I saw something on television last night where they talked with a lawyer who is now getting ready to take some of the men from Guantanamo to trial. AFTER 12 YEARS. These men were incarcerated at the beginning of Bush’s illegal war on Iraq. They have been held, without charge, and without hope for twelve years.
I don’t see these men (I assume they are all men) as my enemy. I see them as unfortunately mislead people. How to make peace with someone jailed, without charges lodged against them, for twelve years. An unthinkable situation for an American to consider. Since I’ve been taught since grade school, you are innocent until proven guilty, and are entitled to know the charges against you, as well as a speedy and fair trial.
None of this was done for these men. If they weren’t the enemy of the US, they are now, and why not? If you locked me up in prison in Iraq, I might expect to be treated badly, not charged, and kept alone with my anger for 12 years. I think I would grow to hate Iraq and all it’s people. Perhaps rightly so.
I don’t know why these men were arrested. I don’t know the charges against them. I don’t know how they have been treated, whether it was with kindness and compassion or a deep disregarding hatred, or simply disinterest on the part of their jailers.
To these men, I apologize on behalf of my derelict government. What has been done to them should not have been done to anyone arrested in America. It goes against all our basic principles of law. I do not understand why this has happened, and I am sure some of them are just as confused. If they weren’t an enemy of America before, they are very likely now to be very hateful to the US people. And I can’t blame them.
No one in the US (that I know of) has been in an uproar for the release or trial of these individuals, since they were first arrested. I don’t know where they came from, or what their affiliation to Al Queda might be. I’m sure our government doesn’t know either. Innocent until proven guilty…then why are they still in jail? I believe something was said that since these men were considered “war criminals” they could be held indefinitely without charge. A true atrocity of American Justice. And I for one am ashamed for my country.
Again I apologize to these men and say to them: I am not your enemy. I will never be your enemy. How can I hate you? I don’t know you, nor you me. Do you hate me? We could have a lot in common. We could be friends in other circumstances. Do you like to read? I love to read and could recommend many books to you, some very funny and odd, and others more serious and sad. Some of these books have obvious messages about which we could have long discussions.
Perhaps it is our religion that keeps us separate. What sort of good does that do: keeping people away from each other, hating and fearing what we do not understand. I do not know much about your (assumed) religious affiliation, but I am an Atheist and do not understand the need to kill for a god you cannot see, touch or hear. I do understand that others do not feel the same, however. Even so, could we not put aside our religious differences and be friends? I have been friends with many devoutly religious people, and even though I do not understand their need for god, I accept it, and I hope they accept my beliefs as well.
Speak to me, not in anger, but to help me understand your point of view. If only people would talk before they started shooting, the world would be a much better place, don’t you agree?
I wish these men a fair and speedy trial (at long last). I hope it is fair.
Know this though, I am not your enemy. I am no one’s enemy. For without enemies how could we ever have war?