I. The Article

The current issue of the Nebraska Messenger, the United Methodist statewide newspaper, has an article about Guantanamo: “What United methodists Should Know About Guantanamo Bay” (pdf, starts on p3)

He didn’t want to talk about what the U.S. government had done to him and the men around him. He was afraid of the consequences.
The author, Angela Campbell, is an Iowan who grew up in Nebraska and whose parents are active Methodists here. She is a federal public defender who volunteered to defend four detainees at our prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – after the Bush administration was forced to allow those prisoners to have access to legal counsel. Three of her clients were released before she ever met them. The fourth is still being held, for no-one-knows-what reasons.

II. Summary of Muhibullah’s Situation

Here’s a brief summary of his situation and his attitudes when she finally got in to see him after many many months of trying.

He told me the first time he saw an American was when he woke up in the American hospital in Afghanistan. He had been hit by a bomb from an airplane that had exploded at night by his house. He was knocked unconscious and severely injured.

His father took him to the Americans asking for help, asking for them to help his dying son. They took him in, and then they sent him to Guantanamo.

He doesn’t know why.

His father doesn’t know why.

I don’t know why.

The government’s response to the question of “why” is “why don’t you tell us why we arrested you?”

… He didn’t want to talk about what had happened in the prison. He didn’t want to talk about what the U.S. government had done to him and the men around him. He was afraid of the consequences.

He liked me. He appreciated what I was trying to do, but he told me to go home. He told me I had “no idea” what I was getting myself into, that I was young and shouldn’t risk my life and freedom to help him. He didn’t think I would be able to help him and he was concerned that involving myself was risking my own freedom and security. We still talked and I didn’t go home.

Ah. See what an impression we have given him of American good-will, and freedom, and justice. Not good.

III. The Love of Darkness

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light …

John 3:19-21

Jesus (or John) here is not talking about the US government, but about individual human responses to Jesus. But we all know that the general principle applies very broadly in human affairs. People hide their evil deeds for fear of exposure.

IV. The Practice of Darkness

“Darkness,” besides being an absence of physical light, can also be mental, induced by legal strategies, public lying, corruption of mass media, self-deception, etc. And those mental kinds are much more destructive. And they are all being practiced by our government to cover its evil deeds – deeds that are done in our name, under our authority, with our money.

Ms. Campbell went through a year of personal expense, including a trip to Afghanistan, and of deliberate government and military resistance in order to finally meet one of her clients. If our government were not afraid of the light, that meeting could have happened MUCH sooner. But after all, they deliberately chose Guantanamo Bay because it was in a legal black hole where they hoped and expected there would be no accountability to anyone on the entire planet.

The author of the article does not refer to this principle I quoted from John 3, but her experiences, and her article, illustrate it clearly. Our top government officials, and those who do their bidding in places like Guantanamo Bay, hide their deeds. They stubbornly resist accountability. They love darkness.

It’s up to “we the people” to bring in the liberating light, the disinfecting truth.

[See earlier post about a retired Army Colonel asking us to watch “Road to Guantanamo”]