Guantanamo: An American Place

  • Photographer
    Edmund Clark
  • Prize
    1st Place / Editorial, 1st Place / Editorial/Photo Essay, 1st Place / Editorial/Feature Story
  • Date of Photograph
    2009
  • Technical Info
    Hasselblad HD II 39 digital

Guantanamo: An American Place Leased from the Cuban government since 1903 the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay is overshadowed by the detention camps occupying one corner of its 45 square miles. A population of over 6,000 lives surrounded by razor wire in the last enclave of the Cold War. This is small-town America with a high school, golf course, mall and fast food chains; a place chosen precisely because it was thought to be not America, somewhere where hundreds of men could be held beyond the protection of U.S. law. It is home to a community where I found echoes of a wider America traumatised after 9/11 by a new threat from a religion and cultures it does not understand.

Story

Guantanamo: An American Place 'Looking out from behind the wire A terrorist lives a man tires He struggles on his case not lost He’s ready for peace jihad is the past I love you my brother Eyes of hatred and fire Looking out from behind the wire' Graffito by U.S. military personnel, lavatory wall, Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Leased from the Cuban government since 1903 the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay is overshadowed by the detention camps occupying one corner of its 45 square miles. A population of over 6,000 lives surrounded by razor wire in the last enclave of the Cold War. This is small-town America with a high school, golf course, mall and fast food chains; a place chosen precisely because it was thought to be not America, somewhere where hundreds of men could be held beyond the protection of U.S. law. It is home to a community where I found echoes of a wider America traumatised after 9/11 by a new post-Cold War threat from a religion and cultures it does not understand. A trauma which led, arguably, to a mindset trapped by a determination for protection and revenge at all costs, and to the policies of demonization, detention and interrogation at Guantanamo Bay. These images seek to convey a sense of the American experience of Guantanamo Bay and to reflect the iconography of entrapment, religiosity, order and technology I found in the life of a community eclipsed by the events and consequences of 9/11.

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