shutter guantanamo bay

Posted on May 31, 2007

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A wise man once said that a good leader is strong enough to admit that he has made a mistake.

We know that is beyond Bush’s ability. We would be kidding ourselves if we called him a good leader.

But the latest suicide of a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay should be a wake up call to change course and shut down Guantanamo Bay for good.

It has been operating for over five years and besides the negative publicity for the US, its symbol of being the negation of everything the US stands for, and its effectiveness in recruiting and rallying jihardists, Guantanamo Bay has done nothing good for the so-called war against terror.

It’s shameful how this atrocity has endured for so long.

Guantanamo Bay is a daily reminder that American values like truth and justice are just platitudes. The detention of 380 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay without trial and their status outside of the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war not only lessens US credibility, it also makes a mockery of the legal process. Besides, it smacks of sheer pigheadedness — why prolong a policy that hasn’t produced results but made it tougher on the war on terror? And that’s especially after the US Supreme Court ruled that the military tribunal system, the only recourse for some detainees, is illegal.

There’s no doubt that the latest suicide is a result of the prisoner’s desperation from the illegal detention. The deceased, a Saudi Arabian, is the fourth detainee there to end his own life. Three other suicides by hanging occurred in June last year.

If it’s not closed down, the only certainty is that the recent death isn’t going to be the last. As morale sinks and hopes of ever leaving the detention facility slips, more detainees are likely to take their own lives, experts say. There have been over 40 suicide attempts so far.

Ironically, one of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay has appealed to the kidnappers of BBC reporter, Alan Johnston, to free him. Johnston, a Gaza correspondent, disappeared in March and is believed to have been captured by an Islamist group operating in Gaza.

“What the Americans are doing to me is very, very wrong,” said the prisoner, Sami al-Hajj, a native of Sudan, in a letter made public by his lawyer. “Yet this can never mean that a Muslim should similarly hold a British journalist, and put him and his family through similar suffering.”

Listen and learn.

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Posted in: freedom, justice, politics, US