An insult to the 11th Anniversary of Guantanamo Bay

Written by Indrani Balaratnam Wednesday, 09 January 2013
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Zero Dark Thirty has been received with outrage and disgust by those who have fought tirelessly to close Guantanamo Bay down.  Earlier this evening, Twitter was filled with pictures from those who attended the premiere in the United States just to protest against this film.  Two hours of lies that attempt to justify the torture of detainees – a “gorgeously-shot two-hour ad” for why the torturers should not be punished.  This film claims the torture in Bagram, Kandahar, Guantanamo Bay and the secret detention camps are a necessary evil to secure intelligence – an argument that has been discredited on countless occasions and does not bare the slightest truth. 

I am angry at Zero Dark Thirty for the above reasons but I am disgusted at the actions of the directors and producers for a completely different reason.  Zero Dark Thirty, in all its false justifying, Hollywood glamorising, and desperation for money has been scheduled for release on the very same day as the 11th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay.  As if the film itself was not sufficiently disrespectful to the suffering of the detainees, they have ensured they have gone one step further to rub the fame of the film into the wounds of those who are aware of the significance of this day.  The regular man will be unaware of the background to 11th January – to most people, it is just another day.  But to us - the activists, the campaigners, the families of those kept captive – we know what 11th January means every year.  And the producers of Zero Dark Thirty are sending a message out to us especially by scheduling a release on this date.  We know that this film will be successful with the majority of the viewers for the drama and action and the excuse of CIA torture and they want us to think they have won, and that our campaigns will be silenced on this day. They cannot claim ignorance – a film that has researched Guantanamo Bay to the extent that they claim to have is aware of the date that the camp was opened.  All I can say is it is disgusting. There is no other word to summarise their actions. 

We will not be silenced. We will be joining global Guantanamo campaigns this week by hosting our own press conference, speaking with six former detainees on Thursday 10th December at 11am. We are providing a live feed of this conference on our website. Zero Dark Thirty wants to claim that torture works and produces successful counter-terrorism results? Let's hear what those who suffered the torture have to say about that.  Nobody knows Guantanamo Bay like the detainees do.   We have given a platform to the other side of the torture debate - Hear what they have to say, join us, spread the word and together we will not let Zero Dark Thirty take over this important week.

Join the Twitter debate - #GTMO11


Further information : Guardian- A letter to Kathryn Bigelow on Zero Dark Thirty's apology for torture

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