January 11 is the tenth anniversary of the opening of the US military’s detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. As human rights campaigners and prisoners themselves mark the anniversary with protests, a number of commentators have reflected on the significance of the prison’s controversial history, and its continued practise of indefinite detention.
The camp has held 779 foreign captives, and 171 remain. Only six have been convicted.
Dahlia Lithwick asks on Slate.com whether Americans should ‘remember about forgetting’ the camp, in accepting both its inevitability and invisibility.
In the Guardian, Michael Ratner writes; ‘The story of Guantánamo’s 10th anniversary and the deterioration of civil and human rights in post-9/11 America is a story about what fear will do – the breakdown of a body politic that occurs when a country attacks its own constitution in the name of defending it.’
In Harper’s, Scott Horton concludes that ‘Gitmo will forever be associated with the maxim that justice delayed is justice denied.’
And here, in the New York Times, former detainee Lakhdar Boumediene remembers the ten years he was imprisoned without charge; ‘I went on a hunger strike for two years because no one would tell me why I was being imprisoned. Twice each day my captors would shove a tube up my nose, down my throat and into my stomach so they could pour food into me. It was excruciating, but I was innocent and so I kept up my protest.’