I just ate an apple. Later, I’ll try to resist the temptation to munch on crackers. I keep hearing about the importance of a “clean diet.” I think that means no crackers. Maybe carrots instead?
As I make these decisions, I can’t help but compare them to the ones this torture survivor makes every day. If he eats, he will experience excruciating pain. If he wants to avoid the excruciating pain, he cannot eat.
This man weighs about 110 pounds. I have seen him through glass, in a makeshift courtroom at Guantanamo, and he seems frail, a wisp of a person, a man broken and hardly repaired. His name is Mustafa al Hawsawi. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA – OCTOBER 28 (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Will Guantánamo still be open a decade from now? What about in 2050, a half century after it opened? Years from now, will we still be protesting—every January 11– the grim anniversary of this site of injustice, torture and detention without charge? SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
To be a Muslim in America right now is to fear that your best days — your most ordinary days — are behind you. Anti-Muslim hate and fear-mongering is going mainstream, and the future is a startling unknown.
Many fear that the vicious rhetoric we are hearing is a harbinger of things to come: discrimination, harassment and violent attacks on Muslims, or people who look Muslim that spreads and even becomes a new normal. That could set the stage, one day in the not-so-distant future, for government policies like mandatory registration of Muslims and internment.
Could that really happen? Perhaps my background as an American Muslim makes me more sensitive to the possibility. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
For years, Amnesty International has witnessed public figures repeating misconceptions and inaccuracies about waterboarding. This American debate on torture has mostly got it wrong – here are three realities you need to know:
- Waterboarding is slow-motion suffocation
People who take the time to learn about Waterboarding see how horrific it is.
But many people don’t. Media and public figures often describe waterboarding as a form of “enhanced interrogation”—a euphemism that rationalizes and sanitizes torture. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
US President Barack Obama speaks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, in Windsor Mill, Maryland on February 3, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
I never thought it would happen, and it may never happen again. On Wednesday, President Obama visited a U.S. mosque for the first time in his presidency. He quoted from the Islamic holy book, the Quran. And he unequivocally denounced anti-Muslim hate.
This may sound uneventful, but it was actually bold. Muslims, Islam and the Quran are nearly dirty words in the U.S. political mainstream right now. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Can you imagine needing to write? What if you needed to write so badly that’d you use toothpaste instead of a pen, a Styrofoam cup instead of paper, if that’s all you had?
What would it be like if this writing – this poetry – was the only way to preserve your sanity? Your humanity?
That’s how it was – how it may still be – for the prisoners at Guantánamo. As the prison enters its 15th year of operation, there are 107 people still there, and most are held without charge. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
This week I traveled to Guantanamo naval station, on the southeastern tip of Cuba, to observe the military commission proceedings. So far, the thing that surprises me most about Guantanamo is how beautiful it is.
On the beaches here, stones crackle like fireworks as the waves recede over them. Green hills are dotted with yellow flowers. The breeze is the kind that gently stirs your appetite, or tempts you to nap in the shade.
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
A woman listens to speakers during the Stop Watching Us Rally protesting surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (Photo Credit: Allison Shelley/Getty Images).
Mass surveillance is not only a violation of our rights to privacy. It is a threat to Amnesty International’s research and global activism.
Amnesty reports on human rights violations worldwide. Our researches rely on confidential sources – witnesses and victims of human rights violations who put themselves at risk by sharing their stories. Our worst fear is that our sources are exposed, and that they, as well as their loved ones, could face retaliation.
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
I see this poster every day in the main hallway of our Amnesty International office: it depicts the Statue of Liberty and reads: “The America I believe in leads the world on human rights.”
It’s aspirational. And in too many ways, it’s proven the opposite of true. The United States is leading the world in perversely innovative human rights abuses, such as unlawful drone strikes and mass surveillance tapping into the Internet’s backbone.
And when it’s the US rather than another country committing human right abuses, there are additional consequences: the U.S. sets dangerous precedents for other nations to follow, while providing abusive regimes a ready-made excuse to flout their human rights obligations.
Still, I think there’s hope. July 4th is a celebration not just of U.S. nationhood, but of the country’s ideals and the best parts of its history. It’s those that I think of, when I hope for this:
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Yesterday, the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal informed Amnesty International that British intelligence agency GCHQ had spied on the human rights organization by intercepting and accessing its email communications. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST