From the Archive
Day 6 Update: “You Can Have a Heart and You Can Stop This Torture Now”
Day 6 of the fast was “Pentagon Monday” and brought an early morning and cold temperatures. The lights turned on at 5:30am to allow our 30 plus people to wake up, get dressed, and travel to join the Dorothy Day House weekly vigil at the Pentagon. We brought the men in Guantanamo with us as we held vigil in the bitter cold. We spoke their words as the police stood watch and employees rushed pass. It is hard to judge the impact of our presence but there is something important about witnessing at the center of U.S. war making.
We opened the vigil with these words from Art Laflin, “We greet all Pentagon workers and police in a spirit of peace. We, members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and Witness Against Torture, come to the Pentagon, the center of war making on our planet, to say YES to love and justice, and NO to the death-dealing policies of a war making empire. Mindful that God calls us to love and never to kill and mistreat our neighbor, we seek to eradicate what Dr. King called ‘the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism.’ We remember and pray for all victims of the U.S. empire, including the nine men who have died at Guantanamo since its opening.”
Building on our workshop with the War Resisters League, we took our presence to the Department of Justice. During the rally, the War Resisters League presented 14,000 signatures to a representative of the Attorney General demanding the ban of tear gas in prison and we read these words of those affected by tear gas in prison:
“One woman imprisoned by the Colorado Department of Corrections describes the experience: They didn’t hit me with the gas until the fight was over and I was already in handcuffs and shackles. The captain sprayed me directly in the face. I immediately began to choke, snot, tears, and saliva spewing from my face. It felt like I was breathing fire. A couple minutes later I began to vomit…. I was not allowed to wash the chemical off until three days later. So for those three days the chemicals continued to burn my flesh.”.
Together, we sang:
You can have a heart // You can stop this torture now
You can ban this tear gas // and make your children proud
In the evening, we came together to remember the the cloud of witnesses that came before us. We remember those who our community has lost this year. We called upon the spirits of Joe Morton, George Homanich, Dan Berrigan, Michael Ratner, Larry Egbert, Tim Chadwick, and Sister Liz Proefridt to be with us. Finally, Beth Brockman led us in a ritual that asked us to reflect on someone that brought us to the circle. Each one spoke the name of that person or persons as we lit a candle.
In DC? Join us for these events.
Tonight, January 10th @ 7pm: Words From the Grassroots: Strengthening Our Resistance to State Violence
Location: 801 22nd Street NW Gallery 102, Smith Hall of Art, Washington, DC 20052
Join the Center for Constitutional Rights, Witness Against Torture, and the Tea Project for a night of tea, art, poetry, music, and words by artists, activists, and leaders in the movements to end state violence from indefinite detention at Guantánamo, police murders, and institutionalized Islamophobia. Speakers will share stories of hope and lessons from the front lines of their work, while speaking to the ways we need to change our resistance to confront the incoming Trump administration.
Doors open at 6:30 PM and the program will begin at 7:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public. Tea will be served throughout the evening.
January 11th Rally: No More Guantánamo. No Torture Presidency. No Indefinite Detention
Join Witness Against Torture and our coalition partners on January 11th in Washington DC. for our annual rally to close Guantanamo!
Location: Supreme Court
12:15: March around Senate Buildings.
Torture, discrimination, and indefinite detention are wrong. There are no exceptions. Any attempt to bring back torture or to send new people to Guantánamo will be strongly opposed in the United States and throughout the world. Any effort to persecute Muslims – or any other religious, racial, or ethnic group – through special immigration or surveillance measures is unacceptable.
Mr. Trump must:
*make clear the absolute rejection of torture, as banned by US and international law
*continue handling domestic terrorism suspects within the civilian criminal justice system and in accord with the US Constitution
*continue the policy of transferring men from Guantánamo and work toward the closure of the prison, with its steep moral and financial cost to the United States
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Donate to support our work and Fast for Justice.
We are asking our supporters to donate $55 to Witness Against Torture to symbolize the 55 men remaining in Guantanamo.
Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work. We need your financial support. We are fiscally sponsored by the Washington Peace Center. The Washington Peace Center is a verified US-registered non profit.If you are able, click here to donate: