Tuesday, June 20, 2006
How 15 Feb 2003 reached Guantanamo Bay posted by bat020There's an interesting interview with Moazzam Begg, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee, in this week's SW. He describes how news of the global anti-war demos on 15 February 2003 managed to reach the detainees, despite them being cut off from all media contact and languishing in a legal black hole:
One of the guards in Guantanamo who volunteered for two tours of Vietnam – so he’s no tree hugger – told me that people in Britain had demonstrated in their millions.
It came as a huge breath of fresh air, especially after my experiences of the British government and intelligence services. I thought nobody in Britain cared except my family and friends. When I heard about people taking part in the demonstrations in their masses I started to redefine how I thought.
Since I’ve returned to Britain I have found there has been an alliance of Muslims and non-Muslims based on justice which is preventing the proliferation of war – my experience has been very positive.
There's also some interesting comments on civil rights and how the anti-war movement has affected the notion of a British Muslim identity. Read the whole thing here.
On a similar note, I remember a friend of mine telling me how the big Stop the War demos are always covered in depth on al-Jazeera – and how this had positively influenced the Arab view of ordinary people in the West. "Every time you go on these marches you're marching through 20 million living rooms across the Middle East," was how he put it. Worth remembering next time you feel frustrated at getting blanked by the Beeb yet again.