He Wanted to See First Hand How Another Country Did Things

During a particularly bleak period of my life, a visit to the Anasazi ruins of the ancient Native Americans of the US Southwest inspired and sustained me.  If human beings could build those beautiful places, there might be reason not to despair of human existence.  I can appreciate that other people, foreign to me and whom I don’t understand well, would want to visit parts of the world far from their homes in search of inspiration and new ideas.

Among the remaining prisoners from Yemen in Guantanamo are two Islamic tourists.  Sharaf Masud, only twenty-three years old when captured, is reported by Andy Worthington to have said in one CSRT (those infamous US military court documents) that  he “wanted to see how [the Afghans] did Islamic practices in different places in Afghanistan,”  “because he heard that the Afghan leader led by Islamic ways.” Masud denied categorically going to Afghanistan to fight.  Once there, he “left Kabul because the Afghans were trying to kill Arabs in the market.”  He fled the violence in a taxi back to Jalalabad and proceeded on foot with others to the Pakistan border, where, Worthington reports from US documents, “he was arrested after asking to be taken to his embassy.”

Most poignantly, Worthington quotes Masud’s statement that “All the rules in the United States and in the world, the person is innocent until you prove that he is guilty not innocent. But here with the Americans the [prisoners] are guilty until proven innocent.”

As I write this, the US is creating a huge diplomatic incident with Pakistan because a US citizen, Raymond Davis, said to be a “consultant” of the State Department has been arrested and jailed there for allegedly shooting two persons in the back.  There does appear to be evidence that such a crime occurred and that Davis may well have committed it; his claim to have shot the two in self defense does not appear plausible.  Here is a link to Dave Lindorff’s article on the murky story emerging about that and another link to a story from The Times of India.

By contrast, Sharaf Masud was a tourist, interested in how another Muslim country did things.  There is no evidence of his having harmed another person in any way, but the US government has kept him in prison and tortured him for nine years and may never release him to return to his home and family.

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