Within the last twenty-four hours, The Independent broke the news that the Grammy winning actor/rapper Ludacris will be performing at the controversial Guantanamo Bay military for their Fourth of July festivities.
He’s slated to headline their “Freedom Festival,” where he’ll perform for a crowd of about 6,000 military personnel.
WHILE WE RESPECT AND APPRECIATE OUR MILITARY PERSONNEL AND RECOGNIZE THEIR SACRIFICES, WE DO NOT SUPPORT GUANTANAMO BAY.
Guantanamo Bay is a cesspool of human rights and international law violations. This is not about denying our hard-working military personnel well-deserved entertainment, but about standing up for what is right and what is wrong.
Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it, and a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
The “Freedom Festival” is to celebrate July 4th, America’s “birthday.” But Guantanamo Bay is about as contrary to America’s founding values and freedoms as it can get; it is, in fact, one of America’s most anti-American endeavors.
EVIL PERSISTS WHEN GOOD MEN–AND WOMEN–REMAIN SILENT. BUT SOMETIMES SILENCE SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS, SO WE’RE ASKING THAT LUDACRIS NOT LEND HIS VOICE AND HIS CELEBRITY TO GUANTANAMO BAY.
As Khalood Kibria previously reported for Muslim Girl:
Guantanamo Bay is an American naval base-turned-detention camp located on the Southeastern tip of Cuba. In 1903, the American government signed a lease that granted them access to this site and allowed them to use it as a coaling station for U.S. Navy ships.
In 1934, former Cuban president/dictator Fulgencio Batista signed the Cuban-American Treaty, assuring the American government that Guantanamo’s lease would not be terminated without mutual consent from both countries. After Batista was overthrown during the 1959 Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro unsuccessfully tried to regain this piece of land.
Fast forward a little more than 40 years and we have 9/11. The American government and its Western allies started their “War on Terror” and in early 2002 — Guantanamo Bay was turned into a detention camp to imprison suspected terrorists.
Nearly 800 prisoners have spent time at Guantanamo Bay — all males, all Muslims. Ages of prisoners have ranged from 13 to 89, so yes, that means children have been detained at Gitmo too.
The boys and men were sold to the U.S. military for the price of anywhere between $3,000 to $30,000 dollars each. They were then brought to the infamous prison under suspicion of being terrorists — but nearly all of the prisoners were in fact noncombatants with no ties to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.
As a matter of fact, only three detainees have been convicted by American military commissions in the last 14 years.
Nine men have died in U.S. custody at Guantanamo, four of them under the Obama administration.
There are 91 men currently imprisoned there, 34 of whom have been cleared for release.
Fourty-seven of these 91 men are being unjustly held for indefinite detention without any charge or a trial — and according to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, when a detainee asks for a just trial or a lawyer, you should tell them, “Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.”
Treatment of Prisoners
Photos of men in orange jumpsuits chained to the ground have circulated around the web for years. That horrific image, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. The prisoners at Guantanamo endure an incredible amount physical and mental torture.
Waterboarding, sleep deprivation, isolation, threatening dogs, temperature extremes and sexual assault/humiliation are only some of the methods used to interrogate and torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
Many of the prisoners at Gitmo have often gone on hunger strikes to protest their treatment, in which scenario they are forcefully fed in an extremely painful and inhumane way.
Detainees who have been released from Guantanamo complain of carrying deep psychological scars that prevent them from leading normal lives or integrating back into society.
One of Guantanamo’s high-profile detainees, Omar Khadr, was arrested as a child and imprisoned in Guantanamo for 10 years, an experience he discusses in his documentary, “Omar Khadr: Out of the Shadows.”
Reasons to Close Guantanamo
Apart from the fact that Gitmo is literally America’s hub for practicing grave human rights violations, there are, in fact, a couple of other reasons that should compel everybody to show interest in the closure of this facility.
First of all, American taxpayers are paying an incredibly heavy price to keep Guantanamo Bay running. According to a Pentagon report, the annual cost to operate Gitmo in 2014 was approximately $397 million. That means that each U.S. taxpayer is paying about $78,000 annually to keep this prison functioning.
This enormous sum of money could undoubtedly be used to tackle a host of other problems that American citizens face on a daily basis, such as health care or Veteran affairs. Furthermore, Guantanamo Bay is (unsurprisingly) a hugely effective recruiting tool for actual terrorist and combatant groups.
GUANTANAMO BAY DETENTION CAMP CONTINUES TO OPERATE WITHOUT PROVIDING PRISONERS WITH THEIR RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL, AS THE LOCATION OF GUANTANAMO PLACES IT OUTSIDE THE REACH OF AMERICAN LAW.
The detention camp is frequently mentioned in propaganda generated by groups such as Al-Qaeda and most recently by ISIS. President Barack Obama has admitted that Guantanamo is “a propaganda tool for our enemies and a distraction for our allies.”
FOR LUDACRIS TO PERFORM HERE IS AN AFFRONT TO HIP HOP, A GENRE THAT ROSE UP AS RESISTANCE TO STRUGGLE, INJUSTICE, AND OPPRESSION.
In fact, fellow rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) once took part in a force-feeding demonstration, similar to the ones Gitmo detainees are subject to, to raise awareness of the torture and implicit human rights violations happening at Gitmo.
We believe that if Ludacris is educated on the politics, injustice, oppression, and overall gross human rights violations that lie behind the bars of Guantanamo Bay, that he will reconsider his decision to perform there, and save his bars for elsewhere.