Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guantanamo Justice

A juror from the military commission that listened to the case of Osama bin Laden’s driver, Salim Hamden, told the Wall Street Journal that Hamden appeared mild mannered and not like someone who hated other people. Before and after his sentencing, Hamden apologised for any harm his actions might have caused, and afterwards thanked both the judge and the jury for the 66 month sentence he received for a charge of providing material support to terrorists. He drove a car that had radios and guns inside. Since Hamden has already been at Guantanamo for 60 months, he should be released in January, the same month the United States will finally be released from George W Bush. But the same juror seemed surprised to hear that the 66 month sentence may prove irrelevant since the Bush administration can, if it so deems, keep Hamden in prison forever if they think he fits the description of an “unlawful enemy combatant”.

The worldwide silence on the issue of Guantanamo Bay is deafening. People are being held there without trial or charge. Numerous respected bodies have proof of torture being carried out as a matter of course- but silence allows its continuation. And now Bush and Company will flagrantly ignore their own justice system and keep a man in prison even after he has served his time- just because the rules that they made up say they can.

For how long will the Americans be allowed to use 9/11 as just cause to violate people’s human rights? For how long will the world keep silent while they do this? One wonders – who will stand up for Salim Hamden who in the end has done nothing more than try to provide for his family by taking a job as a driver? There is a line in a Holly Near song that says “It could have been me but instead it was you” which seems so apt here. Any of us could be standing in Salim Hamden’s shoes, perhaps that is what is so chilling about the Americans’ response to his sentence.

5 comments:

Selma said...

I hate to say it Lauri (and no disrespect to anyone who lost a loved one as a result of 9/11) but I think the Americans will use 9/11 for as long as it suits them.

Lauri said...

Selma I agree.
Right now I'm reading Alice Walker's We are the ones we've been waiting for, and she talks about how voilence to solve voilence just breeds voilence. I'm trying to get my head around that completely as I tend to be a bit of a revenge freak when it comes to crime, for example, but I think I believe waht Alice Walker is saying, I just need to pull it into my own life.

Ms. Karen said...

I agree with you 100% about the entire post. Unfortunately, I must admit fear on my part for not standing up and doing something about any of it. Fear that I may disappear.

They say it won't happen in America, but that's been said before where people have felt safe, and things have happened.

Paranoid? Me? Uh, yes. 9/11 is no longer a day of mourning, it has become a club, a weapon to be used to let people get away with some truly horrible things.

I fear for my children.

Lauri said...

Karen I don't think I could live in America right now. I feel very scared for what will happen after the elections. I remember when Reagan was re-elected I was sure there would be a nuclear war. I took to my bed for a week in a terrible depression that took months to get out of. I couldn't believe that Amercians would be so cruel.

It looks more and more likely that Obama can't win. I find it astounding. If it wasn't for the fact that the left has been beaten down with 8 years of Bush and the big club of 9/11 I do believe that a McCain win could lead to the second civil war. The problem is that the bulk of Americans are hanging on by a thin thread both economically and mentally.

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