The Road to Guantanamo
The detention of enemy combatants at the Marine Base at
The Road to Guantanamo tells the story of three British citizens who ended up there and what they endured for over two years before they proved their innocence and were released. The “Tipton Three” (referring to their home town near
The film is a mixture of interviews, as the real Tipton Three tell their story, news footage, and dramatizations of the events. The film flows almost seamlessly between these as the story unfolds.
It begins when Asif Iqbal sets off for
While there, they attend a mosque where the imam calls for people to go to
In time the three Britons are handed over to the
After over two years, they are released and returned to their homes in
It should be noted that this film tells the Tipton Three’s story. It does not seek verify the story nor tell the stories of others in the camps or of those who oversaw the interrogations and torture. Given the situation they were captured in, it was certainly possible that they could have been involved with terrorists. In the story, those investigating accept as a fact that they were terrorists. No one ever tried to determine if they were or not. The interrogators used that assumption and moved on. The men were judged guilty without any trial or real investigation.
The power of this film is to be found in the indictment of US (and British) policy. At one point in the middle of the film, after we know that these are innocent men locked up for being in the wrong place, there is a clip of President Bush stating that the detainees in
We see terrible tortures and dehumanization done by our military. The whole approach is to get the prisoners to talk, and in time, they do – they tell their interrogators whatever they want to hear.
This film will raise a good deal of controversy because it is critical of American policy. It should be noted that it really doesn’t spend very much time speaking of that policy or placing it within a wider context – only showing the result of the policy on these three young men.
Although the film indicts our policy, we should also understand that it indicts our sense of justice to allow such a thing to exist. The
What relationship do we have to these things done in our name? Are we willing to allow three innocent men (or more) to be so brutalized so that we can feel safe? Are we willing to look the other way so we won’t be bothered by such sights? Will we, like the priest and Levite of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, pass by on the other side of the road?
I should note that about a week after I saw the film screened, three detainees hung themselves in the cells at