Sunday 11 June 2006

Powerless against the 'Gitmo' noose

Our Imperfect World

When news arrived that 3 inmates of Guantanamo bay had committed suicide by hanging I was not surprised, rather I was taken aback by how long it had taken for anyone to come to that point of absolute despair.

Like it or not, regardless of the purported evil and despicable intentions of those inmates, they are flesh and blood like you and I, they were born into this world and have had their lives shaped by the circumstances of upbringing, society and environment like any other human being.

If this world were a perfect place

+ where everyone lived in peace and harmony,

+ where the strong helped the weak out of the milk of humanity rather than ideological domination,

+ where sickness and disease were met with the concerted efforts of all mankind deploying their compassion and knowledge,

+ where leaders really did command the respect of their people through probity, honesty, wisdom and prudence

We would not be in the in the state we are in now where globalization, war, disease, unrest, inequalities, tyranny and corruption are competing elements thwarting every attempt at human progress.

The most important element to progress is fairness expressed and justice seen to be done with the highest moral standards.

The Genesis of our times is in the past

America as a superpower had been attacked by a terrorist organisation that did not fit the mould of nation state but religious ideology built on the abhorrence of certain America activities around the globe.

Whilst it is enough to give platitudes to the inclination that these terrorists are against our freedoms, democracy and liberty, we would be remiss to think that is the whole story. The catalogue of American activities in other lands where they have purported to offer a lifestyle similar to theirs is almost bloodier than conquests of the Jews, Normans, Vikings and Crusades put together.

America might not have been the primary cause in some of these even but it is questionable that some of their activities were pro patria even if their leaders have presumed their acts have been in the best interests of the American people.

Guantanamo Bay not Montego Bay

Guantanamo Bay is the culmination of all that is wrong in the pursuit of peace in the world we are today. The benefactor superpower in this situation has done little to benefit the war on terror and done a lot to recruit malefactors that continue the make the Middle East the cauldron of human conflict and other arms of law enforcement in “free” countries jittery, lacking in resolute analysis and prone to procedural error.

Soon after 9/11 the goodwill America garnered in abundans cautela non nocet as to retaliation allowed level heads with the support of the many to invade Afghanistan going after the Taleban who gave refuge to Al Qaeda.

However, this is where the whole value system began to break down as prisoner swept up by this war lost the title of “prisoner of war” and became “enemy combatants” and were transported to Guantanamo Bay under circumstance less humane of what is to be expected of leaders of freedom albeit aggrieved from loss.

Enemy Combatant’s Lot

The Enemy Combatant appellation allowed for extra judicial and extraterritorial exercise of domain outside the scrutiny of due process, the courts and civil oversight from which the American democratic project derives its legitimacy and validity.

So, beyond the scrutiny of organs that ensure that rights, freedoms and liberties are protected, the hapless pawns in Afghanistan and other places ended up in that Cuban enclave feeding every speculation and conspiracy about the untoward.

Abu Ghraib gave us unprecedented insight into the way things were done at Guantanamo bay since the man-in-charge there took responsibility of retraining people in the way “things are to be done”.

Guantanamo Bay as it stood with its inmates was the middle of nowhere and the pit of despair as many did not know their status, the semblance of justice or the possibility of freedom – all we were fed by Donald Rumsfeld was that they were very horrible people who were humanely treated – Mr Rumsfeld is a very smart man, but I cannot take lessons of justice, fairness and due process from him.

Power against hunger powerless against the noose

Only recently, we were told a number if inmates had gone on hunger strike, I would think the only reason anyone would go on hunger strike is because the system is failing to apply reason to their plight.

Those people were force-fed to prevent the separation of soul from body to much disdain as the voice against Guantanamo Bay gets louder and clearer and the people in charge are beginning to have no other options but to begin to oblige.

With all the supervision, deprivation, inspection and surveillance in the dog cages these people occupy three people having not been able to bring reason to bear through other means took their apparel and hung themselves by the neck till death.

One could cynically surmise you can force-feed a hunger striker but how do you mend a broken neck?

Act of war – my foot!

So, in all the circumstances and the depth of despair that represented the fact that many had resolved they were incarcerated epso perpetua the suicide being depicted as an act of war or rather “an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us” by the camp commander is a complete dereliction of responsibility in a policy that would have made Stalin’s Gulags look like play school.

Asymmetric warfare? You must be kidding me, I have never heard such tripe, ever!

I will not buy that view no matter the preponderance of law, evidence or inclination, the reaction is beyond belief and Mr George W. Bush with his concerns are much more about the new low to hit the unpopular Guantanamo Bay than the death of enemy combatants.

The 3 men of blessed or cursed memory took the only avenue to their freedom and liberty and many ore would if that aberration called Guantanamo Bay is not consigned to history before it becomes the cornerstone of the Bush II presidency.

quidquid Latine dictum sit altum viditur – just exactly what I mean to say whatever has been said in Latin seems deep.

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