Fast for Justice: Day Nine

posted by Mike on January 19th, 2009

Tomorrow morning we break our nine-day fast in McPherson Square at dawn, amidst thousands of others gathered to celebrate the promise of peace on Inauguration Day.

Folks are out shopping for food; when they get back, we’ll cook up a good vegetable soup for breakfast.

Many things have not gone as planned this week–but then so many things have gone better than planned. This afternoon, we had another “unexpected Obama moment.” After our day’s vigiling, we stepped off the bus, and a minute later the road was shut down:

The more I hear about yesterday’s vigiling at the Inauguration Concert, the more bummed I am that I missed it. Sounds like the concert-goes were just super-positive about the message. And I missed this, which even on YouTube brings a tear to my eye:

When I was hiking, and things got tough, I sang this verse to myself:
Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back;
This land was made for you and me.
—Woody Guthrie

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15 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On January 21, 2009 at 09:50 Rudi said:

    Congratulations: Obama has already suspended the military tribunals associated with Guantanamo (linked).

  2. On January 21, 2009 at 11:47 Will @ WoWo said:

    What I don’t understand Mike, why you’re wasting precious time and energy on a bunch of alleged terrorists – if not terrorists, then hellbent murderous thugs and by all indications are dangerous to any society – when in Worcester we have many local issues and problems to address and resolve.
    Why don’t you invest your time and energy on addressing stuff locally?
    Who really cares about a bunch of alleged international terrorists, animals committed to destroying our way of life? Who certainly would have no qualm using a child or a woman as a human bomb.
    Get home and do some work here. Worcester needs it.

  3. On January 21, 2009 at 12:35 Mike said:

    Will: I do invest my time and energy working on local issues. I also work on issues like this one, which seem to me to combine civil liberties, human rights, and the sanctity of the human person in an important package.

    The question of which “issues” a person should work on is a good one, maybe something I’ll write a post about one of these years. All of the people I’ve shared this project with who are doing serious, effective, long-term work on Worcester issues have been very, very supportive–I consider that a good sign.

    I’m not going to re-hash all the arguments about Guantanamo and torture here (at least not today), so I’ll just say that both the ACLU and Andrew Sullivan express a lot of my own thoughts.

  4. On January 21, 2009 at 20:31 Cha-Cha Connor said:

    Congratulations Mike.

    Seriously, you and your commitment to peace make us all in Worcester, and at Real Solutions, very proud. If you do permanent damage to yourself I will kick your you-know-what (in a loving way).

    Take good care,


  5. On January 22, 2009 at 13:10 Kaihsu Tai said:

    “Alleged terrorists” are not terrorists, since “presumption of innocence” is a principle of the law in the United States of America.

  6. On January 23, 2009 at 09:26 Cheeky Swanson said:

    Presumption… is a heap of poop in this scenario.
    They aren’t Americans and international law dictates their incarceration. They are a danger to world society.
    So why exactly are they locked up and no one get them free?
    A snafu in the legal system perhaps?
    Because they’re a danger to the world.
    OK. What about the rights of “alleged” child pornographers and rapists? Shouldn’t they be treated fairly under the law?
    Or take one of those “alleged terrorists” as a roommate or into your family and help them adapt and become Americans. Surely they’ll reform eh?
    Since the USA violated their “human rights” (Do humans kill?) of which they have none here, let’s be magnanimous and give them citizenship and handful of cash for damages and send them on their merry way.
    Better still, set them free and watch what happens.
    Who’ll take responsibility for that? You?

  7. On January 23, 2009 at 14:47 Mike said:

    Cheeky, I think these men are still there because once you lock someone up illegally like this, it’s work to set them free or figure out how to get them into the legitimate legal system, and the Bush Administration had no interest in doing that work. The many obviously innocent detainees who’ve been released have been an embarrassment to them and the nation–why give your critics any more ammunition?

    “Better still, set them free and watch what happens.” Well, we *have* set many of them free, and by and large this has seemed to work out. A few have joined terrorist groups. It will be interesting to see how the Obama Administration chooses to review the cases of the current detainees, and if they can sort the “sheep from the goats” better than it’s been done in the past.

  8. On January 23, 2009 at 15:21 Will @ WoWo said:

    Just dropped by to see what’s happening…whoa!
    What’s going on here.

    What’s the story with the “Dream” something or other Church on Chestnut St. Mike? They own just about own the whole block now.

    The heck with incarcerated alleged terrorists.
    There’s work to be done in Worcester Mike.
    Hop to it!

  9. On January 23, 2009 at 17:11 Adam Villani said:

    Will, there is a world outside of Worcester, and we’re allowed to care about it, too.

  10. On January 23, 2009 at 17:46 Mike said:

    A PS to my response above. Emi McLean, detainee lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, was on NPR this afternoon, and repeated CCR’s belief that the main characteristic of the remaining detainees is not a high threat level, but nationality. 40% of them are Yemeni, for example. I poked around CCR’s website for some report on this, but didn’t see anything. She’s speaking in DC on Monday, and I’ll try to get more info. This is another area where I’m interested to see how the Obama folks cope–can they work with Yemen to find a solution where Bush couldn’t?

  11. On January 24, 2009 at 13:56 Mike said:

    Ah, here is a description of “who is at Guantanamo by the great Dahlia Lithwick. “We also know that the single most important determinant of whether a prisoner was repatriated or kept at Guantanamo is their nationality.”

  12. On January 24, 2009 at 17:26 Kaihsu Tai said:

    Repeating “they are a danger to world society” does not make it true. Charge them and try them to find out.

  13. On January 24, 2009 at 22:30 Mike said:

    AFP, today: Yemen says 94 Guantanamo inmates home within three months

    Wonder what changed.

  14. On January 27, 2009 at 10:46 Will @ WoWo said:

    You think that’s good news Mike?
    Yemen (hottest spot on the plant for terrorist training) will recycle them and send them out on another mission from God right?
    I wonder how many innocent women and children will die now eh?

  15. On January 27, 2009 at 11:13 Mike said:

    I think it’s good news if Yemen wants to have the conversation–we’re not going to be able to repatriate people to Yemen without diplomacy. (I don’t know enough about the diplomatic situation to know how meaningful this news story is.) Fixed the link above so it points to the Dahlia Lithwick article about recidivism. Obviously you need to set up a situation that discourages recidivism (or, for those detainees who were never on a “mission from God” in the first place, discourages them from beginning that mission).

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