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Journalists Should Investigate Castro’s Prisons Instead of Gitmo

Journalists Should Investigate Castro’s Prisons Instead of Gitmo

The recent hysterics in the press over the treatment of al Qaeda prisoners give the impression that Cuba is some idyllic bastion of human rights save for that American eyesore Guantanamo Bay. The overzealous reporters en route to the communist isle are hell-bent on discovering some form of torture or mistreatment of the prisoners. Upon discovering that the envisioned inhumanity of “Gitmo” in reality is nothing more than conditions of mild discomfort, these same reporters responded with irresponsible exaggeration. One British editorial describes the prisoners as “trapped in open cages, manacled hand and foot, brutalized, tortured and humiliated.” Despite the fictitiousness of such commentaries, the righteous indignation of the international community, dampened somewhat in the aftermath of September 11th, is gaining momentum with the aid of unscrupulous reporters.

The actual living conditions at Guantanamo Bay lack the scandal and spectacle so dear to the American and Western European media culture. The various amenities granted to the detainees appear incredibly generous in light of their military resumes. These anti-American al Qaeda fighters, who have pursued a skewed, unrighteous, and murderous jihad, merit the basic necessities for living and little else. Still, the camp provides two towels to each prisoner daily to meet both sanitation and prayer needs. One might wonder if some of those prayers include praise to Allah for killing thousands of innocent Americans by hijacking commercial airliners. Or, perhaps they just give thanks that Osama bin Laden remains at large, free from the infidels’ justice. Regardless, the prisoners are af…

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…s.” While the unlawful combatants held at Gitmo receive daily sick calls, the U.N. Special Rapporteur criticized the “widespread incidence” of “tuberculosis, scabies, hepatitis, parasitic infections, and malnutrition” in Cuban prisons.

Where is the media outcry over the actual human rights abuses by Castro’s government? Where is the investigative reporting on the prison riots protesting inadequate medical services, constant beatings, and squalid cell conditions? Sure, blackout goggles and earmuffs on al Qaeda detainees may be annoying, but it takes some twisted relativism to equate the discomforts of Gitmo attire with parasitic infections and political oppression. Examples of real injustice abound in Castro’s regime. Journalists would better serve the human rights cause by investigating, not inventing, incidents of torture.

Free Essays on Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni

In her memoir Lipstick Jihad, Azadeh Moaveni presents her reader with a striking

picture of Iran circa the year 2000, and explains how while living in Iran, she is caught between

the fundamentalist Islamic government and the secular youth culture. She describes in detail the

daily clashes between the hard-line, religious rule and the Tehrani youth movement—a

movement defined above all else by its dedication to being “modern”. Moaveni uses the word

“modern” to mean numerous things—at times contemporary, trendy, socially permissive,

secular, Western–but there is always one element that remains constant: modern is not the

Islamic Republic. “Modern”, then, encompasses all the efforts at rebellion against the Islamic

Republic. Modernity, to Moaveni, represents Iranians’ attempts at reclaiming their freedoms

from an oppressive and unwanted regime.

To many Iranian women in the memoir, to be “modern” is to conform to certain

standards of beauty and fashion. Speaking of the waves of Iranian women getting plastic surgery

at the time, Moaveni uses “modern” in this way. She says:

It was an investment in feeling modern, in the midst of the seventh-century

atmosphere the mullahs were trying to create. It assuaged so many urges at

once—to look better, to self-express, to show that you could afford it, to appear

Westernized. The compulsion to work these interior issues out through one’s

appearance was a curious phenomenon unique to revolutionary Iran. In a way, it

was dysfunctional—picking the scab of a right you didn’t have. (Moaveni 164)

Here, “modern” means several things: vain, Western, individualist, but on a deeper level it

represents taking control of one’s own life. It represents a rejection of the physical modesty that

the mullahs force onto women in the form of the veil and hijab. The religious zealots may be

able to choose what the women wear, but they cannot choose how they look. Though each

Iranian woman may have her own reasons for changing the way she looks, every plastic surgery,

every display of Western vanity, is an act of rebellion against a state hell-bent on micromanaging

her life.

Like the Iranian women, the youth in Tehran also express themselves through attempts at

modernity, and these attempts often manifest themselves as imitation or acceptance American

cultural phenomena. But to Moaveni, the relationship between the drive to be “modern” that

permeates Iranian society and Western culture is close, but complicated. She describes young

Tehranis’ lust for American commercial institutions like fast food and Victoria’s Secret, and

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