Posted by: bklunk | March 8, 2007

What Do Others Think?

I don’t really have a comment about this, but I am interested is seeing the discussion around it.

If “wrongsick” isn’t a word, it should be « Internationally Known

I’ve recently reconnected with an old friend, who happens to be Canadian. We constantly joke about the various legal disparities between his country and mine (I’m always swearing I would move up there with him, if I could stand the cold), and we got into a conversation today about prisons. In searching for the dimensions of a Canadian prison cell, this came up.

If wrongsick isn’t a word, it should be.

Now please excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. I mean, I knew the US government was detaining adults who were possibly part of the terrorist effort. I realize that they can do this for no reason, with no probable cause, and for no specified length of time. The suspension of habeas corpus sickens me, but it is what it is. That, and if I spend any more time disagreeing with the government, I’ll no longer be eligible to run for public office.

What I cannot reconcile is the fact that children are being detained. Sure, they can call the former prison a “residential center,” but that doesn’t change the fact that these children are being raised inside bars and razor wire.

To explain why my Canadian friend has anything to do with this, I suppose I should mention that one of the families detained at the Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, is Canadian. US officials stopped their flight from Guyana, and the family has been held since. Last time I checked, the USA and Canada were allies. Meaning that one state was, well, nice to the nationals of the other. Nice meaning acting within the bounds of international law. I guess I missed the memo.

There are other things that bother me about this, though. For one, the government monkeys running this detention center are treating these kids to an education. I realize that sounds like a good thing, and on the surface it is. If they’re being taught math or science, I’ve got no objection. English I could dispute, seeing as how some of these kids probably speak other languages more fluently, and let’s face it: Americans can’t spell. The word is colour. With a U. But worse than that, is history aspect. If I understand my professors correctly, history isn’t objective. So if these kids are being taught history, whose version are they learning? I feel like a rant about pro-US indoctrination in the name of continued hegemony would fit well here, but I’ll let someone else take care of that.

I’m also bothered by the whole imprisoning of children thing. Let’s not sugarcoat this: children are being imprisoned. I’m sure the UN would have something to say. A look at the Convention on the Rights of the Child shows:

Article 37:
(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;

(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.

Or, if you’ve refused to read all of that, the children (defined as 18 years or younger) are not supposed to be imprisoned, except as a last resort. And if they are, they have a right to due process.

I’m so glad the US still has to follow all the rules.

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  1. I could not agree more that people should not be wrongly imprisoned if there is no reason for detainment. The very thought of it sickens me. Thank God that is not what is happening here.

    The Patriot Act allows the government to detain suspected terrorists, not anyone off the street. Yes, often people are detained without due process, but there must be a suspicion of terrorist activity. Personally, I would rather have a terrorist attack stopped than have it caught up in the legal system, but that is just my opinion. I like my safety.

    As far as the children of the detainees go, I could not agree more that prison is not the best place for them to be. But what solution is there? You state a very important problem, but where else can we put them? I am not sure that currantly there is a better way to deal with the situation. Is it acceptable? Of course not, but at the present time, what else can be done?

  2. It is disturbing (to say the least) that children are being raised in a prison. I also realize how hard the difficulties of detaining suspected terrorists must be, but still feel this issue could be resolved in many better ways. For one thing, why aren’t the children sent back to wherever they came from to live with family members? Why are we paying for their food, shelter, and education? Pretty sure I don’t want my tax dollars going to that! These children are not the terrorists, and they are not our citizens, so I see no reason for us to keep them here. Although I believe our country fails on a regular basis in their “detainment” practices, and think it’s almost comical that the Canadian family in this blog was detained (Not to generalize, but I mean, come on, they’re CANADIAN!). I’m glad I know about this child detainment center now, and hope that it receives some serious national attention through the media in the near future.

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