Friday, September 14, 2012

Adnan Latif - rest in peace

Six days ago Adnan Latif became the eighth prisoner to die in Guantanamo Bay, a torture camp of the United States of America, where people are held without charge, with very little hope of freedom, and no hope whatsoever if they come, as Latif did, from the Republic of Yemen. Until this week any person, including US citizens, could be held indefinitely without trial in any US penal institution, not just Guantanamo Bay for which excuses have been found due to it not being on US soil. Thanks to a number of major writers, including Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Chris Hedges, and philosopher and historian, Noam Chomsky, the permanent detention act signed off 'reluctantly' by Barack Obama has been judged to contravene the first amendment by district judge Katherine B. Forrest. This, however, will not bring Latif back to life.

It is doubtful that the US government will try again to establish this in law since the statute was condemned by judge Forrest for its vagueness. In other words they cannot find any justifiable words to describe the grounds for indefinite detention: thank God. Nevertheless they will still find measures, delaying measures like those which have failed to bring Bradley Manning to trial since his arrest and detention in May, 2010, and now postponed till February or March 2013. And all that time these young lives are wasted in prison while war-criminals like Tony Blair and George Bush are free to wallow in the oil riches stolen from the Middle-Eastern and North African countries they invaded for that purpose. These same countries are among those from which some of the US detainees were arrested before being subjected to rendition and torture in complicit outposts around the world. Then as a final insult to humanity they were banged up with no hope of release in Guantanamo Bay. Welcome to the United States.

Five years ago Marc Falcoff, Adnan's lawyer, wrote about Latif and other poets in Guantanamo Bay and included a few lines from his poem about the hunger strikers, of which he was one.

They are artists of torture,
They are artists of pain and fatigue,
They are artists of insults
and humiliation.
Where is the world to save us
from torture?
Where is the world to save us
from the fire and sadness?
Where is the world to save
the hunger strikers?

Adnan Latif was in his thirties, a young man, who should have had a bright future. Instead he has been abused and tortured, until death released him, by a country that thinks of itself as the greatest democracy in the world. He spent one third of his short life in Guantanamo Bay. Theresa May has fought relentlessly to send UK citizens, Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, another poet who happens to suffer from Asperger's Syndrome, to this 'greatest democracy in the world'.

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