(WARNING: Some Viewers May Find The Video And Image Distressing)
Several detainees at military detention camp Guantanamo Bay went on a hunger strike this year in February. On the basis of leaked documents revealing military instructions, or standard operating procedure, for force-feeding detainees at Gitmo, Human Rights organization Reprieve in collaboration with Bafta award-winning director Asif Kapadia, US actor and rapper Yasiin Bey(aka Mos Def), came up with a four-minute film to launch a support campaign for the inmates.
Out of 166 prisoners, 86 were guaranteed freedom by the Obama administration three years ago. But when the inmates realized that the authorities were not going to let them free, they decided to go on a hunger strike to protest against the indifference and deception.
The prison authorities have responded to the strike by restraining the inmates in a feeding chair with their arms, legs and head strapped to the chair until the food is digested properly. Though internationally it is the doctor’s duty to respect the protest and the striker’s decision not to eat anything, the American policy on the other hand, directs to force-feed the prisoners for their own ‘safety and welfare’.
It goes without saying that the procedure is very painful and unbearable, especially for a person fragile from starvation.
Accordingto Reprieve, “The video launches a campaign to rally support for Guantanamo prisoners who are on hunger-strike in protest against their detention without charge or trial. The campaign asks members of the public to undertake their own short-term hunger-strikes in solidarity with the prisoners, and donate the time to support them, while also raising the issue with their political representatives.”
U.S. President Barack Obama has “promised” to close down the detention camp several times in his interviews and speeches but nothing concrete has been done yet.
Gitmo supporters and prisoners have grown so restless that one of the starving inmates decided to take it to social media through his lawyer for help.
Obama has also been urged to halt the painful force-feeding procedure during the holy month of Ramadan but the decision is still pending.
The campaign video gives us an idea of what kind of atrocities are being carried out at Gitmo. Surely what the detainees are going through is beyond painful.