Monday, February 05, 2007

"Why I Defend Terrorists"

An excellent article by Anant Raut, an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, on why he donates his time to represent pro bono 5 individuals at Guantanamo Bay that have been labelled terrorists by the US government, but have yet to be charged for any crime.

3 comments:

IBA0505 said...

I really enjoyed this article. The injusticies towards and prejudices about people with certain skin colors have always been running themes in the world's history. The idea of discriminating against or judging someone on that basis seems archaic at first glance, but I see it everyday. When my boyfriend, who's also Indian, doesn't shave his beard before going to an airport, he will undoubtedly get stopped by security every time. Is this right? Should people be allowed to do that?

Terrorism has become taboo in the classroom, so I jump at the opportunity to address it in this setting. People don't want to talk about it, and get defensive when they hear about it for so many reasons. In GOV223, we briefly discussed the idea that certain developing areas in the world could potentially be "breeding grounds" for terrorism, and it is those regions that should be the focus of debate in American politics - if not for aiding development, than certainly potential security reasons.

What are others' opinions about American attitudes towards the fear of terrorism?

Zain said...

Do we really know what constitutes terrorism in the post 9/11 world? What acts if committed by an individual make him/her a terrorist? and most importantly, what is motivating these 'terrorists' to blow them selves up with bombs? These questions form the kernel of the entire debate revolving around terrorism today.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the word 'terrorism' made a return to news headlines as every single person somehow related to Taliban was labeled as a terrorist. Be it a tribal Pakistani living along the border with Afghanistan, or an Afghani who helped Taliban's regime under durress, no one was spared when the might of the United States set forth to elimante terrorists from the globe. The indiscriminate use of the word 'terrorist' set the precedent for every single country to name its dissident elements as 'terrorists.' Remember the Uighur Muslims living in China who have been linked to International terrorism after 9/11!
Yes, the word terrorism is a taboo, but at the smae time it has also become a part of the popular culture. How many times, while listening to Pres. Bush, do you feel that you have been transformed to the cold-war era? The rhetoric coming from the higher ranks of the US Government is reflecting an attitude where American soldiers are fighting against 'Fascist Islam.' The current administration if fighting terrorism just like Truman fought against Communism. And we all know how many innocents were engulfed by the ferovr of McCarthyism. Unfortunately, the 'terrorism phenomenon' is still in full momentum and a fair number of detainees at Guantanamo, CIA facilities in Eastern Europe and Africa, and numerous other detention centres operated by the allies consists of innocents who happened to be at wrong place at wrong time.

morgan marks said...

I always cherished the idea that I had about America – a place where we should feel blessed to be free, a place where people did not have to fear daily about their life circumstances, a place where people could come, and live out the ‘American Dream.’ Part of me wants to hold on to those beliefs, but in this changing world it seems impossible. There are signs of fear everywhere, and that to me, is exactly what ‘our enemies’ want. I hate saying that… ‘our enemies.’ In a previous class I repeatedly stated that we are all blessed by location, for if we were born from a different mother, we could be living somewhere else, much less fortunate than we all are now. Geography and education have granted us the ability to think… and I hope we all don’t take that for granted. Yet, I find so many students still holding on to absurd beliefs, and judging people whether it be for something as serious as race, or something as petty as what they’re wearing. And then you look to the scope of the world and see where they get it from… innocent people being captured for crimes they did not commit. Going back to the fear thing – take our airports. We are all told we should be two hours early for our flight because of security. This is all fine and good, but maybe not? I’ve heard people say instead of protecting our airports we should be using the money to protect our borders… has anyone seen the clip online of the man on the elephant riding across the Mexico/U.S. border… it’s actually pathetic. What bothers me more, is so many immigrants would die to get here. Die for it. Whether they come on foot, or by boat, or plane… they risk everything to come here, and then when they come here – whether they are first or tenth generation, all in a matter of minutes their freedom could just be taken away. It is sickening. Everyone has fear – it is a primary emotion that drives people in so many circumstances and situations in life… but having fear and acting on it to take away someone’s liberty are two very different things. If you ask me, religion is such a key element in the whole terrorist debate. Zain asked what motivates the terrorists to blow themselves up? Maybe I don’t know enough, actually I don’t know enough to really speak to this, BUT, I do know that people believe in religion, and religion guides believers. I’m reading the book God, Sex and Politics, and Dawne Moon, a homosexual ethnographer is discussing how Christians compare homosexuals to handicapped people and drunkards. Moon talks about how the Bible is interpreted to mean what people want it to mean and what their life experiences have taught them – so they take the scripture and the written words, along with life experiences, and shape it to make it what they believe. Religion is about interpretation… so it seems to me. The terrorists then, have their own set of beliefs – going against the ideologies of America. They too, acted with hate and fear… both primary emotions, which in a different class I have on emotion – we are taught makes people react and act in crazy irrational ways. Terrorists can be taught from birth to believe certain things about certain people, and when people are raised in a culture that hates America – how do you combat that? I never realized the full extent to the problem of so many different religions and so many different interpretations. Going back to the initial article, as I was reading, I kept thinking, yes – great point, he is so right. Those people who may not have the money, and may not know our language deserve someone to stand up and defend them – to look past what our government has said – and to find the truth. Putting judgment on a person because you assume is not always the best course of action, but what is? Yes, we need to protect our country, but at what cost to those innocent lives – 5 years lost… for what… clearly something/some people are having communication problems, and many innocent people are losing precious time because of it. So many immigrants just want a better life, a chance to start fresh, to try to forget their past, and try for a better future – America needs to make sure that its’ decisions are the right ones, the moral ones, and the ones its’ people will stand behind. People mess up, but a whole country should not make such grave mistakes.