Thursday, May 2, 2013

#Guantánamo Hunger Strikers: Tortured With Your Tax $$

When I was young, in the 20th century, we read about the USSR's crimes against humanity in The Gulag Archipelago and we read about the concentration camps the Nazis used to torture and control millions, and which the Allied forces liberated. We, the USA, were the good guys.

Now I'm aging in the 21st century and Guantánamo Bay is just one site -- perhaps the most notorious -- of my own empire's archipelago of torture prisons. It's isolated from U.S. courts and from the view of most citizens. Reports are the CIA decided to locate a facility to detain "war on terror" prisoners in Cuba especially to piss off Fidel Castro. Closing it is one of the many, many campaign promises that the current occupant of the White House made to trick peaceniks into voting for him the first time.

Photo source: World Can't Wait. Sign their petition and find out how to take action to shut down the torture center the U.S. illegally maintains in Cuba.
89 prisoners there have been cleared of any suspicions of terrorism, but have been held for a decade or more anyway. Many were swept up in a global dragnet following the dramatic events of September 11, 2001, the prey of informants or in some cases guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their despair at the indefiniteness of their detention is palpable. Their three-month hunger strike is inspiring those of us on the outside of the prisons -- all the prisons we pay for while Head Start programs close and unemployment compensation is cut --- to fast in solidarity with them.

If we fasted for every wrongly imprisoned (man with brown colored skin) in the U.S. archipelago, we would all starve to death.

The executive branch of our failed government recently ordered fresh squadrons of force feeders to Cuba (the propaganda term for them is "medical reinforcements"). The president is afraid if the prisoners succeed in escaping Guantánamo by starving themselves, it will look bad for the U.S. The medical establishment is afraid that if its members succeed in forcing a tube that feels "as sharp as a razor" into the nasal passages and down the esophagi of prisoners, it will make the medical profession look bad.

I am afraid that the people of my country have lost their way so badly that the militarized police state their taxes support will remain invisible to them until the very day that they, or their son or daughter or grandchild or friend, is locked up, too.

When I was young in the 20th century, Guantánamo was known to me only as the subject of a song that my mother would sing. More than a year ago I posted this video of the singer Celia Cruz performing "Guantanamera" or "woman of Guantánamo."

I added this verse to express the pain in my heart here in the 21st Century:

You broke my heart when you tortured
The beautiful ones, and the bad ones.
You broke my heart when the young soldiers
Had to watch all this being done.
How could our Constitution
ever stand for something like this?
If there is such a thing as a court,
I hope all you torturers stand before it.

Guantanamera...oh women of Guantánamo
And may the indigenous 
grandmothers save us.

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