The Mix

Dying for you to listen

Guantanamo detainee's suicide note addresses Americans
In the first suicide note to be declassified by the U.S. government, Jumah Al Dossari explains why he saw no other choice but to try to take his own life. Written back in October of 2005, this was one of a number of his thwarted suicide attempts. Jumah's lawyer Joshua Colangelo-Bryan discovered him hanging in his cell (read his account) with a deep gash in his arm. Jumah survived.

The U.S. military has concealed the true number of suicide attempts by reclassifying many attempts as "self-injurious manipulative behavior." True numbers are, therefore, impossible to come by. Former military linguist, Erik Saar, noted that when he was in Guantanamo back in 2003, suicide attempts were a weekly phenomenon.

One can only imagine how this rate has increased after three further years of detainment.

The numbers of detainess who are taking part in hunger strikes as a form of protest (and, simply, to die) are similarly skewed. Many detainees are accepting one out of every nine meals that they are served in order to escape the technical definition of "hunger strike" -- and subsequently avoid the violent forced feeding that those who skip nine meals in a row endure.

Stay tuned for the March 22nd arguments -- the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will consider the government's motion to dismiss Guantanamo detainees' right to challenge their ongoing imprisonment.

Jumah's letter:
In fact, I don't know where to begin… or how to begin… Josh, Khaled the interpreter… I feel very sorry for forcing you to see…It might be the first time in your life… to see a human being who suffered too much… dying in front of your eyes…I know it is an awful and horrible scene, but…I really feel sorry for you. There was no other alternative to make our voice heard by the world from the depths of the detention centers except this way in order for the world to re-examine its standing and for the fair people of America to look again at the situation and try to have a moment of truth with themselves… why was no conclusion reached with regard to the detainees in Guantanamo, Cuba until now? Till when this tragedy will continue? When will it end after all these years, and when will the detainees go back to their homelands, families, wives and children? When will this tragedy cease to continue… till when? The detainees are suffering from the bitterness of despair, the detention humiliation and the vanquish of slavery and suppression…
Josh, Khaled: Actually I spent nice hours with you… even though they were full of talking about my agonies, pains and grieves… I hope you will always remember that you met and sat with a "human being" called "Jumah" who suffered too much and was abused in his belief, self, in his dignity and also in his humanity. He was imprisoned, tortured and deprived from his homeland, his family and his young daughter who is in the most need for him for four years…with no reason or crime committed. Remember that there are hundreds of detainees in Guantanamo -Cuba - they are in the same situation of suffering and misfortune. They were captured, tortured and detained with no offense or reason. Their lives might end like mine… When you remember me in my last gasps of life before dying, while my soul is leaving my body to rise to its creator, remember that the world let us and let our case down… Remember that our governments let us down… Remember the unreasonable delay of the courts in looking into our case and to side with the victims of injustice…
Onnesha Roychoudhuri is assistant editor at AlterNet.
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