by Emi F '09

Guantanamo Bay Forgotten Again

‘Out of sight = out of mind’ is the written foundation for living a carefree, American life. The American life? Well, it is America and its government that has proclaimed this message to all its citizens, telling them that if those prisoners in Guantanamo bay are not escaping or killing guards then why think about them.
Originally set up for American security purposes, Guantanamo bay has become a place where the American government scapegoats foreign threats. In it there are 3 detention camps, altogether a prison camp. It has been set for about 6 years now in southeastern Cuba. This land was first controlled by the Americans at the end of the Spanish American, ‘securely’ granted to the Americans by the Cuban-American treaty of 1903. Securely, meaning that the Cubans still insist that it is theirs and can, provoking great turmoil and violence, take it back.
Overwhelmingly miserable and stressful, perfect description of the year of 2001, where the September 11 attacks brought down not only the twin towers but the high spirits of those who thought they were doing ‘everything possible’ to keep America secure. It is for this reason that in the following years America had focused on enforcing the idea of ‘Keeping America Secure.’ In 2002, with the blanket of fear and anxiety nearly suffocating US citizens, the American government decided to take security to another level beginning random search checks and enforcing acts that above all disregarded our privacy. They began sending those who they saw as threats and/or enemy combatants to Guantanamo bay.
Once word hit the streets about what was going on here, the itch for truth was soothed by the American chant, “It’s for your safety;” Nonetheless, our safety at the cost of many other innocent people’s rights. The people in Guantanamo Bay are labeled prisoners without any rights to a lawyer, proper trial. Moreover, there have been accounts of prisoners being tortured-being hung by their fingernails, hung on walls for days; abused-sexually and verbally and have simply received unethical treatment. While treatments in prisons are not supposed to be “enjoyable,” deserving the most gentle and serviceable care, in an American run base and prison it is the duty of the American officials to be ethical and propose punishment according to the rights given to the American people. It is important to notice that the present treatment of those in Guantanamo Bay, presented in court cases such as Al Odah v. United States, Rasul vs. Rumsfield and Zalita vs. Bush violate the 5th,6th,7th and 8th amendments.
Observant, attentive, just and conscientious groups such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), fight for the rights of these prisoners. A section on the HRW website called “Human Rights News” gives people insight on the recent Guantanamo Bay cases such as the last one on December 5th, 2007. A Human Rights News article, “US Give Guantanamo Detainees Fair Process Reinstate Habeas Corpus and Try Detainees in Federal Courts” presented Jennifer Daskal, senior counsel on counterterrorism who said “In the almost six years since Guantanamo opened, only one person has been convicted of any crime and that was by plea agreement.” The injustice she presents in her statement clearly represents the wrongdoings of the American government in Guantanamo bay. It is for this reason that this New Year, the hopes for a “new beginning” and a “blessed new year” should go for all, even those “terrorists” in Guantanamo bay.

By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

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