Today Cynthia Johnson, Christopher Lewis Macy, and Cynthia Papermaster will start their open-ended fasts in solidarity with the Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Prison, where over 100 men have been refusing to eat, some for over 130 days, and where over 40 of them are being force fed in a way amounting to torture.
There is a gathering at Provo Park (aka Civic Center Park) at 2 pm Saturday, June 15, where the fasters will have their last meals at a vegetarian potuck picnic hosted by CODEPINK WOMEN FOR PEACE, GOLDEN GATE CHAPTER.
We're alerting the media, hoping that they'll be interested in covering the news of citizens of Berkeley going on their own hunger strikes. We also hope that they'll show an interest in the long term, ongoing, open ended fasts of other U.S. citizens:
there are three Hunger Strikers in the U.S. who have been or were fasting for more than 25 days: Elliot Adams of upstate New York, a former President of Veterans for Peace; Diane Wilson of Texas, shrimper and cofounder of Codepink Women for Peace, and S. Brian Willson of Portland, beloved veteran activist who lost his legs when a train ran over him while he was protesting arms shipments to Latin America. In addition, there are about 8 others who are on long-term fasts. You can find details of the fasters and more at www.closegitmo.net
There are more actions being planned, such as mass arrests in Washington, DC, of 86 orange-jumpsuited people at the White House this June 26, the annual UN International Day for Victims of Torture; a possible meeting of religious leaders with President Obama; and a trip to Guantanmo Prison via boat.
In addition, today we are launching our Guantanamo Detainee Resettlement Fund Campaign, where we're asking every citizen of Berkeley to contribute $1 or more for one or more cleared-for-release detainees to settle in Berkeley. This is based on a Berkeley City Council Resolution which passed in October 2011, welcoming detainees to come here, using private funds. The money will be used for detainee housing, food, transportation, psychiatric counseling-- all of their expenses-- until the men can get on their feet and are able to take care of themselves.
The Berkeley political artist Doug Minkler* is creating a poster of one of the detainees, Djamel Ameziane, cleared for release in 2008. He's an Algerian chef who trained in Switzerland and we would like to help him get here, if he wishes to resettle in Berkeley. Below are photos of Djamel as a young man, when he was first captured in 2002, and from today, 11 years later, after a decade in Guantanamo Prison without being charged. I think Obama can release him to us without Congress' okay due to a waiver in the 2012 NDAA which gives him that authority.
What: launch of Berkeley open-ended fasts in solidarity with Guantanamo Hunger Strike
Where: Provo Park, MLK Jr. Way between Allston and Center, across from Old City Hall in Berkeley
When: 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15, 2013