Thursday, September 28, 2006

Slavery and Gitmo

I believe that it is well-established by now that most of the detainees in Gitmo were actually rounded up from rival tribes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc., for a cash bounty from the United States.

Detainee--such a nice euphemism. In the 18th and 19th centuries, men and women were rounded up from rival tribes for a bounty, which started out as trinkets such as beads and ended up as guns and gold. Those men and women weren't called "detainees", they were called "slaves".

"Slaves" were kept in chains unless they were in places where they could be monitored well enough that it was a fairly safe bet that they would not be able to run. A fenced-off and heavily guarded set of buildings worked quite well.

They were subjected to beatings and rape and murder by their captors, for any "reasonable" offense, such as "fomenting rebellion". There was no recourse in court for these people, since they did not count as a full "person", they were only worth 3/5ths of a person, and as that only in the case of ascertaining how many Representatives to the United States House of Representatives the state in which they were enslaved would receive.

The only way out for these "slaves" was through death, which only solidified their Christian faith that was forced upon them by their captors, as a way of decreasing the risk of running by reinforcing the concept that they would reap great rewards in the afterlife as a reward for their miserable existence on this earth. This is one of the reasons that Evangelical Christianity remains a very strong aspect of minority culture in this country. The hope that there has to be something better than this helps one endure this life with dignity and strength.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery in this country. "Detainees" who will never be brought to trial because of lack of evidence are, by definition, people who were sold to bounty hunters for cold, hard cash.

Where I come from, that is the very definition of slavery.

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