From the Archive
Daily Update – Days 5 & 6 of the Fast for Justice
Good news as reported in the Miami Herald:
A Kuwaiti jet early Friday departed from the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with a freed captive…leaving 104 war-on terror prisoners in the remote detention center…
Fayez al Kandari, 38, was held at Guantánamo as Detainee 552 since May 2002.
Although a war court prosecutor at one point prepared a case against him, he was never formally charged with a crime.
Days 5 & 6 of the Fast for Justice
Our group is now about 70 people strong. As we fast and plan our actions, we are buoyed by our growing community and determination to raise our voices in public.
*if you are in DC, please join us Sunday Night for
Day 5 – @ the White House
We joined the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker at their weekly White House vigil, and took over the space in front of the White House with street theater & song. Our presence was focused on the words of Mohammed Al-Hamiri. One faster remarked how “it was striking, poetic and sad — very much so, as Mohammed’s words led us into his suffering, the injustice, the individual struggle for his very life, his spirit not to lose hope.”
Please WATCH & SHARE this short video of our time at the White House.
Day 6 @ the CIA and Metropolitan Police Headquarters
At the CIA
This morning, we went to join the Pax Christi vigil at the CIA, walking single file down a busy road on a cold damp day to the gate of the compound, we were led in song, and when arrived at the gates, we lined up along the road in our orange prison suits and black hoods, holding signs: “Close Guantanamo,” “Force Feeding,” “Is This Who We Are?” Some of us walked onto the median to make our presence more visible to passing traffic.
For an hour or so, we stood vigil while speakers and singers highlighted the reasons we were there – the men in Guantanamo, of course, but also the U.S. aggressions in the Middle East that led to their imprisonment. The torture and the targeted drone assassinations. There were a number of supportive car honks as the traffic whizzed by.
Afterwards, we were invited for refreshments to the local Langley Quaker Meeting house. There were some delicious looking goodies, but we fasters stuck to the hot apple cider, tea, and coffee. We were warmed by the generous and caring people providing us with the hospitality.
At Metropolitan Police Headquarters (MPD)
We came back from the CIA just in time for our vigil at to conduct another vigil at MPD, where the DC Central Cellblock is also located. Our speakers were mothers from the DC and Baltimore areas whose sons had been killed by police officers: Comfort Oludipe, Darlene Cain, and Marion Gray-Hopkins.
The vigil closed with Chris Brandt’s (one of our WAT community) reading a poem he penned in the aftermath of WATs actions last year, and inspired by the mothers of those killed by state violence:
Because they are mothers.
Because they carried life in their bellies and brought it into this bright world.
Because they lifted their infants and held them and suckled them and cleaned them and fed them.
Because they loved them and scolded them and petted them and raised them up.
Because their children died.
Because their children were killed.
Because their children were shot by police officers.
Because killed by a uniform is still murder.
Because nothing will ever make their children come back.
Because nothing is left of their children but their names and their mothers’ memories.
Because the emptiness that erupted when they heard “Ma’am, your child is deceased” – can never be filled by anything but more emptiness, not even by their screams and their tears.
Because the bullets and beatings that killed their children took away a part of their hearts also.
Because they have begun the long hard job of dying, too long after their children died in a hurry.
Because the ones who took their children’s lives are not even indicted.
Because they were all “tragic occurrences.”
Because they were “unfortunate accidents.”
Because “we are very sorry Ma’am, but we have to move on.”
They do not.
They do not move on.
They do not move at all.
They stand, pillars of salt grief.
They stand in Ferguson, Oakland, Staten Island, Atlanta, Cleveland, Chicago, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Washington D.C.
They stand everywhere in these Disunited States.
They stand silent and look at us.
Their silence echoes in our skulls.
Their silent eyes ask why we are silent.
Let their names be known.
Let their names be known.
Let their silence spread silence – amid the noise of t.v. sets, honking horns, yelling and cheering at football games, the crash and clatter of subway trains, the endless commands to buy, buy something, buy anything.
Silent they stand and look at us.
Let the silence spread until we can hear, until we can see, until we resolve that no other mothers must ever again have to bear such pain.
Their silence is the place where song might be born, the echoing cave give birth to melody.
Song of grief since that must be, song of the broken heart, call of trumpet and violin, song of loss, of the entrance to hell, that is their song.
But also songs of love and desire, blue songs and gay songs, another man done gone songs.
And the child’s song of joy, the cradle songs and nursery rhymes, the silly songs in school playgrounds, the angry songs, the lullabyes.
The dancing songs, the rocking hips, ecstatic mouths, the long embrace.
let there be song.
Let their silence fill with song.
[Chris says anyone is free to use this any way you want].
As we walked in a procession back to the church where we staying, we sang the following refrain: “Comrade hold my hand/I know there’s a world worth fighting for/ I know there’s a world worth fighting for.”
Sunday, January 10th: 5pm @ The Impact Hub (419 7th Street NW, 3rd Floor)
The Peace Poets will perform. Witness Against Torture and CODEPINK will discuss their most recent trip to Guantanamo bay, Cuba. The Center of Constitutional Rights share the stories of the men they represent in Guantanamo.
CLICK HERE FOR OUR FULL WASHINGTON, DC SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
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Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work. If you are able, please donate here: https://www.razoo.com/story/Witness-Against-Torture