Section 2 reflects on the conceptual material we have learned to date. Students are asked to compare and contrast the situation in Guantanamo to the situation in South Africa, using readings covered in class, as well as the Prologue from Dances in Chains.
In Guantanamo we have examined the perspective from the view of the US Government, and the people of the US. We have also covered the experience of the prisoners.
n South Africa we focused more on the post-colonial apartheid regime in South Africa that oppressed the majority of the South Africans. The class has also reviewed a 60 minute interview on the process of Truth and Reconcilliation (TRC) as well well as several videos that show us the TRC in action (the Movie “REd Dust”, as well as other videos).
Feel free to include in any of the conceptual theories we have covered to date. We have covered in class Apartheid, caste, in/out groups, structural stigma, labeling theoy, social deviance, feminist theories, social othering, social construct, and dehumanization
Section 2–How does the reading the Dances in Chains Prologue on Guantanamo help us in this comparison? How does the material on South African Truth and Reconcilliation help us think about ways to heal the trauma after violent interactions. Some ideas to consider:
Dances in Chains analyzes the imprisonment conditions in Guantanamo. Based on your understand what is going on and what are the motivations?
What are similarities and differences between the two?
How does the leadership within the prison of the prisoners between South Africa and Guantanamo differ? and Why?
How does the violence and torture that took place differ? How is it similar?
Would a TRC process that took place in South Africa apply to a situation like Guantanamo?
To what extent can we compare these two groups? What are similarities and differences between the political fight and social construct?
What social theories that we have covered can be applied to this analysis?
As people who all reside now in the US–what bias do we have towards the situations? and how does that influence our reaction
Here are some background questions on Guantanamo that can help with the analysis
What was the situation in Guantanamo–and in the US at the time this program of Extraordinary Rendition started? How is it different today? What aspects are still the same? What aspects are different?
Why did Bush administration officials think it necessary to use interrogation techniques against prisoners that had been prohibited in the past? Why had these techniques been prohibited?
President Obama declares, “The United States is a nation of laws.” The U.S. State Department’s Introduction to the “Principles of Democracy” (http://usinfo.org/enus/government/overview/law.html) defines the rule of law as follows: “Rule of law means that no individual, president or private citizen, stands above the law…Laws should express the will of the people, not the whims of kings, dictators, military officials, religious leaders, or self-appointed political parties.” Are Presidents Bush and Obama acting in accordance with the “rule of law”? Why or why not? Does transparency and accountability help or harm the country? Are there different interpretations of the law?
Why does the US government seem unable to hold themselves accountable to wrong doing? (Good idea to watch “The Report” )
Do people consider the approved DOJ interrogation techniques to be torture? Why or why not? Do people think that in the light of the terrorist threat, they were justified? Considered to be torture? Why or why not? Do people in the US military have different or similar concerns as those of the rest of the country? Why or why not? Is it fair for the country to ask them to engage in questionable practices that are illegal under the UN Conventions?
President Obama regards prosecution of intelligence officers who acted on DOJ memos as “retribution.” What does retribution mean? Could US policy and practices which established Guantanamo be considered retribution?
What is the impact of torture on the people experiencing it? What is the impact of torture on the people inflicting it? What is the impact of torture on public opinion? What is the impact of this treatment on the families and communities of the people who are being tortured? And the people who are the torturers?
Does Guantanamo help the United States? Does it help any political movements (even if the prisoners are not part of them?
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