The U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, or GTMO, has become an international symbol of America's "War on Terror," and a lightning rod for deeply divisive debates around torture, detention, national security, and human rights. The site and its stories have been inaccessible to most, mediated through limited images that have focused on detentions since 9-11. These mask layers of a longer history: GTMO has been an integral part of American politics and policy for more than a century. Its foundation was laid in 1903, when the US exacted a lease with Cuba granting Cuba total sovereignty over the territory, but the US total jurisdiction – creating a "legal black hole" and laboratory for addressing unprecedented threats. Its detention infrastructure was laid long before 9-11: for suspected enemy spies in the Cold War; for over 20,000 Haitian refugees subject to the first mass screening for HIV; for more than 30,000 Cuban rafters rescued at sea, held while President Clinton renegotiated immigration laws.
In 2009, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience launched the Guantánamo Public Memory Project (GPMP) to make the base's history visible by collating different archival, visual and oral histories of GTMO. The GPMP aims to foster public dialogue from multiple perspectives on what the past suggests for the future of this place, its people, and its policies. The Project has brought together students and faculty from eleven different universities, who have collaborated to create a traveling exhibition and programming.
GPMP events at Rutgers:
Feb. 18 - March 29, 2013, Douglass Library Atrium
This exhibit explores GTMO's history from 1898 through the present day, featuring images, documentary material, oral histories, video footage, and artwork, developed by eleven different university partners.
PLEASE NOTE: Educational tours of the exhibit and guided dialogues about its content are available to Rutgers' courses (as well as to other area high school and college classes) interested in the topics that the exhibit will cover: Caribbean history; US military and economic involvement in the Caribbean; the War of 1898; US immigration and refugee policies; post-9/11 politics of "security"; detention; the legal history of sovereign power; and others.
Poetic Justice: The Shades of Stories from Guantánamo
Thursday, March 28, 2013, 7- 9PM
Mabel Smith Douglass Reading Room, Douglass Library
Organized and performed by Rutgers undergraduate students, "Poetic Justice" uses art, poetry, oral histories, and legal testimony from GTMO in order to highlight the voices of groups that have been detained at the base, and prevented from narrating their experiences.
Conference: Public History and Public Awareness
Friday, March 29, 2013, 9AM - 5PM
Alexander Library Teleconference/Lecture Hall, 4th Floor
Full conference schedule and speaker bios click pdf GTMO Program here
Baher Azmy, Center for Constitutional Rights
Elizabeth Campisi, SUNY Albany
David Carlson, University of Texas, Pan American
Jonathan Hansen, Harvard University
Kate McCaffrey, Montclair State University
Naomi Paik, University of Texas, Austin
Jerry Philogene, Dickinson College
Elena Razlogova, Concordia University, Montréal
Liz Sevcenko, Guantánamo Public Memory Project
UPDATE: Due to a last minute change in a trial date, Baher Azmy will not be able to present. He will be replaced on the panel by Omar Farah.
Omar Farah joined the Center for Constitutional Rights in 2012 as a staff attorney in the Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative. Omar was previously in private practice, working mostly in the area of international commercial arbitration. Since 2008, he has represented several prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay in habeas corpus litigation in federal court.
At CCR, Omar continues to represent Guantanamo prisoners in habeas corpus challenges and in resettlement efforts, focusing on Guantanamo's predominantly Yemeni population. He is counsel in Al-Hamiri v. Obama, the case of a Yemeni man wrongfully arrested in Pakistan while seeking medical treatment, but who remains at Guantanamo despite being cleared for transfer. He is counsel in Ba Odah v. Obama, the case of another uncharged Yemeni man who has been on a hunger-strike since February 2007 to protest his imprisonment. Omar is also counsel to Fahd Ghazy, one of the last remaining men at Guantanamo to have been detained as a juvenile. Omar comments regularly on Guantanamo and related national security matters. Beyond his Guantanamo work, Omar focuses on a range of CCR's litigation and advocacy in response to abusive counterterrorism practices. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Georgetown University Law Center.
For more information or if you are teaching a course and are interested in visiting the exhibit, please email Andy Urban at email@example.com