Mos Def undergoes force-feeding

Although President Obama has called the Guantánamo Bay detention facility a stain on America’s reputation and ordered its closure shortly after he took office in 2009, the facility continues to house 166 men, nearly half of whom have been cleared for release.

Many of the men have languished in Guantánamo Bay for years (some even a decade), and approximately 100 of them have reportedly gone on a hunger strike to protest their indefinite imprisonment.

Officials at the facility currently force-feed 44 detainees, a move many have called inhumane. As Ramadan—Islam’s holy month, in which participants fast from sunrise to sunset—approaches, many are calling on the Obama Administration to cease force-feeding Muslim detainees.

Though officials have said they will try to observe only nightly feeding hours, lawyers for the men argue that the process is “painful” and “degrading.” In a July 4 petition, attorneys argued:

“Force-feeding all 45 detainees during the night would leave just ten hours and 44 minutes for respondents to implement two force-feedings for up to an hour of feeding time and four hours of total observation time, which could require dozens of restraint chairs and hundreds of staff.”

Rapper and actor Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), aimed to increase awareness of force-feedings at Guantánamo Bay by agreeing to undergo the procedure on camera. During the heartbreaking video, Bey is strapped to a chair, held down, and struggles to prevent a tube from being inserted into his nose.

Unlike the detainees, Bey is able to stop the procedure once it gets too painful, and tearfully explains his experience. The video was produced by Reprieve, a human rights organization, and released to the press. A spokesperson for the group chided the Obama Administration for continuing the force-feedings, arguing the President could act, but lacks “the political courage to do so.”

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  • Huey

    Some of you Obama supporters are straight f’in ridiculous! Releasing prisoners who are wrongfully held (e.g. w/o charge or trial) is as simple as starting/continuing an illegal war (e.g. Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, etc.) or embarking on a occupation (e.g. Africom)!!! Obama has committed any number or illegal acts and many of you want to make it seem as though it’s too difficult for him to so the moral or ethical thing. People should be reminded that once Obama was elected for his first term, the Democrats had control of both the House and the Senate. What was the excuse then? There was absolutely NO DAMN reason he couldn’t have closed Guantanamo. Not only did he not close Guantanamo he supported the opening of Bagram in Afghanistan… the kinder more gentler Guantanamo… NOT!!! So many of you sound like white people who supported George W Bush no matter how criminally stupid he got or how harmful his policies were for the American public. You refuse to see the obvious which is that Obama’s policies are nothing more than an absolute continuation of the Bush era policies. Only a grossly uninformed person wouldn’t be able to see this.

    How do you justify a damn “Kill-list”?!?!?! No trial, no charge, no apprehension, no judicial oversight, no public approval required… just kill people?!?!?! Some of us black folks just like a whole lot of white folks are too damn blind and uninformed to vote responsibly. Just one man’s opinion.

    • stef

      i agree with a lot you said, while i respect President Obama i still thinks it laughable that he received a Noble Peace Prize. Did Mandela have a kill list when he received this award?

    • Huey

      Exactly. Thx for the affirmation that my perspective is valid. It seems sometimes that we’ve transitioned into some compromised reality or parallel plane where facts and empirical evidence mean nothing with the only thing that mattering is what people “feel” as opposed to what people think. It’s amazing to recognize that people in general can seldom communicate or even recognize their own train of thoughts on how they’ve come to believe in the things they believe. Not realizing that their thoughts are not their own but were in fact given to them by mainstream news, radio talk show hosts, and barbershop patrons.

      Question: “Why did you vote for the president?”
      Answer: “He seems like a nice guy, strong character, great smile, seems like the kind of guy you could have a drink with…”

      How about the policies he’s supported during his political career. Shouldn’t that be material?!?!? Not in America because most of us DO NOT read or pay attention to dry boring empirical evidence and facts.

    • Huey

      It’s insane that in the information age where a person can literally become an expert on any topic under and above the sun thanks to the internet, people are more uninformed and uncritical than every before.


    People kill me I tell ya! They want a safe and secure world where democracy rules but are uncomfortable with the ways that result is reached. FYI YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS! It’s either you want a safe place to live or you don’t. To be completely honest, the black unemployment rate and violence in Chicago worries me more than a bunch of suspected terrorist and terrorist being tortured. If I sound callous oh freaken well..

    • It’s never this black and white. I want justice and safety but not at any costs. Never at ANY cost.

    • Huey

      “…They want a safe and secure world where democracy rules but are uncomfortable with the ways that result is reached.” Another comment from a person obviously too unlearned and uninformed to vote responsibly.
      Democracy is and is intended to be representative governance. The elected leaders govern based on the will of the people. The people’s comforts and discomforts is SUPPOSED to be of extreme importance to the elected officials lest the people revolt or displace that leader (History 101). You speak as if the “comfort/discomfort” of the people should be of lesser importance to public policy. How ignorant!!! You obviously have no idea how a Democracy is SUPPOSED to work.
      “…FYI YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS! It’s either you want a safe place to live or you don’t.” Ignorant, ignorant, ignorant!

      You’re eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a terrorist (National Safety Council). Likely much higher if you’re a black male by comparison to any other demographic group. But you sure as hell will never hear a politician wage war on police brutality will you? Think about it.

      Fear makes people stupid( hence it is a favorite tool of politicians to manipulate the masses hence the “War on Terror”. How in the hell can you have a war on a concept?!?!?! That’s as idiotic as having a “War on Excitement” or better yet a “War on Boredom”. Yea, maybe we should elect officials who’ll start implementing policy to fight boredom or excitement. Sounds pretty idiotic huh?

      George Carlin made a hell of a point when he stated dumb dishonest politicians aren’t as much a problem as the unintelligent, uninformed, overly emotional populous who elect them… over and over… and over again.


      Greetings Huey,

      First off, like most American’s who attended the public k-12 school system in America I was taught the same regurgitated history lessons over and over, even in my college mandatory history courses, so I have a basic understanding of government.

      Although in my initial comment I mentioned that we were a democracy, in all actuality we are a republic. We the people elect individuals that represent our interests.

      In addition, I notice in your statement that you make the assertion that since I made the pronouncement: “They want a safe and secure world where democracy rules but are uncomfortable with the ways that result is reached.” You assume that I believe the government or whoever has the right to impeach and disregard our civil liberties, that is not the case!

      I see the world for what it is, NOT as it should be! “In the Middle East, violence is not only considered a valid form of political action, it is considered by many the most valid form of action.” I am completely aware that Muslims are not the only type of terrorist. Generally speaking people of those parts of the world have a disdain for western fronts for various reasons. But for one I know for certain, we invade their country, take what we want then leave. I can understand how that can get the blood flowing. Almost everyday there’s a bomb going off over there.

      In certain circumstances the end does justifies the means.

      I may be playing the devils advocate but Why don’t you think there haven’t been more terrorists attacks on U.S soil?
      I’ll answer it because of the preventative measures that’s why. From the Patriot Act, to the huge money amounts that we’ve allotted to that area and even the intrusive airport security it all plays a part in the safety of American citizens.

      DONT GET ME WRONG… its unfortunate that there will be innocent men and even women who are accused of doing heinous things and that makes me sad but nothing is failsafe… Not your seatbelts, security alarm, airbags and even the good old justice system.

    • Huey

      “I may be playing the devils advocate but Why don’t you think there haven’t been more terrorists attacks on U.S soil?
      I’ll answer it because of the preventative measures that’s why.”

      Thanks for allowing me to make the most valid point I can make in this discussion thread. The reason why another “terrorists” attack hasn’t occurred is because the threat DOES NOT EXIST!!! The threat IS NOT REAL!!! If over 10’s of thousands undocumented immigrant can cross the US/Mexican border yearly don’t you think it would be possible to get a small army of well-funded, well-resourced terrorist across the border as well??? You probably couldn’t tell the difference between someone of Arabic descent and someone of Mexican descent by outward observation. So if it’s possible to get at minimum 100 or more well-funded, well-resourced terrorist across the border then you think that any preventative measure would stop them from committing another terrorist act??? No, it wouldn’t. How can you really think that the US government can prevent terrorism through implementing a totalitarian police state when they can’t even prevent high-school shootings?!?!? A well-trained “terrorist” on one hand, a pimply-faced teen-ager on the other. You’re assumption although common is so grossly flawed. News flash, in a free society you CAN”T prevent terrorism expect by being a good global citizen which our government is not.

      Do you really think that the Patriot ACT, NDAA 2012, etc… really prevents terrorism. If so then you can say that you are truly a 21st century American.

      Your logic is grossly flawed because you assume causality between two things that aren’t necessarily related. Kind of like saying my home has never been broken into because I keep a plant near the front door. Never mind the fact that you have a 120 lb. attack dog in your home.