On Friday January 11th about 75 people gathered at Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago. In observance on the 11th anniversary of Guantanamo several organizations spoke out against the practice and policy of indefinite detention and torture by the U.S. abroad and here in this country. Participating groups were World Can’t Wait, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Christian Peace Maker Team, Illinois Coalition Against Torture, NATO 5 Defense Committee, Gay Liberation Network, Amnesty International, and Tamms Year Ten. The speakers covered related topics such as Bradley Manning, the need to stand up for Muslim Americans as a targeted population of FBI repression, the 5 young men known as the NATO 5 who are being held on bogus terrorism charges, Bagram detention center, and Zero DarK Thirty, a film that can oly be described as a propaganda film for U.S. torture. The rally and press conference emphasized the humanity of those still held at Guantanamo and highlighted 55 of the 86 cleared for release and yet remain in Guantanamo by having images of the cleared on posters and reading their names.
The names were read in a sequence of ten at a time and at the tenth name we were led in the song “Courage My Brother” a song that came from the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa. We changed the title Courage Muslim Brother”
We all felt it was important to give a name and a face to those still held by the U.S. because the film Zero Dark Thirty portrays those captured and held as the “worst of the worst” and not worthy of human rights. Once the names were read a flash mob was formed and the posters of those held were placed against the glass of the federal building.
then to the Bean sculpture in Millennium Park. Hundreds of people saw us and fliers were passed out. As we were leaving Millennium Park a group of school children on the other side of a median joined us in our chant, jumping up down with fists in the air, and doing the call and response “What we want?, Close Guantanamo! When do we want it?, Now!”We then marched to 600 N Michigan theater, and then onto AMC East 21 theater. Below is video of the rally and press conference by CAN TV here in Chicago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k6PloiSefo&list=UUSgXu3i7zx9V-MiAuLeOmtA&index=1