the Disillusioned kid: I hear Cuba's lovely at this time of year...
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Saturday, May 20, 2006

I hear Cuba's lovely at this time of year...

Dan once described Guantanamo Bay - known as 'Gitmo' to those of us down with the kids - as "[B]entham's panopticon in the 21st century, an institution of total control where surveillance is complete and freedom is evaporated." The situation he describes seems an accurate assesment of what the American administrators would like the camp to be, but the inmates seem to have a different idea. Following hunger strikes and attempted suicides, they yesterday instigated a small-scale insurrection, attacking their captors with rudimentary weapons fashioned from fans and light fixtures. The BBC suggests that guards -armed with pepper spray and "non-lethal shotgun rounds" - took an hour to "quell" the uprising.

Facing overwhelming odds and an enemy who have shown themselves to have little compunction about utilising extreme violence there was never any chance of the uprising amounting to much, although if only the protagonists weren't Muslims one can imagine Hollywood producers fighting over the film rights. Nevertheless, it has helped to keep the festering sore on the world's (already deeply troubled conscience) that Gitmo represents, in the forefront of people's minds, perhaps helping to expediate its long-awaited demise. The fortuitous timing of the uprising has helped to foucus attention on contemporaneous calls on the part of the UN Committee against Torture - part of the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights - for the closure of Gitmo.

In a not unrelated story I was amazed to discover in the latest issue of New Internationalist that Gitmo has its very own branch of Starfucks. Yes that's right, after a hard day or torturing brown skinned men with beards you can relax with a warm Mocca-chocca-latte-chino and forget about the difficulties of life on the frontline in the "War on Terror." (See here for more on this.)

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