Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Road to Guantanamo

I watched this excellent drama documentary on Thursday evening on Channel 4. I am not surprised that this film won the prestigious Silver Bear for Direction for Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross in competition at The 56th Berlin International Film Festival.

The viewer feels like he is watching a holiday video, a bit like Holiday Showdown. It follows the men from Tipton in the West Midlands as they go to Pakistan to visit relatives and holiday with them. As an extra holiday adventure they take a trip into Afghanistan, the culture is different and the scenery rugged driving through the mountains. I was inspired by the road trip through these mountains and the life of ordinary people living their normal lives. This was not a tourist trap holiday but a real, meet the people, experience. The Afghans are so poor, yet so friendly to these young men. Then their holiday video turns into a Holidays from Hell video as war breaks out and they are running for their lives. They witness the shock and horror of war on the civilians. But it gets worse, they are captured by the Northern Alliance and are treated very roughly with other people murdered alongside them. The Northern Alliance then hand the guys over to the Americans who treat them worse than dogs and send them to Cuba.

You see the appalling treatment metered out by the Americans to the civilians they have captured and taken to Guantanamo Bay. The Geneva Convention is not upheld by the Americans and their treatment of the prisoners is disgusting. All the prisoners are held without trial in this hell on earth. Torture is part of the routine and there seems no end in sight. Luckily the guys from Tipton are eventually released and after a debriefing from UK police are sent home without charge.

This drama documentary was a tale of their holiday from hell. I feel really sorry for the guys from Tipton, the civilians murdered in Afghanistan and the prisoners still held without trial in Guantanamo Bay.

Shame on you America for killing civilians in a country that is of no threat to you.

Shame on you America for ignoring basic human rights and the Geneva Convention.

Thank you Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross for bringing this appalling tale into the public domain.
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