INDEPENDENT NEWS

Americans Attempt to Visit Guantánamo Prisoners

Published: Wed 7 Dec 2005 02:43 PM
Americans to Visit Guantánamo Prisoners
25 U.S. Citizens walk 80 miles across Cuba in an effort to visit prisoners at U.S. Naval Base
Calling their action Witness to Torture: A March to Visit the Prisoners in Guantánamo, the marchers began morning in Santiago de Cuba and will walk the 80 miles to the gates of the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay to arrive on December 10th, International Human Rights Day. They include War Resisters League (WRL) activists and members of Catholic Worker communities throughout the country.
Frida Berrigan, the 31-year-old veteran member of the WRL board and activist network, is one of those marching. Berrigan, a resident of Brooklyn, New York, says that she is participating in this march and witness because “torture is terrorism. What the U.S. government is doing in our name and with our money is a crime against humanity, it makes us fundamentally less secure, and is counter to all that is good and right. It is just that simple.”
By participating in the walk, Berrigan is following in a long WRL marching tradition. Ralph DiGia, a longtime WRL staff member who will celebrate his 91st birthday while the group is out of the country, was part of the 1964 “Walk to Peace from Quebec to Guantánamo.” He recalls, “Members of our group were beaten and arrested in Georgia for being an interracial group, and we were barred from leaving the country in Miami. I wish Frida better luck than we had.”
Simon Harak, WRL’s Anti-Militarism Coordinator, notes that “In 2002, WRL gave its Peace Award to Christian Peace Makers Team, and now four members of that nonviolent group have been kidnapped in Iraq. Instead of responding with fear and retreat in the face of such horrors, nonviolent activists must continue to be creative and courageous. We are glad that Frida and others are marching in the spirit of nonviolence to send a strong and clear message that victims of war are not forgotten, and encourage others to support their efforts.”
Founded in 1923, the War Resisters League believes war to be a crime against humanity and advocates Gandhian nonviolence as the method for creating a democratic society free of war, racism, sexism, and human exploitation. http://www.warresisters.org/
Witness Against Torture seeks to “defend human dignity” by visiting with the hundreds of detainees who have been held for more than three years under horrific conditions by the American government. To learn more, visit http://www.witnesstorture.org/

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