In the video Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) Force Fed under Standard Guantanamo Bay Procedure, the viewers can observe the process of force-feeding, experienced by Muslim prisoners during Ramadan. The famous rapper and artist Yasiin Bey voluntarily participates in the procedure to demonstrate a cruelty and disrespect for the detainees (Hauser). The video is very heart-rending and difficult to watch. However, after watching the video, it is impossible to remain indifferent. Although Yasiin Bey is only a volunteer, and the procedure of force-feeding he experiences is easier than the real one, the viewers can feel the violation of personhood and discrimination against the Guantanamo prisoners.
The analyzed video addresses the audience directly because the protagonist speaks on-camera, preparing the viewers for further spectacle. Such a position inclines spectators and makes them believe in truthfulness of the message. All actions are rendered in reality, without any special effects or stunt persons. At the beginning of the video, the observers can read the information about the number of detainees: There are currently 120 detainees on hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay, 44 of them are being force fed against their will (The Guardian). After that, Yasiin Bey introduces himself, and in several seconds, the audience sees him being chained. The man is not a real prisoner, but his image is natural and verisimilar. When Mr. Bey is in a chair, the viewers observe a standard operating procedure of force-feeding. The next scene is terrible, and people with a weak nervous system should not watch it. The scene represents medical care workers who insert a slender lubricated feeding tube into Mr. Beys right nostril (Hauser). He is struggling and moaning, but the workers are persistent, and they do not stop. When the tube is withdrawn, Yasiin Bey begs to stop. The scene ends with Mr. Bey crying; the viewers find out that such a procedure is carried twice a day, and it usually takes about two hours to complete (The Guardian). Thus, the violation of personhood at Guantanamo Bay is evident.
According to Datiles, there are three definitions of personhood moral, legal, and constitutional. Moral personhood is something that a human being has simply because he/she is a human being with a rational nature (Datiles). A legal person is a person, protected under the law. Not every human being can be a person (Datiles). In the video, legal personhood is violated because the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay are force fed during the holy Ramadan against their will. Since many prisoners are Muslims, it is natural for them to fast during Ramadan. Thus, they claim that force-feeding will violate their ability to observe the religious traditions (Lentsch). However, the Guantanamo Bay detention center is located in southern Cuba; the prisoners are not residents of the United States (Nolen). It means that their religious rights are not protected, since the Religious Freedom Restoration Act doesnt apply outside of U.S. boarders (Lentsch). Therefore, those people are considered as non-persons, and they are deprived of their right to personhood.
After watching the video, I realized that the aim of Yasiin Bey was to appeal to the authorities and people who care, to stop taunting the Guantanamo detainees. Mr. Bey wanted to show the cruelty of the whole procedure and focus the viewers attention on its painfulness. While watching the scene with his participation in force-feeding, I felt disgust at the process itself and pain the man went through. First, I thought of the detainees who experience force-feeding every day. These men refuse to eat because they are imprisoned without trial, and many of them are wrongfully convicted but they are still in jail. They do not want to die, and they use hunger strike as a non-violent form of protest to cause the government to do something. Moreover, when I found out that the detainees were Muslims, I understood that their personhood rights are violated twice. On the one hand, their right to protest is violated. On the other hand, their religious rights are also broken. Such an attitude to people is impermissible, even if these people are prisoners.
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Further, I thought about interpersonal relationships, namely, the relationships between the prisoners and medical care workers. Here, I would like to apply the equity theory and demonstrate that it does not work in these relationships. The video shows a volunteer, who is supposed to be a detainee, and a group of people, who think that they save him from starvation. However, the man does not want to be fed, and the medical workers apply force to feed him against his will. There is no equity between them because the detainee gets no rewards and costs, while the workers get the salary for their work. According to the equity theory, the rewards and costs people experience in relationships must be equal to the rewards and costs other people get in these relationships (Jung, Kim, and Lee). Although the prison workers can argue that they act for a good cause, they cannot feed the detainees under compulsion. The video judges the Guantanamo Bay detention center for its cruel attitude towards the prisoners.
The scenes I saw in the video made me think about a condemnation of the Guantanamo Bay authorities and medical workers who force-fed the detainees. The video represents not only the violation of personhood, but also the loss of it. The detainees who are force fed are considered as non-humans. However, they are fed by force, so that the authorities could clear their conscience, saving the prisoners lives. First, I thought that force-feeding was made for good because it saved people from starvation to death. Nevertheless, after conducting the research, I comprehended that the procedure of force-feeding was not as harmless as it seemed to be. Medical workers use a drug, Reglan, which prevents vomiting during the process, but it can also cause neurological disorders (Lentsch). Moreover, such force-feeding does not save prisoners lives; it just keeps them barely alive, as a husk of a human being (Lentsch). These people are deprived of their right of personhood and freedom of choice, and such an attitude towards them arouses indignation.
To summarize, the scenes I observed in the video Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) Force Fed under Standard Guantanamo Bay Procedure were horrific and painful. Although many people consider Mos Def as a retard, his intentions were quite reasonable (Greenhouse). The volunteer, Mr. Bey, wanted to reveal to the viewers the pain and struggle of the detainees who were fed by force during their hunger strike. The aim of the video was to convince the audience that force-feeding procedure was illegal and inhumane, since it deprived the prisoners of personhood. I agree with the main idea of this video because I think that none of people would like to experience such a procedure against their will. Moreover, I think that every person has the right to strike and express his/her protest in a peaceful way. Thus, the actions of Guantanamo Bay workers are cruel and violent because they ignore the rights of prisoners for freedom of choice and break their personhood. Besides, the interpersonal relations between the workers of the jail and detainees are unequal, which is also immoral and unethical. The video made me think of these issues, and I penetrated the themes of personhood and interpersonal relations from a different perspective, from the perspective of prison life. Even if the prisoners are criminals (though many of them are imprisoned by mistake), they have the right to save their personhood and express it freely without being discriminated.
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