Five Years of My Life

Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man in Guantanamo by Murat Kurnaz is a story of a man born, raised and living in Germany although he is Turkish. (Unlike the U.S. being born in Germany doesn't make you a citizen.  There you go Tea Baggers, run with it. But I digress.)  Anyhow, Murat was somewhat an average guy growing up as a German Turk.  In his teen and young adult life he was busy having fun and running around.  But once he met the girl whom he wanted to marry, he decided to reconnect with his Islamic faith and become a good Muslim.  Knowing his family would not approve, he and a friend planned and then left to study Islam in Pakistan.  Ordinarily that wouldn't have been a problem except they went in October of 2001, just as the U.S. began it's invasion of Afghanistan…  

After spending a couple of months traveling around and studying at various madrassas in Pakistan, his world changed dramatically.  While on a bus at a checkpoint the Pakistani military detained him.  After a short time he was told he would be released.  Hours turned into days and then weeks.  He was interrogated by the Pakistani military and later sold to the U.S. Military for a $3000 bounty paid for foreign fighters in Afghanistan.  The obvious problem being that he'd never been to Afghanistan.  At least not until he was transported and held by the U.S. Military in a prison in Kandahar.  While there he was interrogated as well as mistreated.  After two months he was flown to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where he became prisoner #61 living in a cage.

Once at Guantanamo the story continues with an endless routine of interrogation, torture and general mistreatment at the hands of the U.S. military.  At the same time there were promises of being released if he just told them what he had done in Afghanistan as an Al Qaida fighter.  Again, a problem as he'd never been there.

This routine of interrogation, torture and mistreatment continues on and off with varying degrees of severity for nearly all of his time in U.S. Military custody.  During his time at Guantanamo he was visited several times by other foreign intelligence and government representatives.  Many time he was told he shouldn't be there and the he would be released.  Finally in August 2006, Murat was released, with an acknowledgment that he was innocence.

The story is a very compelling, yet appalling read of the mistreatment of others by the U.S. military on my and your behalf as an American citizens.  The mistreatment of people at the most basic human level has clearly been violated.  War isn't pleasant and often it's downright horrible.  But to violate a person's basic human rights is not acceptable.  Not by anyone, particularly someone who is operating on my behalf.  The governments refusal to deal with detainees within the constraints of the Geneva Convention, in my opinion is simply wrong.  They may not be part of a standing army, but they were detained in relation to a military action.  And in cases such as this one, apparently in error.  If you are an American citizen I highly encourage you to read this or other books regarding the actions you government has taken in your name.  You can disagree with me, but you should be informed.
September 6, 2010 @ 09:58 pm | Category:
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