Rapper Mos Def was left in tears, begging for mercy in a hard-hitting new video as he was given a taste of what hunger-striking detainees at Guantanamo Bay have to allegedly endure as medics force feed them daily to keep them alive. The short film, shot by Asif Kapadia in collaboration with human rights organisation Reprieve and hosted by Britain's The Guardian newspaper, features Def, aka Yasiin Bey, strapped and chained to a chair and protesting as three nurses attempt to force a tube through his nostril.
The hip-hop star and poet squirms and screams, "Please, please, please... Stop, please stop. I can't do it anymore."
He then breaks down in tears when the medics halt the demonstration as the message "In Guantanamo Bay, the full procedure is carried out twice a day. Typically, it takes two hours to complete" appears on screen.
The video, which was shot on 15 June (13) in London, begins with statistics suggesting 44 of the 120 hunger strikers at the detention camp are currently being force fed and Def insists that what he goes through in the film is "standard operating procedure for force feeding detainees".
A traumatised Mos Def says, "I really didn't know what to expect. The first part of it is not that bad, but then you get this burning, I had this burning (sensation) and it just starts to be unbearable. It feels like something's going into my brain and it started to reach the back of my throat and I really, really... couldn't take it."
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba was established in January, 2002, to detain people the U.S. Government determined as terrorists who threatened homeland security.
A group of Guantanamo Bay detainees began a hunger strike earlier this year (13) to protest their detention. The U.S. has rejected pleas to stop the force-feeding for the month of Ramadan, which begins on Monday night (08Jul13).
The process has been deemed a form of torture by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
"Hard to watch" doesn't even begin to describe the video of Yasiin Bey (formerly known as rapper Mos Def) being force-fed under standard Guantamo Bay procedure. Directed by BAFTA-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia, the four-minute clip features the sort of highly disturbing images that will keep you awake for nights on end. And perhaps the most distressing part of the film is that it is only a brief glimpse into the horrific reality faced by Gitmo inmates every day. (Note: Please use your discretion in watching the video below, as the images are graphic and upsetting.)
Currently about 120 detainees at Guantanamo Bay are on hunger strike, and of those 120 protesters, 44 are being force-fed, usually twice a day via a torturous procedure that takes about two hours. In collaboration with a human rights organization called Reprieve, Yasiin Bey volunteered to undergo the same procedure and have it documented in order to raise awareness of the brutal abuses at Gitmo.
In the above video, we see the rapper and actor in an orange prison jumpsuit as he is strapped to a chair. He then struggles violently as a team pushes a tube up his nose and uses it to pipe food into his body. Bey does not last for the full feeding, breaking down in tears and begging them to stop after the first round.
"I got this burning," he says in the aftermath of the procedure, "And it starts to get really unbearable. It feels like something is going into my brain and reaches the back of my throat, and I really couldn't take it."
It's safe to say that when Bey signed on to make this movie, he had no idea what he was in for.
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Morbid though it may be, we are drawn to tragic figures. The most captivating individuals are the ones who have suffered, who have exemplified controversial and volatile lifestyles. Amy Winehouse, as talented a singer and songwriter as she was, is remembered as a character drenched in tragedy, with her history of substance and alcohol abuse leading ultimately to her untimely death at the age of 27 in 2011. As such, we learn now via The Guardian that Asif Kapadia, a filmmaker in no way unfamiliar with tragic stories, is moving forward with a documentary about Winehouse's life.
Kapadia's most revered work to date is his 2010 doc Senna, a film about the Brazilian Formula 1 racecar driving champion Ayrton Senna, who died during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
But London-born Winehouse is also a subject of intrigue due to her insurmountable talent. The victor of six Grammys and a number of other awards for her musical output, Winehouse's creativity and passion earned her acclaim and fandom for her many years in the spotlight.
Kapadia and his producer James Gay-Rees released the following statement regarding the subject of their forthcoming documentary: "Amy was a once-in-a-generation talent who captured everyone's attention. She wrote and sung from the heart and everyone fell under her spell. But tragically Amy seemed to fall apart under the relentless media attention, her troubled relationships, her global success and precarious lifestyle."
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The director who stunned the world with his amazing Ayrton Senna documentary will be debuting a new film about Amy Winehouse at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival. Filmmaker Asif Kapadia has collected never-before-seen and rare archival footage of the tragic singer for an untitled film and Focus Features International officials will shop the project to foreign buyers at Cannes.
The director tells The Hollywood Reporter, "This is an incredibly modern, emotional and relevant film that has the power to capture the zeitgeist and shine a light on the world we live in in a way that very few films can.
"Amy was a once-in-a-generation talent who captured everyone's attention; she wrote and sung from the heart, and everyone fell under her spell... As a society we celebrated her huge success, but then we were quick to judge her failings when it suited us."
Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning in 2011.
Did you know there are scientifically documented cases of very young children who had spontaneous memories of things and people and places they could never possibly have known about? Apparently The Return’s screenwriter Adam Sussman discovered this phenomenon and created the character Joanna Mills (Sarah Michelle Gellar) a young woman who since she was 11-years-old has been having disjointed flashbacks of some horrible attack she never experienced herself. She flashes regularly on a dank bar paintings of seahorses and ends up hiding from a man who calls her "Sunshine.” And who knew hearing Patsy Cline on your radio would spell supernatural trouble? The best part is when Joanna has one of these episodes she ends up cutting herself. Needless to say the girl’s a tad screwed up. Eventually Joanna finds herself inexplicably drawn to La Salle Texas where she finally starts to piece together the murder mystery that has been plaguing her for so long. Thank god! Someone just needs to hand Sarah Michelle Gellar a Coke and a smile. Forget about being a scream queen Gellar has become the queen of depression with the two Grudges and now The Return under her belt. She has actually made an art form of sad teary-eyed stares in the mirror sinking onto a bed with head in hand and general malaise. She also plays scared pretty well but deep down you know at any moment Gellar can get all Buffy the Vampire Slayer on whoever is threatening her especially as the tough Joanna. But the actress has to be getting tired of all this despair so let’s hope she decides to move on. The other Return cast members really aren’t worth mentioning except for a brief appearance by Sam Shepherd as Joanna’s dad. One can only imagine he did this for some extra cash. The Return is one of those cases in which the trailer makes the movie look a hell of a lot scarier than it really is which is probably why the studio didn’t pre-screen it for critics. It’s a marketing ploy of course pitching a thriller with an established horror actress attached--except this time they are messing with their built-in audience. Reminiscent of the truly creepy What Lies Beneath The Return may have a few jumps and bumps here and there but as a ghost story there isn’t any oomph. Maybe it has something to do with the ultra-depressive main character who isn’t nearly developed enough. We aren’t invested in what happens to Joanna or the woman periodically possessing her so she can solve her murder. The Return doesn’t measure up to its expectations lulling us instead of thrilling us.