Mohamedou Ould Slahi X Kevin Macdonald

Finding freedom and forgiveness

programme Editor
programme Editor

Mohamedou Ould Slahi – who has never even been charged – spent fourteen years in Guantánamo Bay. Despite his horrible imprisonment and decreased confidence in humanity, he has found a way to go on. During his imprisonment, his autonomy was taken away from him. Now, he refuses to be defined by this for the rest of his life. He pleads forgiveness, and refuses to remain trapped in a vicious cycle of hatred. How do you go on with normal life when they unjustly robbed you from your freedom? How to live at all, when they tortured for nothing?

This program is part of a four-part series in collaboration with Ould Slahi, De Balie’s artist in residence. The public gets to witness his route to forgiveness. For this evening, Ould Slahi and De Balie have invited film director Kevin Macdonald, whose feature film The Mauritanian is based on Ould Slahi’s memoir Guantánamo Diary.

The evening will feature excerpts from the film, theatre and dance.  Other programmes in the series will feature his editor Larry Siems, his lawyer Nancy Hollander and his former prison guard Steve Wood.

Watch: Mohamedou Ould Slahi about Guantánimo Bay.

About Mohamedou Ould Slahi & Kevin Macdonald:

Born in Mauritania, Mohamedou Ould Slahi (1970) was held in the infamous Guantánamo Bay prison for 14 years. He was tortured there, but no charges were ever brought against him. In 2015, while Ould Slahi was still incarcerated, his book Guantánamo Diary was published. In 2016, Ould Slahi was released. He moved back to Mauritania. This year, he is artist-in-residence at De Balie and at NITE (Club Guy & Roni and NNT).

Kevin Macdonald (1967) is a Scottish director of feature films and documentaries. He has directed The Last King of Scotland and the Whitney Houston documentary Whitney. In 2021, he directed the Hollywood film The Mauritanian, based on Ould Slahi’s memoires. It featured Tahar Rahim, Jodi Foster and Benedict Cumberbatch.  


Mohamedou Ould SlahiWriter, artist in residence De Balie
Kevin MacdonaldFilm director The Mauritanian