17 Uighurs Exiled in Limbo….But With Beaches

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So the 17 Uighurs captured in Afghanistan and finally declared non-combatants last year after seven years in Guantanamo are to go to Pulau, the only country (it was a U.S. dependency until 1994) that would take them. Palau is a tiny group of islands way out in the Pacific.  I have friends who lived there and they would constantly wax lyrical about its beautiful beaches, clear waters, wonderful diving and great seafood. Not to mention friendly inhabitants. Another four Uighurs were released in 2006. The only country that would take them was Albania, where they now apparently run a pizza joint. I don’t have friends who have lived there but it doesn’t exactly have a reputation as the Pearl of the Adriatic, to put it mildly. Not a tough call on which one I’d choose, but that isn’t really the issue, which is the craveness of the U.S. government in sending them into exile in the first place instead of letting them settle in America (they might not want to, of course, considering their past experiences, but at least they should have had the choice). Apparently, the decision was taken because of fears that there might be a backlash in the U.S. against their release even though they had been cleared. Where ever they are, Albania or Palau, most of these guys will be miserable, marooned forever in a foreign country without any chance of returning home to their families and friends.

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