lady_branwyn: (dahlia)
While doing research for my long-neglected fic about the Tolkien brothers during World War 1, I stumbled across a book called Defiant Gardens about gardens planted by soldiers on the front lines and in prison camps. The website has photos of well-tended vegetable plots next to dugouts on the Western Front. The author claims that not only did the gardens serve the practical purpose of providing fresh produce, they also provided respite from the horrors of war.

The website also includes articles about a clandestine garden created by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. These particular prisoners were men who were considered cooperative--some had been cleared of any terrorism charges--and were (are) kept in relative freedom, being allowed to eat together and to go outside for hours each day. Requests for a garden were refused, so the prisoners were left to their own resources, scavanging seeds from their meals and improvising digging tools. They grew melons, peppers, and garlic and were tending a two-inch high lemon tree (though it wasn't doing well). Happily, the authorities eventually were persuaded to provide proper gardening tools and plants.

(I can't begin to describe how ashamed I feel that someone could be locked up for years without trial by my country. But that is another journal entry...)


lady_branwyn: (Default)

December 2011

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