socio-political self-help and stuff
thoughts of how we treat ourselves and how we treat others is the theme of my life of late, it seems. i continuously see folks acting aggressively to one another. continuously read hateful sentiments in online comments. had that horrible self conversation with myself, just days ago. and then, this morning…
i had the privilege of watching a short film by the human rights organization, reprieve, where one of my favorite musicians, yasiin bey (fka mos def) subjects himself to the standard operating procedures used to force feed hunger strikers at guantánamo bay. i almost couldn’t believe what i saw. a man restrained to a chair so that a tube could be forced through his nose in order to provide nutrition to keep him alive.
alive for what? so that he may remain in prison purgatory?
according to the filmmakers, 120 prisoners in guantánamo are hunger striking. 120. more than a third of these men are force fed in the manner presented by the video, twice daily. numerous questions come to mind. but i will just ask some of the more pressing ones:
why are the 120 men refusing food? what are their concerns? has anyone asked? is anyone willing to listen? is it that they are being held without due process, including, the right to trial, for an indefinite period, in deplorable conditions? i mean. when a man is reduced to refusing food for himself because it is all that he has left, i’m willing to go out on a limb here and say that things are pretty bad. choosing hunger and the probability of death speaks volumes about other options (and the lack thereof).
i once believed in the efficacy of the us justice system. believed in the promises of the constitution. thought that it protected people from unjust treatment. unjust justice. i no longer pledge allegiance to that ruse. the last decade or so has seen a constant erosion of the protections guaranteed by the document intended to form a more perfect union. how dare we call it a living document if we then use it to kill people? ideas? freedom?
of everything that i’ve witnessed over the past few weeks, nothing sits with me like the video from the article below. [apologies for sending you elsewhere, but my attempts to embed it here were thwarted by the wordpress folks.] i hope that you will watch it in its entirety. to see the brute force. the pain. the loss of dignity with every scream and in each tear. i can’t help but wonder about the mentality of the soldiers whose jobs require that they remove all traces of their humanity in order to perform such a dastardly deed on people who’ve been convicted of nothing. i can’t help but wonder how they would feel if they were caught in another country, held without trial, for unknown charges. and force fed according to the ‘standard operating procedures’ of that country.
this is bigger than the prisoners at guantánamo… we’ve gotta do better, people. to others. to ourselves. for others. for ourselves. think about how you and others feel in your daily dealings. do you treat yourself/others poorly because it is what you were trained to do? because it is considered acceptable, under the circumstances? because that’s just how it is?
stop and ask yourself if what you are doing to others, would be acceptable towards yourself. ask whether you’d like your rights violated if the shoe were on the other foot. if you’d be okay with being brought to a prison, no matter the reason, and denied not only civil, but human rights…
everyone is entitled to humane treatment. i am in total support of the push to close guantánamo bay. what we do to one, is what we do to all. so remember that golden rule – do unto others as you’d have done to you…