January 11 marked the 12th unacceptable anniversary of Guantanamo Bay. It was originally billed as a military prison under the Bush administration for supposed "dangerous" prisoners who would be interrogated and prosecuted with war crimes.
In actuality, Gitmo (as the prison is now known) has been a corrupt holding centre for more than 700 detainees, a death sentence for nine prisoners, a national money pit and a facility for torture of all kinds. The detainees held at Gitmo have been kept without trials, without charges and without justice for far too long. Detainees have been active in their own resistance by staging hunger strikes. However, the mainstream media has failed to keep the public informed about this continuous struggle, even as more than 100 detainees refused to eat in early 2013.
Activists have been organizing against to close Gitmo for over a decade. On Saturday, activists from around the world spoke out on the Day of Action to End Guantanamo Bay. Through direct actions, petitions and media consciousness raising, activists have helped put pressure on politicians to release detainees.
In 2008, Barrack Obama famously said he would close Gitmo. Since opening, the amount of detainees has slowly decreased. Currently there are still 155 people imprisoned at Gitmo -- 77 of them are cleared for release. Most recently a Yemeni man, imprisoned since Gitmo was opened, has been cleared for release, without any charges ever being laid. Success is still far from reach.
Even though the day of action is over, there is still more that we can do to help make Guantanamo Bay history:
- Start a conversation online. Engage your friends on Facebook by changing your profile picture or status. Tweet articles about the injustices with #CloseGitmo
- Sign this letter to President Barrack Obama
- Go on a fast in solidarity with detainees
- Organize a direct action to educate the public
- Use this toolkit to create a community campaign around the story of a detainee
What other actions should activists take against Gitmo? Add them to the Activist Toolkit. Just log in to your rabble.ca account and click the "add" button on the Activist Toolkit page, or click "suggest" to give us the heads up on a tool we should feature.
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