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April 23, 2007 | by  | in Film |
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The Road to Guantánamo

Paramount April 8, 10

With the sham trial and conviction of David Hicks, attention has been on with what Amnesty International has called “the gulag of our times,” – Guantánamo Bay Prison. This prison has become synonymous with illegal detention, torture, and the defiling of human rights.

As part of the American government’s defence of freedom, they have forced Hicks to sign a document saying he or anyone connected to him will not talk about his treatment in Guantánamo for one year. Fortunately for the world, there are others who have gotten out of Guantánamo and have not been gagged.

The most well known of them are the “Tipton Three,” three British/Pakistani youths whose story is told in The Road to Guantánamo. In September 2001, Asif Iqbal went to Pakistan for his arranged marriage. After arriving there, he invited three friends, Monir Ali, Shafiq Rasul, and Rhuhel Ahmed, to come for the ceremony. For the four boys this vacation is about catching up with family, sightseeing, and goofing off. After hearing an Imam put out a call to help the Afghan people, they decide to hop on a bus for the border. Their main motivation seemed to be a sense of adventure, but once they get to Afghanistan they are soon in well over their heads. In the chaos of the American invasion, Monir disappears and the other three were taken prisoner by the US-backed Northern Alliance. The conditions of their captivity in Afghanistan are incredibly brutal, and they were relieved when an American officer comes to the prison they are being held in. However this marks the beginning of the real ordeal: two years of beatings, torture, and inhumane living conditions in Guantánamo Bay.

The Road to Guantánamo shows the real face of imperialist intervention. The film is part-documentary and part-horror, and it’s not easy to watch. But the consequences of turning away may be even harder to live with.

MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM AND MAT WHITECROSS

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