Here are the results of our reader poll about the controversy surrounding an art exhibit of paintings by Guantanamo Bay detainees who are suspected al-Qaeda terrorists.
The paintings are being displayed and sold in an exhibit at John Jay College, a publicly-funded institution in New York City. A catalog about the exhibit made by the college does not mention the background of the artists.
The Department of Defense demanded the college destroy the artwork. Further, the lawyer for the detainees says because of the controversy surrounding the exhibit, any future artwork made by GITMO prisoners “would not be allowed out of the prison…and would be incinerated instead.”
Previous artwork made by Guantanamo Bay detainees was released to their family members after it was approved for transfer by prison authorities.
“Man what a problem to have! You think prisoners held by these Islamic countries would be supplied with materials and allowed to produce art?”
“The terrorists should not be able to make money off of it. Next, the families of the 9-11 terrorists will be vending glorification of 9-11 at the Ground Zero Mosque if they aren’t profiting already … It is a sadistic attempt to paint the terrorists as regular people with issues. If not for their issues see how nice they are … NOT.”
“Would we display artwork from Hitler [or] any SS member?”
“‘Freedom of expression’ for prisoners? … Loss of freedom is, or at least should be, inherent in imprisonment. Prisoners shouldn’t have rights to freedoms that law abiding citizens enjoy. The idea that terrorists are busy “creating” while imprisoned is absurd in itself. The displaying and selling of such “art” is further absurdity. That the professor thought this was a good plan speaks volumes about the confusion political correctness has fomented in the Western world. At the same time we are tearing down statues of historical U.S. figures, we are displaying artwork of terrorist prisoners. That’s seriously confused.”
“The insanity continues. How insensitive to the victims.”
“Even prisoners need a reason to survive. If they can’t be creative, their morale will be low and therefore maybe hurtful to other prisoners and guards.”
“The fact that the school “fails to mention” the artists and their background while selling the artwork is dishonest and deceptive. Terrorists should not be treated as celebrities and should not make money from their minders.”
“They can keep their best picture, maybe it will reform them.”
“All scenes appear to be an expression of wanting to live a normal life free from wars.”
“Do not reward terrorists whose true core beliefs are to destroy, not to bring beauty or art into this world.”
“Display on the prison walls.”
“The art should never leave the prison. It is a peaceful way to spend their days, but they should never make a dime off of these pictures.”
“The artwork should be sold and the proceeds given to victims of terrorism.”
“Art is art. If it helps humanize the jihadis or not, it is still art and should be left alone.”
“If a prisoner creates art and is later released from prison, should it be destroyed just because he created it in prison? Of course these are heinous crimes, but don’t we hold out hope for prisoners to rehabilitate? Once they’ve served their time, don’t we consider that they’ve repaid their debt to society?”
“Fair enough to view the work, but don’t sell and no money to the terrorists.”
“If, in some way, doing art softens these horrible people, then let them do it. They can put it in their cells, but it should never be displayed as that glorifies the terrorists and lends sympathy to them.”
“Any attention drawn to detainees who have been incarcerated for over a decade without any formal, legal process, I do welcome. And only for that reason: It would be an honorable thing to try these suspects.”