Voices from Guantanamo
Apropos my last post, my father showed me this incredibly powerful video. It is just a series of interviews with British Guantanamo detainees who have been released. The video is called "Voices from Guantanamo", and it does give us some of the voices that have been completely silenced by their captives, voices that have been completely absented from our debates. These people happen to know our cultural mores and way of talking. But most of the prisoners are not so lucky.
The American philosopher Richard Rorty points out that moral progress (so to speak) and activism grow out of stories that force us to include other narratives and ways of speaking in our understanding of ourselves and our communities. According to him, stories are in fact the only way "moral progress" happens.1 The political activism that follows stems from the moral convictions acquired through stories. These kinds of videos become an important tool in remembering exactly what imprisonment without trial, without limits actually means. Why we have a justice system and why legal checks and balances are important.
1. If you know the work of Richard Rorty, you'll know why I put the phrase in quotes. If not, well: long story.