Why is Guantánamo Bay prison camp still open after 21 years? This is a question that is asked every January for the past twenty years. It is my opinion that we, as Muslims, are missing the point. The United States of America is a nation-state. It has interests. Interests are always balanced by other powers interests as well. America has sustained bad publicity regarding the Guantanamo Prison Camp. It damaged their reputation and exposed their hypocrisy. However, that’s pretty much the extent of the damage. New presidents have come and gone and they each blame the previous administration and so there is no accountability as there is no balancing power to keep the interests of the US from becoming completely oppressive.
Unfortunately apathy from the Muslim Ummah has been our biggest reason for failing to secure the release of the detainees.
Lets talk numbers:
779 men and boys were or are currently detained at the prison camp
3 have been convicted out of 779 and 2 of those 3 convictions have been through plea deals
35 are still detained
27 have never been charged with a crime
14 have been cleared for release years ago but still remain
9 have died in custody
41 suicide attempts
These numbers alone don’t even tell the story of systemic torture of the detainees but they are enough to say that Guantánamo Bay Prison Camp is a disaster for this ummah. It’s a disaster for obvious reasons but I’m speaking specifically about the brothers and sisters of this ummah. It is clear that the leadership of Muslim majority states have no interest in using whatever leverage they have against the US to pressure them for the release of the detainees. So the result is that the best the ummah can come up with against the blatant persecution of Muslims is to hold demonstrations in January of each year. Please don’t misunderstand me, I applaud all of those efforts of those brothers and sisters who organize these events. However the ummah needs to show more outrage.
The Ummah of Islam represents 24% of the total population on this planet. If our voices were heard just through the marketplaces around the world it is enough to scare off even big powers like the US. What if the Muslims around the world organized a boycott of all Chinese products in response to the persecution meted out to the Uyghurs in East Turkistan? Would China hear our voices? I think they would. What we need are some strong men and women to make these non-governmental calls to the people and galvanize them. Are you one of those people dear readers?