World | USA

The world remembers again, but Guantanamo is forgotten

World stops to remember events of September 2001, but the gulag of Guantanamo Bay remains open

  • Gulf News Report
  • Published: 17:52 September 11, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and members of the White House staff pause during a moment of silence to mark the 11th anniversary of the Sept, 11th, Tuesday, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
Image 1 of 5

Memories remain raw of 11 years ago on Tuesday when Al Qaida hijackers slammed two passenger planes into the World Trade Center in New York, destroying its iconic Twin Towers, and a third into the Pentagon building in Washington

A fourth plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field when the passengers valiantly overpowered the hijackers.

Almost 3,000 people were killed that day in the worst attacks on American soil.

The 9/11 remembrances unite Americans like almost no other event. According to some polls, 97 per cent of people remember where they were when they heard the news, on a par with John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

But this year, the memorials are fewer, quiter.

Washington National Cathedral, for example, plans to mark the attacks with prayers at its regularly scheduled services, rather than hold a larger commemoration event. In past years, the cathedral hosted a larger commemoration that included presidents and other leaders.

On Tuesday, bagpipes played at the year-old September 11 memorial in New York, with families clutching balloons, flowers and photos of their loved ones bowed their heads in silence at 8:46am, the moment that the first hijacked jetliner crashed into the trade center's north tower.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama observed the moment in a ceremony on the White House's south lawn.

Obama said the attacks 11 years ago filled Americans with questions about the origins of terrorism and how America should respond to it.

“The last decade has been a difficult one, but together, we have answered those questions and come back stronger as a nation,” he noted.

But 11 years on, Guantanamo Bay detention centre remains open — with no sign it will close anytime soon. On his first day in office, Obama signed an executive order on its closing — that has been shelved.

“Guantanamo has come to symbolise a systematic failure by the USA to respect human rights in its response to the 9/11 attacks,” said Rob Freer, Amnesty International’s researcher on the USA. “The US government disregarded human rights from day one of the Guantánamo detentions ... this failure continues,”

Amnesty highlights the case of Zayn Al Abidin Mohammad Hussain, more commonly known as Abu Zubaydah, was arrested in March 2002 in Pakistan. He was handed over to the US and held in secret detention at various undisclosed locations by the CIA until 4 September 2006 when he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay.

He was subjected to waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002. He was also allegedly subjected to years of solitary confinement and incommunicado detention, stress positions, beatings, forced prolonged nudity, sleep deprivation, use of loud music, exposure to cold, prolonged use of shackles, threats, forced shaving, cruel conditions of transfer, and deprivation or restriction of food.

“Today, Abu Zubaydah would appear to be one of the 48 Guantanamo detainees whom the Obama administration said in 2010 it intends to hold indefinitely without criminal trial, although it has not confirmed this,” Amnesty notes. “In the unlikely case that his habeas corpus legal challenge were to be successful, it is not clear where would he go, as he is a stateless Palestinian. The Obama administration has shown itself willing to continue indefinitely holding people at Guantanamo whose detention has been ruled unlawful, but for whom no ‘diplomatic’ arrangement for their release has been found.”

Comments (7)

  1. Added 16:53 September 11, 2012

    Can we see within us How much Injustice lies with us and wiht our families before we show our finger to others...Have we abused our maids.... our children... our friends.....our wife...

    steev, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 15:54 September 11, 2012

    R.I.P the 2976 #American people who lost their lives on 9/11, and R.I.P the 48,644 #Afghan; 1,690,903 #Iraqi and uncountable muslims in Palestine that paid the ultimate price for a crime they did not commit.. And are still paying for it!!! bravo America - you are really doing it well !!!

    Fazl, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 14:14 September 11, 2012

    Instead of 3000 people dead now lakhs and lakhs muslims already killed and still killing is going AMERICA> and ALLIES.

    Mohammad, ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 13:11 September 11, 2012

    People are more concerned about the human rights of human rights abusers. Those 3000 killed had a family, had a life - which my friend (in the previous comment) is ignoring, when he boasts about the human rights of the suspected human rights abusers. First question is why Guantanamo was opened? It was the after effect of the 9/11 attack - so the fault is still with those merciless killers who rammed the planes during that day! It is because of them Guantanamo was opened.

    Vinod, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 12:32 September 11, 2012

    There are controversies on 9/11 incident and responsible for that incident in which few hundreds were killed. in last 11 years a million human beings are killed. There is a big question mark as who is responsible for this.

    Tahir, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 10:55 September 11, 2012

    So terrorists should have human rights? Is that what they think of when they KILL INNOCENTS?!

    Thomas, Auckland, Australia

  7. Added 09:43 September 11, 2012

    Shame on US for this cruel stunt against humanity for eleven years.

    Amjad, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

News Editor's choice