Friday, May 2, 2008

A Nation Shamed

Here's the latest evidence of the moral degradation brought about by shrub's embrace of torture. I suppose that the fact that Sami al-Hajj has been freed is a positive. But the condition of the al-Jazeera photographer upon his return to Sudan speaks volumes about the cruel inhumanity of Guantanamo:

Sami al-Hajj had been in US custody for more than six years. He was detained in Afghanistan in 2001. He arrived in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on a US military plane in the early hours of Friday morning.

After a 16-month hunger strike, Mr Hajj grimaced as he was carried off the plane by US military personnel.

"I have been so overwhelmed with happiness that I've been in tears," he said shortly after his arrival.

"I have every right to cry after I've survived these seven horrid years of humiliation, repression and injustice for no fault on my part apart from being a Muslim."

Al-Jazeera showed footage of Mr Hajj being carried into the hospital on a stretcher, looking frail but smiling and surrounded by well-wishers.

"We are concerned about the way the Americans dealt with Sami, and we are concerned about the way they could deal with others as well," said Wadah Khanfar, managing director of al-Jazeera's Arabic service.

"His detention for six years, without the most basic due process, is a grave injustice and represents a threat to all journalists working in conflict areas," said Joel Simon, executive director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Mr Hajj was working as a cameraman for al-Jazeera when he was arrested by Pakistani troops near the Afghan border in December 2001 and later handed over to the US military.

I'm outraged. I'm outraged that my country would treat someone this way in violation of international law. I'm outraged that America would hold a journalist for more than six years without evidence. I'm outraged that an innocent man was tortured and abused.

But as much as all of these, I'm outraged that this story will only be noticed by the rest of the world. The American media will ignore the story of a fellow journalist unjustly incarcerated in favor of the latest celebrity scandal or political horse race sound byte. And they wonder why we're losing respect internationally.

Our current president has brought shame and disgrace upon our nation. For this crime, and countless others, he should stand before an international tribunal and face the consequences determined. I know that will only happen after Satan takes up driving a Zamboni, but it would be the only way to restore America's honor.


Mauigirl said...

Pygalgia, you said it all. It is a complete disgrace, and yet most Americans won't even be aware of it. No wonder this country is going downhill so rapidly.

FranIAm said...

Oh I weep and I rage.

It is so awful - the country is so numb now in general, so awash in its own problems that things will like this will get even less attention.

Sadly I think only real revolution will change things.

One Fly said...

Agreed franiam-revolution or a situation that literally forces tens of millions of Americans to drastically change their lifestyles. Along with that I think would come an awareness that it would be time to elect candidates that when they vote they do so in the best interests of us and our country and not what in the best interests of corporations.

ellroon said...

Well said, Pygalgia! Now the stories will start coming out, first in bits then in floods until the chorus of the tortured will drown out the naysayers.

To the Hague with them all!