Text & Photos:
Julie Schwietert Collazo
It’s easy for us to forget about Guantanamo— and the fact that people have been incarcerated there without charges for more than 11 years– until capital B, capital N “Big News” crosses the Straits and floats into newspaper headlines.
Such was the case last Sunday, when The New York Times published an op-ed by a detainee who is among the hunger strikers at Guantanamo. Other outlets picked up the story, bringing the ethical, moral, and human rights concerns of America’s offshore detention center back to our national consciousness.
No matter how much we read about Guantanamo, though, it’s hard to get a sense of what, exactly, is going on there and what it’s like. There are only a handful of journalists (The Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg is the only one who comes to mind immediately) covering Guantanamo news coherently and consistently… and by that, I mean being there. And there are even fewer visual references; I don’t know of a single photographer who covers Guantanamo as a photojournalistic beat (That doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist; I’m just saying I don’t know one.).
I was able to visit Guantanamo Bay in 2008 on a journalist visa, and it occurred to me that the photos I’ve got stored away might actually be of interest to those of you who give a damn about what’s going on at Guantanamo.^ Moreso, you might be interested by the process that governed the taking and sharing of these photos. More about that below.
I filed one piece about Guantanamo for a major outlet (a science research piece for Scientific American), but didn’t find any other takers for Guantanamo stories, despite the dearth of articles that cover Guantanamo outside the scope of legal proceedings. So let’s dust off these images and talk a little bit about them in context.
To see more of my photos from Guantanamo Bay, please see this gallery on Flickr.
To follow developments at Guantanamo Bay, follow journalist Carol Rosenberg on twitter.
^The latest report out of Guantanamo Bay is that almost half of the detainees–77 of 166– are currently on a hunger strike.