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Though this case is focused on the means of force-feeding Guantanamo inmates, the backdrop is the continued existence of this netherworld prison which President Barack Obama vowed to close but which Congress has insisted be kept open.
As the public proceedings got under way on Tuesday, the indomitable advocate for justice, Eve Tetaz, removed her jacket to reveal an orange T-shirt with "SHUT DOWN GUANTANAMO" on the front, and "STOP TORTURE; WWW.WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE.ORG" on the back. But orange T-shirts were apparently a violation of courtroom etiquette and, after a brief scuffle, Eve was removed.
We extracted a promise from the guard that she would be allowed back in the courtroom but, instead, she was evicted from the building. We later learned that she was spared "forced cell extraction" treatment. Eve was merely handcuffed and then, with faux solicitousness, the Federal Protective Service, having successfully protected us all from Eve, condescendingly freed her to go home and sin no more.
Otherwise, Judge Gladys Kessler has done us a great favor in insisting that Dhiab v. Obama be a substantially open proceeding, so that even plain folks like you and me can go and watch. The more daunting task is to find ways to tell our fellow citizens what we have seen.
If anything qualifies for the description of a festering boil, Guantanamo does. We would do well to follow Dr. Martin Luther King's dictum (in his Letter from the Birmingham City Jail) on how to deal with boils:
"Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured."