The U.S. military announced last week that the hunger strike in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is basically over after detainees were subjected to six months of force-feeding, according to an article in the Washington Post.
The American public should be informed of the magnitude of harm and pain this brings and how it has been forced on prisoners.
It is shameful to know the U.S. preaches about human rights and justice when it clearly has issues upholding that value toward those who have wrongly been labeled as terrorists.
The Guardian released files stating most of the prisoners that are currently being held were detained unjustly, frequently to extract information about terrorist groups they aren’t affiliated with. They range from 14-year-old boys to unhealthy 89-year-old men.
Human Rights First, an American human rights organization, states that 500 prisoners were released under President Bush, while Obama has only released 72 of the 126 prisoners that were approved for release.
The numbers are disappointing, and unfortunately, the only way prisoners were able to bring attention to the injustice was through media coverage after the long hunger strikes.
Clearly, the way this situation has been handled has left prisoners in a worse and more fragile state, after having to endure such horror.
Currently, only 19 detainees remain on hunger strike, which is significantly lower than when they first started, with 106 prisoners out of 166, as reported by The New York Times. Due to the high number of prisoners starving themselves, doctors justify force-feeding as a necessary task to keep them alive.
But in the harsh process of force-feeding the captives, long clear tubes were forced into their mouths, extending from their throats to their stomachs, as they lay on a chair with their arms, legs and heads restrained with leather straps to keep them from resisting.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the process of force-feeding would last for hours and left prisoners with psychological harm, as well as physical pain.
Force-feeding is a human rights violation.
Forcing a rubber tube down the throat is not a way to keep these prisoners alive and goes against the medical ethics of allowing the least amount of harm to a patient.
Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay after he was elected in 2008, but no progress has been made five years later.
Prisoners participating in a strike this extreme shouldn’t be a surprise, especially when the way in which they are treated is taken into account.
The only way to make sure such a thing doesn’t continue to happen is to close down the prison and put the prisoners through proper trials, without stalling the process more than it has already been stalled.
Lama Alqasemi is a freshman majoring in mass communications.