“In a video that many may find difficult to watch, actor and rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) attempts to undergo a force-feeding procedure that has been used on hunger strike participants at the Guantanamo Bay prison. The demonstration, which Bey abruptly stops due to apparent discomfort, is part of a campaign protesting the force-feedings.”…”At more than 4 minutes long, the clip shows the Italian Job star -dressed in a bright orange jumpsuit – being restrained in a chair as anonymous medical personnel in scrubs attempt to force a plastic tube into his nostril. Bey is brought to tears during the procedure, eventually crying out for them to stop. Afterward, he tells the camera the ordeal was unbearably painful and made him feel like parts of his nose and throat were burning.”
The topic is beginning to garner national media attention as Islamic community leaders are asking the president to put a end to harsh procedure. As reported by the guardian.co.uk:
” Islamic community leaders are calling on the Obama administration to rethink its policy of force-feeding hunger-striking detainees in Guantánamo during the month-long fast of Ramadan that begins on Monday.
The US government has said that barring ‘unforeseen emergency or operational issues’ it will respect the daylight fast by trying only to force feed 45 detainees at night. Muslim groups say that by refusing to suspend the practice during Ramadan the US is adding insult to injury.”
“We believe it’s wrong to force feed at any time but it is particularly upsetting to do it through Ramadan,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman of the largest US Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, the Council On American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He said the situation was Kafkaesque: “It’s not just a religious issue, it’s also a human rights issue in violation of international norms and medical ethics.”
The video is extremely graphic, and regardless of your personal views on these detainees, the natural human reaction is empathy while watching this process. I definitely don’t know where to draw the line on what is “enough” when it comes to the treatment of people who are known terrorists. But while watching this video I definitely belief that, prisoner or not, some basic human rights are being violated here. And moreover, if it were American detainees getting treated like this in another country there would be country-wide outrage and the phrase “war crimes” would definitely be on the table.
On a positive note, even though this force feeding video was graphic, it is always great to see an entertainer use their celebrity to take a stance on an issue. Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) has never shied away from social issues and we applaud him for that. While we don’t expect entertainers to be the moral compass of our society, it’s definitely a breath of fresh air to see a few of them take a stand for their beliefs. Let us know what you think of video and the topic of force feeding.