Rapper Yassin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, has made national headlines after releasing a video of himself being force-fed to highlight the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.

Currently about 120 prisoners in the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are on a months-long hunger strike. According to Bey’s assertions in the film, 44 of them are fed nutrients against their will. The film was posted July 8 on the guardian.co.uk web site.

According to an essay on the New York Times op-ed page, many of the prisoners have been detained in the jail for years, never having been charged with a crime or receiving a trial.

In the article published in April, one prisoner, who has been detained since 2002, said an intravenous line was forced into him through his hand and that, strapped to a bed for 26 hours, he was forcibly fed.

“I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose,” said Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel in the Times. “I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way… it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit…”

According to the Times, prisoners are often force-fed twice a day.

In the graphic four-minute video, hosted by the Guardian newspaper and orchestrated by the human rights organization Repreive and BAFTA award-winning director Asif Kapadia, Bey is force –fed through neogastric tubes just like the prisoners in Guantanamo.

In the video, Bey could not tolerate the tube fully inserted into his stomach. He screamed and howled for the procedure to stop.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” he said after the failed force-feeding procedure. “The tube went in and the first part wasn’t really that bad, but then you get this burning… it starts to feel like something really unbearable, like something was going into my brain.”

Reprieve said the feeding followed the standard operating procedure of force-feeding used by the government, a process which was disclosed in 2013. The U.S. government maintained that the procedure is a humane way of ensuring the prisoners do not starve to death.


Krishana Davis

AFRO Staff Writers