Close Guantanamo Now!
The national demonstration, Close Guantanamo Now!, was organized by Amnesty International and held on Saturday, January 17 to mark the seventh anniversary of the arrival the first detainees at the infamous prison and to call for its closure. (See original appeal)
Three members of US Citizens for Peace& Justice were among other individuals who volunteered to represent one of the over 250 illegally detained prisoners remaining at Guantanamo. Each volunteer was assigned the name of one of the detainees and participated in the theater-like protest.
Dressed in orange jumpsuits with black name stickers on the front, we stood shoulder to shoulder, silently encircling Piazza della Repubblica before beginning our procession to Piazza Barberini. Leaving the piazza, the prisoners walked in single-file, slowly and solemnly down via Barberini while pedestrians silently looked on.
Arriving in the piazza, the prisoners sat in semi-circled rows on the ground and listened to an Amnesty International spokesperson reading the grim statistics of international law and human rights violations for which Guantanmo is notorious. He then echoed the sentiments of millions of us around the world when he said that he hoped that Barack Obama would, upon entering office, make good on his promise to close Guantanamo immediately.
Before the actor-activist Stefano Lucarelli read selected pieces from a book entitled, "Poesie da Guantanamo" (Poems from Guantanamo), we were reminded that, as in the past, the U. S. government continues to try to silence the voices of the illegal detainees. In the first year of operation when prisoners at Guantanamo were denied pen and paper, many of them used styrofoam cups or napkins on which they wrote poems, using coffee as ink and improvised writing instruments. It was only from 2002 that "some" detainees were given writing materials though since the military refuses to declassify what the prisoners write, claiming that the "content" is a "risk to national security", it cannot be circulated outside the prison.
Marc Falkoff, who has represented 17 Guantanamo detainees has complied a number of declassified poems in a book which was released in August 2007. The following is part of one of the poems we heard.
by Abdulla Thani Faris al Anazi
The readings were accompanied by ethnic music from musician and writer Marco Cinque.
Thanks to Amnesty International for organizing this demonstration and to all those who stood in solidarity on Saturday against this injustice.
Petition to put an end to the sanctions against Syria - their only effect is to take a terrible toll on the population, causing them to migrate! Sign the petition promoted by the Italian-based Committee to lift sanctions against Syria. For more information...
Did someone tell you that U.S. military intervention in Iraq was over? Not true: we're at it again. This time the pretext to drop bombs is "curbing ISIS" (which was created by the U.S. in the first place, to overturn Assad in Syria and al-Malaki in Iraq, and is now out of hand. Like what happened to "our" creature al Qaeda in Afghanistan). And the death toll continues to rise...
Copyright © 2009 Rose Kazma All rights reserved.
U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome, Italy