Friday, November 25, 2005

Massacre of the Innocents

It's a bit early in the church year to be thinking of the Massacre of the Innocents, but this brought it to mind, anyway:
The journalist knows the stories of all the detainees who occupied neighboring cells in Guantánamo. He mentions the taxi driver sold for $5000: "The Pakistanis had just made a raid to find Arabs close to al-Qaeda and hadn't found anybody, so they arrested him. The officer who sold him to the Americans told him: 'Look here, it's worth it to sell people like you to keep the Americans from coming to make war on Pakistan...'" He says the taxi driver is still at Guantánamo.
I had naively assumed Tom Gilroy was talking about a generic "taxi driver;" obviously, I was wrong.

Herod, says Matthew, feared the news of a new king born among the people of Judea; his people. Unable to get any definite information out of the Magi, he did the next best thing: he ordered the death of every male child under the age of 2 in Bethlehem.

And still he failed in his objective.

Matthew doesn't record the impact this had on Bethlehem, other than to quote Jeremiah:
In Rama was there a voice heard,
lamentation, and weeping, and
great mourning, Rachel weeping for
her children, and would not be
comforted, because they are not.
But somehow I think the impact was just as long lasting as it will be for Mr. Bader Zaman, even if history doesn't record it:
He's forgotten nothing of the pain, the humiliation, the solitude. American investigators took a year to clear him. And another year to free him. Beyond the revolting injustice to which he was victim, former journalist Bader Zaman denounces the arbitrariness of American detention centers.

He suffers from hypermnesia. It's twelve months since Bader Zaman was released from Guantánamo prison, but he remembers every detail of his detention. Not only the pain, the humiliation, the solitude, but also little things: dogs' breath, the scrape of the razor against his eyebrows, the accent of the creep who cried out over the megaphone to the other soldiers: "Don't show any sympathy for the terrorists!" He can't forget anything.

No comments:

Post a Comment