As you probably know, widespread hunger strikes broke out at the Guantanamo prison camp almost 90 days ago. Our country's leaders, as demonstrated by President Obama's remarks deploring the situation last week, have started paying attention. But we need to make sure our elected officials act quickly and decisively before any of the hunger strikers die.
A small delegation, including two Pax Christi members, visited Congressman James Moran (D-VA) last Tuesday and Congressman Moran offered to host a Congressional briefing which will take place on Friday morning, May 10th at 10am. Please contact your Member of Congress immediately (preferably no later than Thursday morning) and ask them:
- To send at least one staff member to this Guantanamo Congressional Staff briefing;
- To help stop the hunger strike by taking concrete action to quickly release Guantanamo detainees who have already been cleared for release;
- To close Guantanamo completely by transferring those who are not cleared for release to the U.S. for speedy and fair trials.
For more information on the Congressional briefing, click here for a PDF of the invitation. Let's make it a goal for PCUSA members around the country to call each of the 435 Members of Congress and ask them to send a staffer!
In support of this effort, we hope you'll read the rest of this Prayer-Study-Action e-bulletin provided below.
Bob Cooke, Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore
PRAY: Prayer to Close Guantanamo and
End Indefinite Detention
By T.C. Morrow, Director of Finance & Operations for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture
(This prayer was used at a vigil on May 3 in Washington, D.C.)
God of the open spaces, like this plaza, and God of the closed cells, like at Guantanamo, we give thanks that you have created each person in your image, each person with dignity and worth.
We pray that you may help all people remember that each and every person is your beloved child.
When we fall short and do ill to each other, lift us up and let your justice reign.
On this day, here in front of the White House, a symbol of hope and freedom, we gather to call for the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, a symbol of torture and shame.
We gather in solidarity with those desperate enough to go on hunger strike to make their voices heard. May they know that many voices have lifted up for an end to indefinite detention and closure of Guantanamo.
We pray for President Obama, for strength of conviction and action to close Guantanamo. We pray for others in our government to undue this stain on our country. We pray for the guards and medical staff at Guantanamo; we pray for the detainees, especially those who have been cleared for transfer and languish in the unknown. We pray for the American people and we pray for ourselves, that we may not give in to fear--that through your help O God, we can see a closure of the Guantanamo detention facility. Amen.
STUDY: It is time to free the
Guantanamo hunger strikers
by Art Laffin, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House
The biblical admonition "to proclaim liberty to captives" (Luke 4:18) has taken on critical urgency with respect to the 166 prisoners being held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. To protest their unjust indefinite detention and dehumanizing mistreatment, many prisoners are now in the third month of a hunger strike, and with each passing day, their health deteriorates.
On April 13, prison guards moved prisoners from communal housing to individual cells. As some prisoners resisted, guards used less-than-lethal rounds to subdue them, according to military spokesmen. It is not known how seriously injured these prisoners may be.
Adnan Latif, who spent more than 10 years in Guantanamo without being charged, would often go on a hunger strike to protest his unjust confinement. A Yemeni citizen, poet, father and husband, Latif was subject to severe beatings, druggings and torture. He had been cleared for release at least four separate times, yet continued to be imprisoned. On Sept. 8, Latif was found dead in his cell. He is one of the nine men to die at Guantanamo. No independent investigation has been conducted into any of these deaths. In Latif's own words, he asks: "Where is the world to save us from torture? Where is the world to save us from the fire and sadness? Where is the world to save the hunger strikers?"...
Click here to read this entire article.
ACT: Support the Congressional briefing;
help to close Guantanamo
From Witness Against Torture
Please call or e-mail your Congressperson and Senator to ask them to attend the Congressional Briefing on Guantanamo this Friday, May 10th.
When you call, ask to speak to the National Security or Scheduling staff, get an email, and follow up by sending the invitation (click here for a PDF of the invitation to download) and asking the member of Congress and/or staff to attend. Phone numbers are available from the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121. To find out who your representative is and contact information for them, click here.
After contacting your Members of Congress, don't forget to sign this petition to close Guantanamo. Click here to sign the petition.