As many Americans celebrate their alleged liberties, we look to a cry for freedom from Abdelhadi Faraj, a Syrian who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 despite being cleared for release in 2010, and one of more than 100 of the detention center’s hunger strikers.
“This is my call to the outside world from behind these rusty bars, in this monstrous cell,” Faraj writes at The Huffington Post. “Does the world know what is happening in this prison?”
Although “solutions seemed possible” when Bush was in power, the prospects for prisoners hoping for justice and release seems hopeless under Obama, Faraj continues. Obama could release the prisoners immediately via an executive order. But despite his lofty language about the moral necessity to free the innocent, the president refuses to do so without the cooperation of Congress. It is understandable then that Faraj is convinced that U.S. officials are uninterested in the prisoners’ well-being.
He has reasons for thinking so. U.S. soldiers have beaten the hunger strikers and fired on them with tear gas and rubber bullet, he writes. They confiscate toothbrushes, blankets and books from their cells, many of which are “cold, windowless … beyond the reach of the sun’s rays or a fresh breeze.” Faraj and his fellow inmates often don’t know if it’s day or night. And sometimes guards search their genitals and rectum “ten times in a single day.”
“Daily, I am forced into a restraint chair, my arms, legs and chest tied down tight,” Faraj writes. “Big guards grab my head with both hands. I feel like my skull is being crushed. Then, so-called nurses violently push a thick tube down my nostril. Blood rushes out of my nose and mouth. The nurses turn on the feeding solution full throttle. I cannot begin to describe the pain that causes.”
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
Abdelhadi Faraj at The Huffington Post:
Recently, a nurse brutally yanked out the force-feeding tube, threw it on my shoulder, and left the cell, leaving me tied down to the chair. Later, the nurse returned to the cell, took the tube off my shoulder and began to reinsert it into my nose. I asked him to cleanse and purify the tube first but he refused.
When I later tried to complain to another nurse about the incident, the other nurse threatened to force the feeding tube up my rear, not down my nose, if I didn’t suspend my hunger strike.
And when I tried taking the matter to a senior medical officer, he told me that they would strap me to a bed and make me urinate through a catheter forced into my penis if I kept up my peaceful protest.
Kevin Krejci (CC BY 2.0)