Ten Days Against Ten Years of Guantanamo

posted by Mike on January 12th, 2012

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I observed the tenth anniversary of Guantanamo along with hundreds of others in front of the White House. Our group had placed a wheeled cage, with someone dressed as a detainee (black hood, orange jumpsuit) inside, outside the White House 90 hours before the big demonstration began, and the goal was to keep the cage vigil going until the demonstration, and the following march to the Supreme Court, were over.

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So I stood next to the cage the afternoon of January 11, keeping the “detainee” company, talking with tourists and protesters, and keeping people from doing anything stupid to the cage. (Only a handful tried, but enough to put me on edge.)

When I started working on closing Guantanamo and related issues in late 2008, it felt like the issue was in play, but in 2012 working on Guantanamo or indefinite detention feels like tilting at windmills.

I’ve read that people like to spread their donations across several charities, building a portfolio in the spirit of a mutual fund. I’m blessed to have spare time as well as money to contribute, and in my portfolio Guantanamo is one of the more speculative investments.

This year’s ten-day “Hungering for Justice” campaign was a portfolio in itself, a mix of outreach, education, street demonstrations, and both a civil disobedience trial and arrest (in that order). Other groups we work with, like Amnesty International or the Center for Constitutional Rights, work on the issues in more conventional ways that require money and specialized expertise; Witness Against Torture tries the many other things that might possibly, maybe, contribute, and that mostly require dedicated people.

The first photo, of demonstrators and the cage outside the White House, is mine. The second, of the march to the Supreme Court, is Johnny Barber’s.

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One Comment Leave a comment.

  1. On January 13, 2012 at 18:10 Paul Murphy said:

    Why would you want to close the only thing that provides any general awareness of the US global gulag?

    If Gitmo is closed, detainees will simply be transferred to one of dozens of “secret” facilities, or tortured by international proxies.

    Nothing will have been accomplished except that it will be even easier for Americans to cultivate ignorance.

    The US military has been in action, all over the world in every venue, continuously since 1950, and there is no record of democratic action in the country having any effect on that fact.

    I don’t like it either, but it’s true. The idea that praying the rosary is a serious response to these things is certainly one of the reasons why people find it hard to take the catholic left, and indeed catholics, very seriously.

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