August 06, 2009
Here's a story that I'm sure will generate no discussion whatsoever. Four Chinese Muslims who had spent seven years detained as suspected terrorists at Guantánamo have been hired as greenskeepers at the beautiful Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda in preparation for this fall's PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Here's the deal, brought to us by the AP via Local Knowledge. The four Muslims, known as Uighurs from far western China, were held at the prison in Guantánamo Bay since being captured in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2001. However, the Pentagon determined that they did not pose a threat to the United States, and thus released them. But then the State Department stepped in and blocked their return to China, apparently out of concern that they could face political or other trouble there.
So what are four former Gitmo detainees to do? That's not exactly the kind of thing you can put on a resume. ("2001-2009: Guest, United States Government. Duties included housekeeping ...")
Enter Bermudian Premier Ewart Brown, who stepped up and offered to take the former prisoners in as guest workers. The move came as quite a surprise to some local officials and the British government, but so far, so good with the "guest workers." While someone somewhere will absolutely scream that it's horrible these former detainees are working at a posh golf course, the truth is, they don't seem to be treated particularly differently from anyone else working their way up. "They have only just started, but they are doing what everyone else does, starting at the bottom and fitting in,'' Steve Johnson, course manager, told the AP.
The tournament will take place in October and boasts a $1.35 million purse. The winners of all four majors, among many others, will play in Bermuda, which is reason enough to hate them. The golfers, that is, not the former detainees.
Now, talking politics is death for any sports blog, so I won't even begin to broach the subject. But for everyone's sake, I hope their time at the golf course passes without any incident whatsoever.