Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Guantanamo Remembered : 10 years on

Despite a pledge by US President to close Guantanemo Bay by 1 January 2010, today marks the day that this illegal prison was first opened, where prisoners, the majority of whom have been released without any charge whatever, have faced years of abuse and detention without trial. Many ssailed with coerced confession, with  many have have benn treated to ordeals that amount to torture. In many cases even the circumstances of their detainment are questionable.
It stands in contradiction with agreements and standards of international law.
A total of 779 men have been held since it was opened. Today around 171 prisoners remain detained.

Amongst them is a British resident by the name of Shaker Aamer

who continues to be held despite long being cleared for release. His wife and children await his safe return in London.
For more details about this individual and other cases go here.

Amnesty International has described the legacy of Guantanamo Bay as a "decade of damage to human rights,"  across the world. " Guantanamo has politicised justice internationally by portraying detainess as having no human rights " Amnestyy has said.

Guantanemo Bay : A decade of damage to hunan rights - amnesty international

10 years on: End detentions at Guantanomo Bay - Amnesty International

So today  marks 10 years of evading the law, 10 years of hiding justice.
Today also marks the day where
Wikileaks Reveals Secret Files on All Prisoners

Despite the inhuman conditions  that inmates have been contained, they were able to pass one another messages, using pebbles to scratch messages into foam cups they got with their meals. They were not however passing along escape plans or infomation about future attacks. They were sending each other poems.  They have used words not weapons as power, but often their thoughts were destroyed.  But many persevered . How their words survived shows their will and determination.
In the words of Seamus Heaney;

"Poetry has been defined as the imagination passing back against the pressures of reality, and these poems from Guantanemo are vivid proof of the rightness of that definition. Here are voices crying de profunis, yet the very fact of this articulation constitutes a victory, a guarantee of the spirits indomitable aspiration towards freedom and justice."

The U.S authorities have long tried to suppress peoples voices yet they failed to crush these. The human spritt is resiliant, it finds a way. Many carry political messages, but equally others speak of religious faith, home and longing and their thirst for freedom and justice.

This remarkable book   ' poems of Guantanemo ' was published by the University of Iowa in 2007.
To order it go here.

To My Father - Abdulla Thani Faris al Anazi

To years have passed in far-away prisons,
Two years my eyes untouched by kohl.
Two years my heart sending out messages
To my homes where my family dwells,
Where lavender cotton sprouts
For grazing herds that leave well fed.

O Flij, explain to those who visit our home
How I used to live.
I know your thoughts are swirled as in awhirlwind,
When you hear the voice of my anguished soul.
Send sweet peace and greetings to  Bu'mair;
Kiss him on his forehead. for he is my father.
Fate has divided us, like the parting of a parent from a newborn.

O Father, this is a prison of injustice.Its iniquity makes the mountains weep.
I have committed no crime and and  and am guilty of no offense.
Curved claws have I. But I have been sold like a fattened sheep.
I have no fellows but the Truth. They told me to confess, but I am guiltless;
My deed are all honourable and need no apology.
They tempted me to turn away from the lofty summit of integrity,
To exchange this cage for a pleasant life.
By God, if they were to bind my body in chains, if all Arabs were to sell their faith, I would not sell mine.

I have composed these lines
For the day when your children have grown old.

O God - who governs creation with providence,
Who is one, singular and self-subsisting,
Who brings comfort and happy tidings, Whom we worship-
Grant serenity to a heart that beats with oppression,
And release thisprisoner from the tight bonds ofconfinement.

Is It True? - Osamas Abu Kamir

Is it true that the grass grows again after rain?
Is ittrue that the flowers will rise up again in the Spring?
Is it truethat birds will migrate home again?
Is it true that the salmon swim back up their streams?

Is it true. This is true, These are all miracles.
But is it true that one day we'll leave Guantanemo Bay?
Is it true that one day we'll go back to our homes?
I sail in my dreams. I am dreaming of home.

To be with my children, each one part of me;
To be with my wife and the ones I love;
To be with my parents, my worlds tenderest hearts.
I dream to be home, to be free from this cage.

But do you hear me, oh Judge, do you hear me at all?
We are innocent, here, we'eve committed no crime.
Set me free, set us free, if anywhere still
Justice and compassion,remain in this world!

Time for this symbol of injustice to fall.

No comments:

Post a Comment