Joy, gratitude, and greetings to you! We’ve had a full day of reflections, meetings, rehearsals, and street theater that we hope you will enjoy reading about and seeing on flickr and facebook.
Morale is good here, and we continue to expand as new people arrive in DC to witness with us. It’s exciting to feel the energy building.
Thank you for your solidarity, as we join our spirits with those of our brothers in Guantánamo.
Witness Against Torture
*Please share your fasting experiences with us so we can pass them on to the larger community.*
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In this e-mail you will find:
1) DAY 3 – Wednesday, January 7
WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE SOCIAL MEDIA
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DAY 3 – Wednesday, January 7
This morning was a time for introspection and community-building. Sitting in our circle, we all wrote personal responses to prompts that we knew also loom large for the men in Guantanamo. Luke invited us each to think about people and experiences that have deeply affected us. Specifically, he asked us to remember people we love, why we love these people, and to also recall instances of separation from and reunion with loved ones.
As we shared our responses around the circle, we felt a growing sense of community and caring. We brought our families and friends into our circle. We also brought the men in Guantanamo into the circle, knowing they have loved ones that they dearly miss and hope they will soon be reunited with. We understood the importance of seeing the prisoners in all of their humanity, not just as numbers in a prison.
Later in the morning we created and rehearsed an action that we took to Union Station here in D.C. Using words from a letter written by Fahd Ghazy to his lawyer, a large painted banner of his face, a number of signs, and songs, we presented a performance piece attempting to show his humanity to people moving through the station. We spent over 45 minutes in the station doing our performance three times as we processed from one location to another.
During the dramatic readings of his words, we sang and hummed this song:
We’re gonna to build a nation
That don’t torture no one
But it’s going to take courage
For that change to come
As we walked out of the building we also sang:
Courage, Muslim brothers
You do not walk alone
We will walk with you
And sing your spirit home
Outside of Union Station, Frank invited us to form a circle and briefly express our feelings about the action we’d just created. Several people expressed surprise and gratitude because of having transformed the spaces inside.
In the evening, Dr. Maha Hilal, an activist who has been part of WAT and has just earned her doctorate, came to share her dissertation. It’s title is “Too Damn Muslim to Be Trusted: The War on Terror and the Muslim American Response.” Her study documented the beliefs and attitudes of Muslim Americans about being targeted since 9/11 – with a majority feeling diminished senses of legal and cultural citizenship.
Malachy Kilbride, who will join our group later in the week, wrote a reflection to share. Here is an excerpt:
The fasting is a spiritual act of solidarity as we align ourselves with the suffering of the Guantanamo captives, their families and friends, and the injustice of this whole bloody mess. The fast in and of itself will not bring an end to this terrible travesty. In a way though, the fasting will also highlight the hunger strikes of the prisoners. Prisoners of Guantanamo have engaged in hunger strikes now for years to protest the illegality of their confinement, treatment, their torture, and their helplessness and hopelessness. In fasting we stand with them, the men who starve for justice.