In the spirit of “long stories” (updates on blogs), I bring you a link to Yvonne Robert’s review first published in the Observer 12 May 2013 on Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror by Victoria Brittain.
Yvonne Roberts writes: “The so-called “war on terror” has legitimised practices in the UK most commonly associated with totalitarian regimes.”
I am also thinking Guantanamo is globalisation writ-large i.e. we export practices to distant lands we might not countenance in the UK in the same way clothing manufacturers use sweat-shops in Bangladesh.
It’s just not cricket, chaps.
Here is my original blog-post – inspired by attending a talk by an ex-prison guard and an ex-detainee from Guantanamo prison.
Original post 21 January 2009
I texted Mike: “I feel an Obama blog coming on”. He replied: “Go for it Hon. The wire has been Obama-buzzing all day, Facebook slowed down, Twitter faltered but nothing could rain on the party.”
Tonight my middle child cooked a delectable meal of light, spicy, oven-baked sweet potato and potato-rosti (beating in eggs makes them airy) and grilled garlic mushrooms.
My sister filled me in on Obama’s inauguration speech. On my way home, I heard on the radio, voices of African-Americans active in the Civil Rights movement. They had helped end segregation little knowing their actions would bring about the election in their lifetime of a Black president.
A reminder that activism pays off.
Activism helped release detainees from Guantanamo Bay – a place also on my mind.
Last week I heard an ex-guard and two former detainees talk about their experiences in that place of unlawful incarceration. One was detained on the day his son was born. The evidence was dismissable but no trial took place.
I had dreaded hearing about brutal realities but I rejoiced they were out in the open – a healthy sign that we have got better at recognising injustice, and healing.
A member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, the ex-guard Chris Arendt came on this tour to meet former detainee and author, Moazzem Begg – to make reparation, to apologise. The tour is their way of getting to know each other as well as educating us. Chris is glad he made the trip. He said: “I feel 10,000 times lighter.”
Chris, was 19, “trailer trash” (his words) and in the National Guard when he was sent to Guantanamo Bay. “I knew it would be the most horrible experience of my life.” His first day on the concrete block was terrifying, the vibe was “so intense, so crazy.”
The war of terror is, he said, “Islamophobic genocide.”
According to the Guardian, Obama wants no part in this. One of his first acts is to close Guantanamo Bay detention centre.
Obama, thank you. And don’t go letting me down.