Guantanamo and Kafka II
A friend reminds me that there is an actual Kafka notebook entry that, in a strange way, does indeed seem to bear on the absurdity of Gitmo:
"A first sign of dawning recognition is the wish to die. This life seems unbearable; another existence seems unattainable. One is no longer ashamed of the desire to die; one wishes to be brought from one's old cell, which one detests, into a new one, which one will shortly come to hate. The remainder of one's faith colludes in the hope that during the transfer the Lord will coincidentally come down the corridor, look at the prisoner and say: 'Don't bother to lock this one up. He is coming to me.'"
Maybe that is always the real remainder of faith before each of our deaths. I know that many will counter that, for all we know, some of these prisoners are indeed Islamist murderers and fanatics. Leaving aside the "for all we know" part, let us concede that they are. They are still human beings. Their search for death, which cannot in this case be conflated with the murder of others (as in suicide bombings), is a human activity. And the response of the U.S. military has been to dehumanize it. We must resist that impulse. If we do not resist it, we will become what we fight.