(FinalCall.com) – A picture is worth a thousand words and the photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse are worth millions. For the Black community, the pain of seeing these images ripped the scab off the wound of slavery and times after slavery when Blacks were subjected to similar horrors of torture, humiliation and death that were also photographed.
In the book, “Without Sanctu-ary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America,” White people stood by nonchalantly at the persecution and torment of Black people. The savagery wasn’t just rel-egated to Blacks, however. The book shows pictures of lynch-ings of Blacks, Whites and im-migrants.
What is it with not only committing these crimes, but also the documentation of these dastardly deeds? Why make a record of how monstrous a person can be?
There is a pattern of behavior that is manifested right down to the modern times.
Somewhere in America, every day Black people, Hispanic, Native American are being abused, beaten, stripped naked, bitten by prison dogs and dehumanized as animals in prison or jail cells, so we well know what these Iraqi people have suffered.
In a recent article in The New York Times, Fox Butterfield gives an account of several U.S. prisons where the abuse taking place at Abu Ghraib is standard operations to prison guards. He notes that the Maricopa County jail in Phoenix, Ariz., male inmates endure the humiliation of being forced to wear pink women’s underwear. In Wallens Ridge maximum security prison in Virginia, guards reportedly force black hoods over the heads of new inmates to prevent them spitting on them, they say.
Mr. Butterfield also writes that the reopening of the Abu Ghraib prison and the training of the guards occurred under the direction of Lane Cotter, a former director of the Utah Department of Corrections who was forced to resign in 1997 after the death of an inmate who had been shackled naked to a restraining chair for 16 hours. Mr. Cotter headed off to the torture house of Iraq, leaving behind an American history lesson in building a career at prison companies and institutions where abuse and mistreatment abounds.
For many Black, Brown, Red, Yellow and poor Whites who are incarcerated, this prison culture is nothing new–we face the horrors daily–without any worldwide outrage.
Paul Wright, editor and founder of Prison Legal News, told the Democracy Now! Radio program, during a May 10 appearance, that we should not be surprised that this culture of American prisons has carried over into Iraqi prisons.
“I think it just goes with the whole mindset-the military-like prisons,” said the former military police officer. “It’s a brutal dehumanizing environment where people are reduced to characters of human beings; they aren’t even seen as being human. That’s the key thing that makes these abuses possible, whether it’s in an American prison or overseas. People are no longer seen as being human.”
These horrors are nothing new. Look at this country’s rap sheet during war.
The Indians were killed and their skulls hung along a Maryland road now called Indian Head Highway. In 1968, the massacre of women, children and old men at My Lai Village under the command of Lt. William Calley in Viet Nam went unreported to the American public for more than a year until Seymour Hersh, the same journalist that re-vealed the Iraqi photos, broke the story.
Where is Lt. Calley today? Selling insurance somewhere in America.
The same lack of human decency shown in prior centuries and decades is only modernized today in Iraq to reflect the perverse degradation that exists in America. The prisoners were tortured and threatened with dogs, electrocution and humiliation. Their faith and culture were mocked on a daily basis in the name of softening them up for interrogators.
America cloaks herself in the rich fabric of decency and human compassion, but in reality she’s the same old beast, a wolf clad in the sheep’s clothing of international democracy and peacekeeper for the world. Could this be why America continues to coerce nations to enter into bilateral agreements that give amnesty to Americans so that they will not be charged with any crime before the International Criminal Court (ICC)? Regardless of how fast the U.S. government thinks it is running away from the truth, it cannot hide nor escape the time when its actions will be placed on the scales of justice, in front of an international court of law and ultimately in front of the Universal Judge, God Himself.
The “greatest country in the world’s” tenuous claim to moral authority has once again vanished like the illusion the descendants of slaves know. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was nothing more than a mirage, a smoke and mirrors trick to get the American public and the world to sanction war.
An Iraqi prisoner that was released told reporters that he would commit suicide before allowing himself to be detained by the Americans again. Another one admitted that he will be moving out of Iraq to escape the intense shame of being pictured nude at the abusive hands of American soldiers.
Who is to blame and who will be held accountable? Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will not be held accountable; the President has said he’s doing “a superb job.” Everyone is passing the buck. Whatever happened to the leader-ship saying “the buck stops here”? In this case, the leadership wants the world to know that the buck stops with some private first class, specialist or functional operative with no authority, instead of those with whom the real power rests. The world is justifiably outraged.
America has become a world criminal by invading tiny Iraq without provocation and committing similar atrocities that warranted the Nuremberg trials and the notoriety of Cambodia’s Pol Pot. Don’t tell us you’re not criminals, America, when you’re the origina-tors of crime and destruction. It’s in your blood the jail cells of Europe were emptied and those released came to America to help build a country where they could enjoy the freedom to commit future crimes.
People of goodwill all over the world are sickened by the photos and what was done. They wonder what manner of man is this, to force other men to participate in mock homosexuality and parade nude while wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods and handcuffs.
We, in the Nation of Islam, under the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad brought to us today by Minister Farrakhan, are not surprised by these activities. We are taught that the behavior of these Whites is like that of the skunk. This means that whatever they touch becomes affected with its stench. A skunk doesn’t go anywhere without spraying its odor, neither is it so with America. Wherever America goes, she carries and leaves behind an evil stench that reflects a certain mental attitude that is odious.
We are not apologists for White people or their behavior. We under-stand that they have never treated us right, those who helped build this country with blood, sweat and tears. What can the rest of the world expect? The photos say it all.
Minister Farrakhan is holding the door open to salvation from a country that is hell-bent on destroying itself. Will you be one of those that are clinging to the skirts of America for favors? Will you be like some of the White people who are writing to the Minister for guidance and direction in a time of trouble? Will you find salvation in the Nation of Islam, which has been an ark for our people for nearly one hundred years?