The New York Times this morning deserves credit for publishing one of the most powerful Op-Eds you will ever read. I urge you to read it in its entirety: it's by Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a Yemeni national who has been imprisoned at Guantánamo without charges of any kind for more than 11 years. He's one of the detainees participating in the escalating hunger strike to protest both horrible conditions and, particularly, the supreme injustice of being locked in a cage indefinitely without any evidence of wrongdoing presented or any opportunity to contest the accusations that have been made. The hunger strike escalated over the weekend when guards shot rubber bullets at some of the detainees and forced them into single cells. Moqbel "wrote" the Op-ed through an interpreter and a telephone conversation with his lawyers at the human rights group Repreive:
"I've been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.
"I've been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.
"I could have been home years ago - no one seriously thinks I am a threat - but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a 'guard' for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don't even seem to believe it anymore. But they don't seem to care how long I sit here, either. . . .
"The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one.
"I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen's president do something, that is what I risk every day.
"Where is my government? I will submit to any 'security measures' they want in order to go home, even though they are totally unnecessary.
"I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my family again and to start a family of my own.
"The situation is desperate now. All of the detainees here are suffering deeply. At least 40 people here are on a hunger strike. People are fainting with exhaustion every day. I have vomited blood.
"And there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made.
"I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late."