Whatever the presidential candidates bring to the table — hope, experience, executive ability, past heroism, a fighting spirit — there is one word so ugly that no one has brought it forward. Yet this word so important to the degeneration of the United States’ moral standing that it cannot go ignored.
What do we do about national leaders who have embraced torture as an integral part of our foreign policy? What do we do with the policy? To me, the questions answer themselves, as long as the issue keeps getting raised by the likes of us.
Thus, the work of Witness Against Torture is important, particularly this week:
Friday, January 11, 2008: The 6 year anniversary of the first prisoners being brought to Guantánamo.Last year on January 11th, after 500 people processed from the Supreme Court to the Federal court, 150 people risked arrest on behalf of the men in Guantanamo, with 88 being arrested inside the Federal Court in DC. Many of those arrested withheld their identification and took the names of men at Guantanamo. It was a very powerful day, made possible by the contributions of many in the extended Catholic Worker family.This year, we again are working with many groups on a demonstration in Washington, D.C. The day will begin with a rally at the National Mall co-sponsored with Amnesty International and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture followed by a “prisoner procession” to the Supreme Court. Endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, CodePink, International Federation for Human Rights, Network of Spiritual Progressives, Peace Action, School of the Americas Watch, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International, United for Peace and Justice, War Resisters League, and other groups.Come to DC or organize a vigil, demonstration or speaker in your own community!
Events are planned in the Albany area:
Residents of the Capital region will vigil the week of January 7th, calling for the US detention facility in Guantanamo. Vigils will be held in Albany, Guilderland, Schenectady, and Saratoga. Several participants will play the role of prisoners, wearing orange jump suits and black hoods at the Monday vigil in Guilderland, the Wednesday vigil in Albany and the Saturday vigil in Saratoga Springs.
Many of these vigils are at regular weekly vigil times. However, we hope that additional participants will join us to create a larger presence. Please come if you can.
The vigils are part of a national effort organized by Witness Against Torture (http://www.witnesstorture.org/), endorsed by Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Pax Christi USA, and other human rights organizations in the US and around the world calling for the closure of the US detention facility at Guantanamo and asking that the more than 300 men whobve been imprisoned there for more than five years, be released or given fair trials in impartial courts of law.
Anyone who believes it’s long past time for Americans to demand an end to this government’s shameful policy of indefinite imprisonment is invited to join any of the following vigils:
January 7th 5pm at the northeast corner of Routes 155 and 20 in Guilderland. Sponsored by Guilderland Neighbors for Peace. Contact Steve or Barbara Wickham, 452-6899.
January 9th Noon in front of the Capitol in Albany (Eagle and State). Sponsored by Upper Hudson Peace Action. Contact David Easter, 462-5907.January 11th 3pm in front of the Armory in Albany (Washington and Lark). Sponsored by Albany Catholic Worker and Troy Catholic Worker. Contact Fred Boeher, 482-4966
January 11th 3pm, near intersection of Balltown Rd and Consaul Rd, Niskyuna. Sponsored by Schenectady Neighbors for Peace. Contact Elaine Klein, email@example.com. We will line our up cars at Mohawk Commons Mall, draped with our Schenectady Neighbors for Peace banner, messages written in car chalk on our windows, and posters leaning against or attached to cars This is one way to stay out of the winter cold, and still get our message out.
January 12th at noon in front of the Post Office on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. Sponsored by Saratoga Peace Alliance.
Paul Rehm, Upper Hudson Peace Action Steering Committee member, said, “We condemn this American government’s claim that it can put people in cells or cages and hold them indefinitely, denying even habeas corpus – the basic right of an individual to challenge his or her detention in an unbiased court of law.”
Guilderland Neighbors for Peace, Schenectady Neighbors for Peace, and the Saratoga Peace Alliance are all branches of Upper Hudson Peace Action.