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Beating a dead horse

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Mar 18, 2006 12:05 am

I’m baaaaaaack!

FOR MORE THAN FOUR YEARS NOW, critics of the Bush administration

have warned that the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is

fueling the Muslim street’s hatred of America. The purportedly

unwarranted detention of hundreds of Muslims, coupled with the

allegedly unjustified invasion of Iraq, these critics argue, will only add to

the rage that leads to terrorist attacks.

Following this line of thinking, you might suppose that an Iraqi national at

Gitmo would be especially angry. And thanks to the March 3 release of

more than 5,000 pages of documents from Gitmo, we can now hear the

story of one such Iraqi detainee. His name is Ali Abdul Motalib Hassan al-

Tayeea. Or, if you prefer, “Pimp Daddy”–a nickname Gitmo’s guards gave

him, for reasons that become obvious from the transcript.

Ali was brought before the military tribunal that is determining whether

he and the several hundred other Guantánamo detainees should continue

to be held as enemy combatants. At the outset of his hearing, Ali thanked

America for getting rid of Saddam’s “cruel regime,” which he said killed

one of his uncles. Ali claimed he had escaped service in Saddam’s

Republican Guard and decried the Butcher of Baghdad’s poor treatment of

his fellow citizens. He even professed a desire to become an "American


So far so good. But then, something odd happened. Ali launched into an

obscenity-laden rant that takes up much of the 24-page record of his

tribunal proceeding.

He is clearly a very angry man. But why? Is it the occupation of his native

Baghdad? His detention at Gitmo?

No. Ali explains:

My problem isn’t just that I am poor, or that Saddam’s government killed

my second uncle. My problem, I’m sorry to say in front of the two ladies,

but I want the Judge to know everything about me. I was never a "homo"

or gay, but I have a problem. I can’t get married because my penis is

small-sized. I went to the doctor and they said there is no help. They said

I couldn’t have an operation or surgery of any kind because I’m poor. I

want to get the operation or drugs in America or Europe. Who can help

me? . . .

This problem has taken all of my life and my thinking. For example, when

I was in school, a lot of my friends were married. I look at my friends and

say they have a good life. I can’t stay in my house, because my father and

mother are waiting very anxiously for me to get married. She says she has

a nice girl for me to marry, because she says this is my goal in life. I run

away from these questions from my mom. I told her that I want to go to

college and be a good person. My family said it was a bulls–reason and

that I’m Arab and I can marry and complete my life. I can’t stand the sight

of my mom, because she says, “my son, I want to see your kids.” I just

kiss my mom and I say "maybe someday."

In America this is only a little problem, but in my home and in my life, it’s

very difficult when the days get dark, because I hate running from my

people. I feel someday I’ll go back to my home and I’m sure that all of my

friends are married now. This is not just me in my family; it’s also my

younger brother. He was born in 1980. He’s big and is a nice guy, but has

the same problem. I know about my brother, but my family doesn’t.

Mar 18, 2006 12:07 am

I just added “Paradise Now” to my queue at Netflix.