I just received from my Catholic Worker community this announcement of a national attempt to shut down Guantanamo Bay Prison. The U.S. government now considers itself outside of the Geneva Conventions. I hope people will take part locally and nationally to end this outrage. Kara
*WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE*
/A campaign to Shut Down Guantánamo/
November 13^th , 2006
To all members of the Catholic Worker family,
*We are writing with an important invitation.*
On January 11^th , 2002, the first prisoners arrived at the American run
interrogation center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. January 11^th , 2007, will
thus mark five years of indefinite detention.
As many of you may know, in December 2005, 25 friends, mostly members of
Catholic Worker communities, walked to Guantanamo to visit the prisoners
and to decry the morally and legally outlandish policies of our
government: the denial of Habeas Corpus; cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment of prisoners; and torture.
If nothing else, our five-day, around the clock fast and prayer vigil,
often utilizing the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary, has further
animated us to organize to Shut Down Guantánamo.
We are calling for January 11^th , 2007, to be an International Day to
Shut Down Guantánamo.
Presently we are working with the members of the/ Center for
Constitutional Rights, War Resisters League, CodePink, The Declaration
of Peace, Act Against Torture, /and the/ National Campaign for
Nonviolent Resistance/ on a demonstration in Washington, D.C. The day
will include a press conference led by lawyers representing the men at
Guantánamo and family members of those detained.
*We are also hoping to have as many people as there are prisoners,
around 430 at last count, risk arrest in an act of nonviolent civil
resistance, bringing the names of the men from Guantánamo into US courts. *
Obviously this is an ambitious goal. We are hoping that people from the
Catholic Worker community will help spearhead this effort.
It may be unique to issue a call for all of our communities to
participate in a single event, but the gravity of the issues and our
historical moment call for an urgent and unique respon
Please consider both joining us in DC and organizing locally in your own
Additionally, and as a recruiting mechanism for Jan.11^th *, we are
asking communities to hold vigils outside of their local Cathedrals a
month prior to the D.C. protest. *December 10^th * *is not only
International Human Rights Day, it is also the second Sunday of Advent,
a special day of peace in the liturgical life of the Church. Presently
we have vigils planned at 8 Cathedrals in the northeast.
The deafening silence of the Churches is both a symptom and cause of the
more general political, and ultimately spiritual, malady we face.
As a sign of hope, we should note that the head of the USCCB, Bishop
William S. Skylstad, recently signed the National Religious Campaign
Against Torture statement declaring that, “Any policies that permit
torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable.
Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of
our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but
allowed in deed? Let America abolish torture now -- without exceptions.”
Such a statement does not fulfill an obligation, it announces one. We
recommend that groups that intend to demonstrate at their Cathedral
write to their Bishop beforehand and request a meeting at which you can
express your faith and concerns in detail. If you would like the letter
we have used in contacting our Bishops on the East Coast, please contact us.
Regarding the Jan. 11^th demonstration in D.C., if need be, members of
our community may be available beforehand to meet with you in person, or
you can call or e-mail Frida Berrigan or Matt Daloisio for more
We do have free sleeping accommodations from Wednesday Jan.10^th through
Saturday, Jan. 13^th . There will be a meeting in DC the evening of
January 10^th , 2007 to go over details and prepare for the day.
At a recent teach-in hosted by Seton Hall Law School, Joseph Margulies,
a lawyer challenging the indefinite detention of the prisoners at
Guantánamo, framed the issue: “There is little question of how history
will respond to Guantánamo…it will be looked back on with condescension
and bemusement. How could we be so foolish, misguided, cruel? How we
will respond is a legal question and a political question. But it is
most of all a moral question. Will we respond with courage or cowardice?
This is our choice.”
Please consider joining this day in any way you can. We ask that you
seriously consider coming to DC to stand on behalf of those men who have
been denied justice for far too long.
Frida Berrigan 347.683.4928(c) Matthew W. Daloisio 201.264.4424(c)
on behalf of Witness Against Torture - www.witnesstorture.org