Starving for justice down in Guantanamo

Extreme form of resistance in Guantanamo results in prisoners being force-fed.

About a quarter of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay are engaged in a hunger strike, and 18 prisoners are being force-fed through tubes or intravenously after about a month of not eating. The prisoners are protesting the frightening reality that detainees have gone three years without trials.

A previous hunger strike was in response to Quran abuses and harshness of some guards. Stories were leaked, and with the Pentagon’s pushing secretive policies, who knows what else has happened? Unfortunately, few sympathize with the detainees because they simply do not know about them. That aside, these detainees need a trial or some judicial process.

While morality and ethics are abstract ideas, justice is more concrete, hence why there are laws. Guantanamo and the actions that have been taken by our government against the detainees violate the Geneva convention, the Bill of Rights, and our Constitution. Justice is not merely a conditional idea.

According to the U.S. government, justice is conditional since detainees do not enjoy the same rights that U.S. citizens enjoy. Without a doubt, policies in Guantanamo are wrong, both constitutionally and in a universal sense because of international law violations.

With time, administrations shift, but certain principles should always be constant. Citizens are the guardians of these principles, but if rights become a token for some and not all, pretty soon they will belong to none. Refraining from food in order to draw attention to a cause is something that has been done before. Mohandas Ghandi took part in hunger strikes in order to protest the forms of oppressive government that India faced, whether from the British or the elite in India. Those on hunger strike in Guantanamo are also doing it for access to some process of justice.

The current hunger strike should imbue a sense of urgency in being critical of human rights violations conducted by the U.S. government.