an incredible story about a circus troupe that had visited the base at Guantánamo to entertain the families stationed there. Members of the troupe had filmed much of what they encountered at GTMO, and this footage had become the basis of a documentary film.

The producers of this film, Christina Linhardt and Michael Rose, contributed a post to our blog, in which they discussed their experiences depicting a side of Guantánamo that gets a very small portion of the base’s media attention.

“After seeing the footage one of them had shot I knew there was a film there and I realized this was an important story,” says Rose.

Rose continued to collaborate with our project, and last month he authored a fantastic article on the history of Guantánamo for the Huffington Post.

“[The circus performers’] stories prompted me to look deeper into the context of GTMO and begin to grapple with the policy choices that we need to make for its future. I was attracted to the Guantánamo Public Memory Project because this is exactly what it’s doing.”

His engagement with ‘the context of GTMO’ has led Rose to take an interest in some of the untold stories and rarely-glimpsed perspectives of the base. Working on ‘Guantánamo Circus’ has brought him a sensitivity to the experiences of and difficulties faced by the members of the military and their families stationed at GTMO:

“Hearing about the soldiers’ experiences I realized that we’ve asked them to carry out a nearly impossible task and put them in an unenviable position that’s taken quite a toll on many of them.”

Exploring the various chapters and stories that make up GTMO’s past has also given Rose a strong interest in and sense of duty towards the base’s future.

I think we need to resolve the fate of the current detainees… We also have to make sure we don’t put the country in a position ever again where our actions, ostensibly to uphold our values, undermine those values and become a rallying cry for extremists around the world… History has shown that even our best humanitarian efforts can devolve and create inhumane conditions. We need to think about the past, present and future and work to make this part of the public debate about Guantanamo. We need to do this if we truly want to ‘Support the Troops’ we ask to carry out our policies. Let’s make sure our policies are worth their support.

If you haven’t already, take a look at Rose’s article, Guantánamo Bay Déjà Vu.


Creative: Picture Projects & Tronvig Group