Letter on Thanksgiving Protest at GTMO
I received the following from Jeremy Varon on a developing protest in Cuba. – JG
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
A delegation from Witness Against Torture is gathering in Guantanamo Province in Cuba, in hopes of staging a days-long vigil in protest of the detention camp at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo. I am among that group. Our messages are simple: that the detention camp must close immediately; that GTMO not simply move to the US, by holding men without charge or trial in federal prisons; that the US bring legitimate terror suspects into a proper court system; and that the US military vacate its lease and leave the island of Cuba.
** We hope to generate media from and about our trip. We urge you to keep an eye out for it — read, share, like and post word of our actions — and to keep us and the men at GTMO in your thoughts and prayers. Activities to support our trip, including solidarity fasts and a prayer chain, are being organized by Beth Brockton at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive updates, send an email to email@example.com. **
Our trip will coincide with the US holiday of Thanksgiving (which itself papers over the history of Euro-American colonization). On Thanksgiving day we will fast in solidarity with the detained men, some of whom remain on hunger strike and are brutally force fed. Away from our own families, we hope to mark the cruel separation of the prisoners from their loved ones and communities. 48 of them have been cleared for release by the US government itself. None have ever had family visits, despite that the vast majority have been held without charge for more than a decade.
We abhor terrorism. But we know well the terrible things done in the name of combatting it. Guantanamo is the tragic, criminal legacy of the US reaction to 9-11, which the United States has yet to squarely confront. And we are acutely aware of the xenophobia, nativism, and Islamophobia that have raged over the last 10 days. Our hope is to help pierce the prejudice and fear and stand in solidarity with men — many of whom are guilty of nothing — whom much of American society has demonized, and whom our government has persecuted with the pain of physical abuse, mental torment, and open-ended detention.
Last, while we appreciate well-wishes, communication will be spotty and we need to keep our inboxes clear for various things related to our trip
Peace, with Justice
Jeremy Varon with Witness Against Torture