Guantanamo, Boston and Perpetuity

News links appear on my Facebook newsfeed all day. I have a lot of journalist/reporter friends. Fifteen minutes ago, I clicked on two links.

Link One: Guantanamo inmate starving

Samir has been detained at Gitmo since he was 24. He is now 35.

Guantanamo, photo (c) Salzman
Guantanamo, photo (c) Salzman

He says, he has neither been charged, nor allowed a trial. ‘No one seriously thinks I’m a threat’, he says. So, to protest this indignity and appeal to common, human decency, he started refusing food since February 2013.

It hasn’t worked out too well for him though. Now guards blitz in, strap him to the bed, shove pipes down his throat and forcefully feed him. However, since February, at least 40 more inmates have joined Samir and are regularly subjected to equally inhuman and brutal treatment.

We have become so scared of people with certain types of facial hair – that we forget that these inmates are ‘innocent’ – since they haven’t been proven guilty. Try imagining yourself in their place: the best news is someone finally learning about your abuse after 11 years!

It makes one wonder whose cross these inmates are bearing.

Link Two: blasts at Boston Marathon

Seconds later I was watching appalling footage of two bombs going off at the Boston Marathon. A third one may have gone off at the JFK Library (alternatively, it could’ve been fire related). Two individuals have been killed. Boston Globe is reporting 100+ people injured – 6 are in critical condition. Feds have asserted that it was a ‘well-planned event’.

The chaos and panic that ensued upon the blasts was heart-wrenching. After the first blast, people started running away  in confusion, trying to get away from the plumes of smoke – not knowing that another bomb was going to explode within 15 seconds. The kind of violence that renders people helpless and reduces them to mere targets – is the worst kind. My prayers are with the runners, spectators and all their families.

Boston Marathon Blasts
Boston Marathon Blasts (2013) (c) SMH

Parallels to 9/11 have been drawn within the first 20 minutes of the event. Terrorists, Al-Qaida, Islamists, White Supremists, Aryan Brotherhood and a lot of other speculative terms are being thrown around. Analysts have flown in to tell us that ‘everyone there could’ve been killed if the explosive device had been bigger’.

***

The detainees aren’t the real targets. Neither are marathon runners. They are proxies being used to convey messages and threats. I just can’t help feeling that each – perpetuates the other.

***

Post-Script (section added later)

On the day of the Boston Bombings – a US airstrike killed 30 Afghan civilians. As always, the likes of BBC, CNN, FOX and Al-Jazeera failed to cover this adequately.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis spoke about the incident. Here’s an excerpt:

At least one bomb was errant. We don’t know where it fell. We are aware of reports of civilian casualties but don’t know if casualties were caused as a result of the bomb.

I rest my case.

 

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