Friday, 12 July 2013

Yasiin Bey AKA Mos Def Guantanamo Bay Procedure

We’ve all heard the rumours about human rights violations which are carried out every day within the confines of Guantanamo Bay, but for the first time, we might actually get a taste of what it’s really like thanks to this video which is spreading like wildfire. It seems that our internal rage against the term ‘terrorist’ has allowed us to simply accept the fact that the USA continues to detain many prisoners without trial nor reason. It’s probably the greatest hypocrisy in the world when you think about it. As Western democracies, the pro invasion rhetoric of saving nations from tyrannous regimes is often littered with appalling examples of unfair justice systems, gross violations of human rights, and simple acts of torture.

Yasiin Bey more commonly known as Mos Def, took part in a procedure to highlight one of the most common techniques used on inmates who are on hunger strike. Many are on hunger strike due to the month of Ramadan, and some are simply trying to take back control of a small part of their lives. The video shows Bey undergo the process by which prisoners are force-fed; a technique which is used twice a day and usually lasts up to two hours. The video is only 5 minutes long including some preliminary and concluding words from Mos Def, which just goes to show how unbearable the process is. It is difficult to watch, but I think everyone should watch it, even if it’s just to understand the scientific horror of sanitised evil.

On one hand, we could argue that in Guantanamo there is a necessary evil in retaining these suspects, but how long can we continue to justify the methods used to control and impose the will of the US government.  The question which comes to mind is the same discussion which is raised within the death penalty debate: can we justify murder or evil for that matter simply due to the invention of sanitised technology. What is the difference between holding prisoners and torturing them with a whip and holding prisoners and using injections and chemicals to torture them? What counts as a war crime and what doesn’t?

Friedrich Nietzsche once summed up this mistake in justice systems like this: 

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster...”

I think this video does the same thing, in highlighting the similarities between what we see as ruthless evil and what we consider to be acceptable. Moreover, it probably leaves us all questioning where we draw the line in the sand, and what is righteous and what is not.



By Viren Samani (@VirenSamani1)  

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