by Art Laffin
Today is day seven of the eleven day “Fast for Justice” and the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. As I have tried to imagine what it would be like if I was a Guantanamo or Bagram prisoner, like Skaker Aamer, a father of four, and experienced the following treatment: being held for nine years without charges; being tortured and abused; being held incommunicado and denied contact with family and friends; never knowing if you will ever be free, I know that I would certainly want people to demand an end to my mistreatment and call for my immediate release.
I am honored and humbled to be part of the blessed Witness Againast Torture community of over 100 sisters and brothers from around the U.S. and abroad in this “Fast for Justice.” In our fast and public witness, we repent for and decry the crime and sin of torture, indefinite detention, rendition, and the denial of legal rights. We demand that the Guantanamo and Bagram military prisons be immediately closed.
In our fast we act in solidarity with the men at Guantanamo, Bagram and with all those being held in other U.S. detention facilities around the world. We want the 173 prisoners currently in Guantanamo, and the over 600 prisoners at the U.S. military prison in Bagram to know that they are not forgotten, and that there are people in the U.S. who deeply care about their plight and who are working to hold accountable those responsible for their torture and mistreatment. During this fast I/we remember in a special way the six prisoners who have died in Guantanamo, and all those who have died in secret military prisons.
In our public actions at the White House, Department of Justice, Congress, the FBI Headquarters, the Pentagon and elsewhere we, some 35 fasters here in Washington, D.C., appeal to those in power to abide by international law and the United Nations Convention on Torture, and to heed the biblical mandate to “bring out the prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon.” (Isaiah 42:7)
I hunger and fast for justice. I pray that all captives are set free. I pray, too, that I and everyone in our world, can emulate the loving nonviolent example of Martin Luther King, Jr. and truly heed his words: “Love even for enemies is the key to the solution of all the problems of our world.” Today, let us recommit ourselves to heal our wounded world as we seek to create together the beloved community.