Monday, December 19, 2005

Guantanamo Bay

There is much to admire about the people of the United States of America - their vibrancy in culture, often brilliance in science, innovativeness and much more. But there is also, much that leads me to despair - 45% of them believe in creationism, their belief that killing convicted people somehow has a moral basis, the endemic racism in the society, Bush and his utter corruption of democratic government, etc. But Guantanamo Bay symbolises some of the darkest sides of the US people.

It must be the most fundamental right of any person accused of a crime to face his accusers in an open court for just to be seen to be done. The idea that "enemy combatants" do not have this right or any other right accorded under the Geneva Convention must be an anathema to all. Who are these “enemy combatants”? The Bush Government says they are “evil-doers”, i.e. Al qaeda and/or the Taliban. Neither group should engender any sympathy in any of us, but not to understand the reason they exist will be the reason they will be not be defeated by invasions and high-tec war. And it ill-behoves us to forget that the Taliban are the result of the US funding Muslim extremists in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet occupation. But whatever the individuals have done or believe does not mean they should not be subject to the justice we would all expect for ourselves.

Guantanamo Bay must be closed as a matter of urgency. Thanks to Jack Straw and Tony Blair, we are complicit in this hypocritical situation – the idea that we are showing the world how freedom and democracy works whilst denying it to a group of people in our direct control.

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