It just seemed like a fitting week to pull out that quote. What with Monday’s MLK Day, Tuesday’s inauguration and now a beautiful, long-overdue series of executive orders issued by President Obama to reverse one of the most shameful legacies of the Bush Administration, it just seemed appropriate (there are some personal tie-ins too that I won’t comment on right now, other than to say the four of us are doing a lot better over here at ChezArtz).
These executive orders, which go a long way toward his inaugural promise not “to continue with a false choice between our safety and our ideals,” include:
- Ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within the year.
- Officially banning torture (who would have thought the land of the Bill of Rights would ever have to have such an executive order, but I’m glad we do in light of recent
human rights violationsevents).
- Calling for a review of all detention policies and procedures in the US (including a case-by-case review of the remaining Gitmo detainees’ cases).
- Halting the trial of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri until the review can be completed.
You can read more on CNN. I heard on NPR that Switzerland and other countries may be stepping up to take some of the detainees who are unable to go back to their native lands for political reasons, thus resolving one of the major sticking points of closing the facility (i.e. they certainly can’t come back to the US–I wouldn’t even want to imagine what their lives would be like if people found out they ‘might be terrorists’).
Is it too much to hope that, as the last prisoner leaves Cuba, we can close this dark chapter in our history and look forward to a new era in which we actually hold ourselves to the same standards that we hold others when it comes to human rights?
(How’s that for my first post in nearly 8 weeks??? Didn’t want you to think I’ve lost my edge!)