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Search words: catholic

catholic Workers March on Guantanamo

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Tuesday December 06, 2005 20:17author by CW Report this post to the editors

U.S. Christians March on Guantanamo to visit Prisoners on Hunger Strike

In this posting:
1. Announcement of “Witness Against Torture” and call to action
2. Press Release
3. Letter to Friends and Activists

1. Announcement of “Witness Against Torture” and call to action:

U.S. Christians March on Guantanamo to visit Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Take Action to Stop the Torture, Abuse & Illegal Detentions

Please forward this information to your friends, families, organizations and other contacts.

Twenty-five U.S. Christians in the nonviolent tradition of Dorothy Day and the catholic Worker are setting out from Santiago, Cuba today (Dec. 6) on a solemn 50-mile march to Guantanamo Bay. They seek 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 U.S. government. The group plans to arrive outside the gates of the U.S. naval base and prison complex on Guantanamo Bay on December 10, International Human Rights Day.

Participants in the group include a Jesuit Priest, Steve Kelly, a catholic Nun, Sr. Anne Montgomery, Frida Berrigan, daughter of the late antiwar activist Phil Berrigan, and representatives of a number of catholic Worker Communities. They are requesting entry into the compound to visit and interview the detainees as a “work of mercy” in keeping with their faith. If refused, as United Nations inspectors were just two weeks ago, they will hold a fast in solidarity and a vigil to pray for the immediate abolition of torture by all nations.


Take Action!

Sign-on to a letter to President George W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Guantanamo Naval Base Commanding Officer Mark M. Leary, requesting that the marchers be allowed to visit those incarcerated in the Guantanamo Bay prison: http://www.witnesstorture.org/signletter


Organize a solidarity vigil to End Torture and Illegal Detentions on International Human Rights Day, this Saturday, December 10. Register your vigil online at http://www.witnesstorture.org/events. Call your local media outlets to let them know.


Donate to this effort at http://www.witnesstorture.org/donate


To stay informed, download factsheets and flyers, and read the marchers’ online blogs, visit http://www.witnesstorture.org



2. Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 6, 2005

CONTACT: Witness Against Torture
Mike McGuire 347-683-4928

press@witnesstorture.org


U.S. Christians March on Guantanamo to visit Prisoners on Hunger Strike



“Witness Against Torture” Implores U.S. Military to Allow Access So They Can Perform Work of Mercy: Bringing Comfort to Prisoners


Santiago, Cuba – Twenty-five Christians in the nonviolent tradition of Dorothy Day and the catholic Worker arrived in Cuba last evening and plan to set out from Santiago today on a solemn fifty-mile march to the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They seek 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 U.S. government.

“As a Christian, I feel compelled to reach out across national boundaries to perform one of the most basic acts of faith— as described in the gospel of Matthew 25, I was in prison and you visited me,” explained catholic Worker Matthew Daloisio. “We want our fellow Americans to see the shameful acts of torture and abuse taking place in this and other illegal prisons hidden across the globe. We pray that others will join us in urging our government to allow us to perform this act of Christian faith.”

Participants in the group include a Jesuit Priest, Steve Kelly, a catholic Nun, Sr. Anne Montgomery, Frida Berrigan, daughter of the late antiwar activist Phil Berrigan, and representatives of a number of catholic Worker Communities. The marchers plan to arrive outside the gates of the U.S. naval base and prison complex on Guantanamo Bay on December 10, International Human Rights Day.

They are requesting entry into the compound to visit and interview the detainees as a “work of mercy” in keeping with their faith. If refused, as United Nations inspectors were just two weeks ago, they will hold a fast in solidarity and a vigil to pray for the immediate abolition of torture by all nations.

A press conference at the St. Marks Church-on-the-Bowery will be held on December 7 to call on the U.S. Government to allow Witness Against Torture to visit the Guantanamo prisoners. Speakers will include Michael Ratner, head of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and CCR’s Gitanjali Gutierrez, the lead attorney for Guantanamo Bay detainees. CCR brought the landmark detainee right-to-trial case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Government had to allow federal hearings to determine the legal status of detainees. Ratner will explain how the Bush Administration has refused to comply with this ruling. Speakers will also include relatives of a Guantanamo Bay detainee now on hunger strike. Sister Diana Ortiz, a U.S. nun who was a victim of rape and torture in Guatemala, will be joined by anti-torture activist Jennifer Harberry, to speak of what it feels like to be a victim of torture.

A sign-on letter at http://www.witnesstorture.org will allow Americans to join their call.

# # #

3. Letter to Friends and Activists:

Dear Friends and Fellow Activists,

On December 5th, a group of us from the United States embarked on an 11-day journey to the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. We arrived in Santiago, Cuba to begin a five-day, 77+ mile walk to the Guantánamo base, where we hope to enter the detention facility to monitor the conditions and meet with both guards and prisoners. We plan to stay until at least December 15th to maintain a vigil outside the gates of the base, having a presence over International Human Rights Day on December 10.

It is our hope to be able to interview detainees about torture claims and hunger strikes at the base. We also seek to initiate a credible, objective and fair assessment of the situation of the detainees at the detention facility. We have lawyers and doctors on call to join us, should we be allowed in..

It was revealed in mid-November that the U.S. has detained more than 83,000 people in its four-year "war on terror" of which 14,500 remain in jail. Some 108 are known to have died in U.S. custody, prompting 26 homicide investigations.

Guantánamo is the closest-to-home location of some of these detentions and alleged abuses. We believe that an ocean, or border, or travel restriction should not stop us from standing us for what is right.

While we are in Cuba, we have a press team working here in the U.S. to encourage media coverage of our walk and witness in order to keep the plight of the detainees at the forefront of the public’s mind.

To track our journey, see photos, access press releases, statements, and trip updates, please see http://www.witnesstorture.org This site will be updated regularly to keep you abreast of our journey.

There will be a sign-on letter on the website calling on the US government to stop violating the prisoners rights and to let us into the base. In June, President Bush countered questions about torture at Guantánamo and the United States' commitment to human rights by inviting members of the European Union to inspect the U.S. base at Guantánamo. He said, "you're welcome to go down there yourselves... and take a look at the conditions." We are hoping you will join in pressuring the Bush administration to let us answer its invitation by signing the letter and publicly supporting our request to be let into the base.

Feel free to forward this on to others as well.

In Peace,

Jackie Allen
Hartford catholic Worker

Matthew W. Daloisio
New York catholic Worker

Sr. Anne Montgomery, RSCJ
Kairos Community, NY

Related Link: http://www.witnesstorture.org
author by CWpublication date Tue Dec 06, 2005 20:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Frida Berrigan
War Resisters League, NY

Thomas J. Feagley

Patricia Santoro
Malden, MA Jersey City, NJ

Anna Brown
Kairos Community

Clare Grady
Ithaca Catholic Worker

William Streit
Little Flower Catholic Worker, VA

Dana M. Brown
Raleigh Catholic Worker, NC

Teresa Grady
Ithaca NY Catholic Worker

Sheila Stumph
Ithaca, NY

Daniel Burns
Ithaca Catholic Worker

Rev. Steve Kelly, SJ
Oakland Catholic Worker

Carmen Trotta
New York Catholic Worker

I

Mark Colville
New Haven Catholic Worker

Dina Khorasanee
Canada

Tanya Theriault
New York Catholic Worker

Susan Crane
Jonah House MD

Art Laffin
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Washington DC

Matthew Voge
New York Catholic Worker

Scott Langley
Raleigh Catholic Worker, NC

author by Mary Kellypublication date Tue Dec 06, 2005 23:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and fair play for taking on this mission. I wish you all a good and sucessful journey.

author by Lawrence Downespublication date Thu Dec 08, 2005 18:18author address New Yorkauthor phone Report this post to the editors

The Catholic Worker movement has now officially lasted 25 years beyond
the death of its founder, Dorothy Day, and looks sturdy enough to last
another 25.

There is something of a riddle in that. The harsh rules that limit the
shelf lives of utopian impulses would seem to spell doom for an
institution as shapeless and impractical as Day's. Lots of
organizations want to lift up the poor, oppose war and reshape
society, but few try to do so with no governing structure, no official
means of support, no paid staff members and - since Day's death on
Nov. 29, 1980 - no leader.

That oddity was on full display last week on the Lower East Side,
where about 80 people - Catholic Worker members and former members,
and their relatives and friends - gathered in a cramped, dingy
auditorium at Maryhouse, the group's home for women on East Third
Street, to celebrate a Mass in Day's memory.

The stage was closed off with white bedsheets draped on a string. Down
in front, between a lectern and a Yamaha keyboard, a potted ficus and
a table lamp gave the makeshift sanctuary the feeling of a living
room. Pictures of Woody Guthrie, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
lined the walls. There was lots of rumpled gray hair and baggy
overcoats, women in turtlenecks and men with canes, a few young
couples, a child or two.

The motley gathering was at the literal center of commemorations for
Day, the Greenwich Village bohemian and journalist who converted to
Catholicism and founded the Catholic Worker in 1933 with a fellow
radical, Peter Maurin. She spent her final years at Maryhouse, leaving
behind a mountain of writings but not much else in the way of stuff or
structure. Her movement has been called not an organization but an
organism, an anarchic experiment whose most improbable achievement may
be its own survival.

Members still dedicate themselves to voluntary poverty, nonviolence
and hard work. They make soup, give away coats, visit prisoners and
the sick, protest against war and publish a newspaper that sells, as
it did in the 1930's, for a penny.

Through some process of spontaneous generation, Catholic Worker houses
have sprung up in cities and rural areas across the country and in
Canada and Europe. In keeping with Day's pacifism and cranky
independence, the group has no income, so sends no taxes to the
military. It is not a registered nonprofit. It has no official
connection to the Catholic Church, even though Day herself is now a
candidate for sainthood. What she would have thought of that is a
matter of debate. "Don't call me a saint," she once said. "I don't
want to be dismissed that easily."

One member, Matt Vogel, 26, helped me sort out the Catholic Worker
puzzle over coffee in the dining room at St. Joseph House. As he
smoked, a man behind him with powerful forearms pummeled a mountain of
ground beef into that evening's meatloaf. Mr. Vogel said the place
worked because it stayed small - about 30 people, both street people
and volunteers, live in each house, sharing food and chores. Prayers
and meetings are optional, and being Catholic or even Christian is not
required.

I said it was remarkable that the members could live peaceably not
only beside one another, but also beside the larger Catholic Church,
an institution without a lot of official friendliness for radical
politics these days. The Catholic Worker largely avoids the temporal
fray, Mr. Vogel said, because it focuses so relentlessly on the
personal and the particular.

Mr. Vogel did not seem all that radical, or terribly impressed with
himself. He did not see fit to mention, for example, that the
following week would find him in Cuba with about 25 other people, most
from Catholic Worker houses across the country, taking part in a march
from Santiago de Cuba to the gates of Guantánamo Bay to protest the
treatment of the terrorism-war detainees.

The marchers arrived on Monday and plan to reach the United States
Navy base and prison on Saturday, International Human Rights Day. They
say they will ask to visit hunger-striking prisoners. If that request
is refused, they will fast and conduct a vigil for the immediate
abolition of torture by all nations.

Given the deadly urgency of the Bush administration's war on terror,
the notion of going to Cuba to offer comfort to prisoners in that war
seems at least quixotic. But to the Catholic Workers of the world, it
comes with the job.

"We don't always take scripture literally," Mr. Vogel said, "but we do
take it seriously."


--

 
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