This past week held two important events. On Jan. 11 there was a vigil calling for the closing of Guantanamo and the use of indefinite detention and on Jan. 12 there was a city council hearing on a resolution to declare Chicago a “torture free city.”
This year, 2012, marks ten years of Guantanamo being open and indefinite detention being a practice. Currently just fewer than 200 men remain in the prison with no access to due process. If current practice continues these men could be held until their own deaths having never been accused of a crime or afforded an opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law.
This year also marks over 30 years of struggle to bring accountability to police officers on the south side of Chicago who used torture to extract confessions from suspects. Over 200 African-American men, some as young as 14, were beaten, shocked with electric cattle prods, put through mock executions, and placed in stress positions by Chicago police to extract fake confessions and ensure higher convictions rates. Many of these men went on to serve over 20 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.
Both of these events shared a common link: justice is a core piece of our identity as a democracy and human community. When we remove, compromise, exploit, or block justice we lose the balance of power between government and citizen – between law officer and community member – between nation and citizen of another land. And when that balance of power is gone – then we cease to be a democracy and we edge towards the abusive power regimes that stand infamous in human history.
The vigil and the hearing on the city council resolution provided the space to take back a piece of that lost democracy, the lost balance of power by honoring the victims and calling for accountability. Check out the photos below and the link to an article explaining more about the resolution.
8th Day Center for Justice joins with groups around the globe to mark the 10th anniversary of Guantanamo Bay Prison and the practice of indefinite detention, enhanced interrogation and torture.
We will spend the next nine days leading up to January 11 going to teach-ins, actions, vigils and walks to help raise up the voices of those disappeared by fear, prejudice and the abuse of the law.
Check out the link below to see how you too can “hunger for justice” this next week and support the end of torture!
Hungering for Justice
January 2-12, 2012
To mark and mourn ten years of torture, abuse, mistreatment and miscarriage of justice, Witness Against Torture began a liquids-only fast on January 2. We will break the fast the morning of January 12. We fast for ten days to remember ten years of Guantanamo. We fast for the closure of Guantanamo and Bagram and other sites of indefinite detention and abuse. We fast for an end to torture. We fast for the restoration of justice and decency.
We remember those held at Guantanamo, Bagram and other similar prisons around the world – those who have been deprived of food by their captors, and those who have voluntarily deprived themselves of food in protest. We stand in solidarity with them, and our fast is our small piece of understanding. Join Us! Also read Practical Information About Fasting