Yasiin Bey, the rapper-actor-political activist formerly known as Mos Def, has added his voice to the rising chorus of people protesting the brutal force feeding of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. Today, 120 prisoners are on hunger strike, many since late February. Every day, forty-four to forty-six are force fed.
In order to illustrate and help publicize the pain and humiliation involved in this process, Bey volunteered to subject himself to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) involved in force feeding. The video below shows this experience. The video was made by Reprieve, a human rights organization based in the United Kingdom which has represented dozens of Guantanamo prisoners, and was directed by the Bafta award-winning director Asif Kapadia.
What Bey endures is brutal, as you can see for yourself. But the full treatment in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure manual is even more brutal. When a force feeding order is given, a guard shackles the prisoner and places a mask over his mouth to prevent spitting and biting. A feeding tube is inserted through his nose. Medics use a stethoscope and a test dose of water to check that the tube has descended all the way to his stomach. When the tube has been secured with tape, “the enteral nutrition and water that has been ordered is started, and flow rate is adjusted according to detainee’s condition and tolerance.” The feeding can be completed in twenty to thirty minutes but might take up to two hours. After the “nutrient infusion” is completed, he is placed in a “dry cell” and observed for up to sixty minutes for any “indications of vomiting or attempts to induce vomiting.” If he vomits, he can be put through the whole process again.