Clergy Gitmo Justice Fast.

9 Jun

Each growl of my stomach reminded me of why I was doing this.

I am participating in the Clergy Gitmo Justice Fast, a loosely organized group of clergy that have pledged to fast and pray, one of us each day, for each of the 166 prisoners of  Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility (Gitmo).  Yesterday was my day, and I prayed and fasted for Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman.

Uthman is a Yemeni who had his habeus corpus petition granted in February 2010. At that time, the judge ruled that the only evidence against Uthman was derived from torture and therefore unreliable.  But the government appealed, and the decision was reversed in March 2011. He is still in Gitmo.

So are 86 prisoners who have already been cleared for release, some years ago.

The situation at Gitmo is a travesty of justice. The more I read about it, the more angry I get. Until the recent hunger strike among prisoners became publicized in a New Yorker article in April, most people didn’t realize the dire situation. It is easy to turn away.

But it is not just a travesty of justice (as if that were not enough). It is also a spiritual and moral abyss. We are keeping men incarcerated for convenience – men who have been waiting over 10 years for a trial.  We treat them as if they were already proven guilty, when we know that some have been cleared for release. We keep them detained and even force feed them when they try to control the one thing they have control over.

I am a pragmatist. I am aware that some of these men were probably associated with terrorists. I am aware that things happen in war that sensitive souls like my own find abhorrent.  And at the same time, I am aware that each of these prisoners deserve to be treated as human beings with inherent worth and dignity. I am aware that these types of “witch-hunts” may start with valiant motives but end up over-reaching and catching innocents in their net as well.  I am disgusted that my own government has allowed this situation to not only perpetuate, but to collapse into such a moral, ethical and spiritual disaster.

Those of us participating in the Clergy Gitmo Justice Fast will be taking turns fasting until

  1. The force feeding of the 130 plus men is ended.
  2. The 86 men who have been cleared are given their freedom.
  3. The remaining 80 men are put on trial or released.
  4. Gitmo is closed.

I cannot continue to turn away. I hope you can’t either.

Other References

Close Guantanamo

Code Pink Hunger Strike

The Black Hole of Guantanamo

2 Responses to “Clergy Gitmo Justice Fast.”

  1. Claudia Runge June 9, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    I am proud that you understand this to be such an important issue. I, too, am disgusted with what has happened and continues to happen at Guantanamo. Thank you for doing something to call attention to this sad and disturbing chapter in our country’s history.

  2. soultalkerchuck June 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Thank you for your clear articulation of why we are doing this. Words are no longer enough & clergy are called to lead the way. Your participation & example will eventually bend the arc toward justice.
    Soulful blessings,


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