Saturday, June 04, 2005

Gulag in GITMO?

Gulag. The word is an acronym for the 476 Soviet bureaucracy administered forced labor camps. In Russian it is "Glavnoe Uppravlenie Lagerei" which means "Main Camp Administration."

This is where both criminal and political prisoners were sent. Some for being 10 minutes late for work, some for telling a Political joke.

Are those in GITMO, criminals or political prisoners? Most are not. Most are not harmed in any physical way. Most are given their own prayer rugs and holy sciptures. Most international visitors report back home that for the most part, those 500 or so in GITMO are treated humanely.

In the Gulag, no one was given a Bible. No one was treated with any respect.

In most accounts of the Gulag I have read, there are anywhere from 18 - 20 million people who passed through these 476 camps. Of these passing through, there were up to 3 million who were killed. Many more millions were tortured by having excruciating physical torture. Most that died in the camps, died from literly being worked to death. Rapes were routine.

Read the "Gulag Archipelago" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn for the best account of this terrible example of one of the most horrific human rights violation examples in history. To compare GITMO to this is to dishonor those who went through the Gulag.

We do the people who suffered through these and Nazi concentration camps an injustice when we attempt to do such a poor job of equivocating between the Gulag and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (GITMO).

To those who are making this comparison, please stop!


At 10:00 AM, Blogger bhlogger said...

Hi FAR. :-)

I think it was a statement made by Amnesty Int'l that compared Gitmo to the Gulag.

It's nothing new for an organization to use strong rhetoric. I think that instead of focusing on the wording, we should focus on what caused the statement to be made in the first place.

We've all seen pictures of Abu Garaib... we also know that people are being held in Gitmo with no charges and no access to lawyers in some cases. And they are being held by a country who is no longer following the Geneva Convention. If those folks in there have not been charged with anything after three years, don't you think it's time for them to be released? If we had anything of them, we would have charged them by now.

It's also curious to me that when the Bush admin. wanted to use the "Saddam is a bad man" excuse for its war in Iraq, they didn't mind quoting Amnesty at all. Now that Amnesty isn't helping their cause, they are in a huff about the organization comparing their cushy, fair and just Gitmo to *gasp* a GULAG! How dare they?

*sigh* I dunno. Maybe you're right. I've always thought we should use some words sparingly... like anti-Semitic, for instance. Pretty soon, the more it's used, the less of an impact it makes when we hear it.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


"I've always thought we should use some words sparingly..."

Sums up my thoughts precisely.

I'm sure there are some in GITMO that shouldn't be there, but I think that comparing the GULAG to GITMO is like comparing my Golf to Tiger Woods Golf. Yep, we both hit the golf ball, but.....

Severity, Quantity, and other adjectives matter or we might as well eliminate them from our language.

I don't think we should try to be the World's policeman, but Blair and Bush went to the U.N. and said..."How many times are we going to let Saddam ignore our demands??? 15 more times???

According to CNN, (no right wing news source by any stretch), the man responsible for the GULAG, Joe Stalin, killed 14.5 million of his own people, many for just doing what you and I are doing now, making comments against those in power. See

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Possum said...

Wonderfully worded... I wish I was less blunt and more poetic in my blog. Then again, I do call my blog a rant because I usually fire from the hip after I read something that I find outrageous.

It seems you have earned some quality commentors as well! Keep up the great work!

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Thanks Possum.


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