Tuesday, January 21, 2014

World Can't Wait Contingent in the MLK Day Parade!

By the time the MLK Day parade rolled out of the Magic Island Parking lot our flatbed truck was decorated with signs protesting drone warfare and our drone replica was flying high.  Five drummers sitting on the back of the truck kept up a beat for the entirety of the route from Magic Island to Kapiolani Park and Liz and Ali were on the bullhorns leading chants. 

Thousands participated in the parade and many more lined the 3-mile parade route through Waikiki.   As they saw our lead banner reading:  "Humanity and the Planet Come First" many clapped their approval, swayed their bodies or clapped to the drum beat,  and began snapping photos.   When they caught sight of the drone many more aimed their cameras upwards and snapped photos.   As one person in our contingent said afterwards,  "doing this is worth it just for all of the pictures."    Here are a few photos of our contingent:

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Call to Action! Monday, January 20, 9:30am
Join the Stop Drone Contingent in the Martin Luther King Day Parade!
Magic Island, Ala Moana Park 

Put on your marching shoes...Put your small keikis in strollers or in wagons. Tricyclers, skateboards and bikers welcome. Or ride on the back of our flatbed truck! Just be there!

This is a great event for everyone! Tell your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors and your families. Spread the word by Facebook and Twitter!

 We'll have our huge drone replica and lots of banners and signs. Our main focus will be "Stop the Drones" and the timing couldn't be better as word about the selection of Hawai`i as one of the U.S.'s drone development region spreads.    If you refuse to be complicit in drone assassinations and spying, make your voices heard!

Thousands of people participate in the MLK Day Parade, and many more thousands line the sidewalks to watch it go by. Responses in the past have been incredibly positive! '

 The parade begins at Magic Island and proceeds on Kalakaua Avenue to Kapiolani Park. There's a rally at the park beginning at about 11am if you want to stay. Our truck will return to Magic Island immediately after the parade if you want a ride back to your car. Don't forget your water and sunblock.   There's often parking at Magic Island and always parking at Ala Moana Shopping Center. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Protesting Guantanamo in Waikiki

World Can't Wait-Hawai`i Action to Shut Down Guantanamo!

On Saturday evening at 6pm, the 12th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Prison, a dozen large photos of Guantanamo detainees lined Waikiki’s busiest street corner.    A hooded activist in orange knelt in front of the photos, and leafleters were energetically engaging with passers-by.    A big orange banner reading “No Torture” provided a backdrop for other protesters wearing orange and carrying signs demanding that Guantanamo be shut down NOW.  
We immediately attracted controversy.    A good number of people enthusiastically took our leaflets, thanked us, or commented quietly.   Some had specific questions.   A few said they’d never heard of Guantanamo and more said they thought it was closed.     There were a surprising number of ugly remarks like  “we should have just shot them,” “you’re all terrorists” or “Keep them there forever”.     Toward the end of the evening about a dozen soldiers gathered across the broad avenue shouting “terrorists” and appeared to intend to cross over and confront us.  Suddenly they stopped shouting and walked away.    Quite a few people, including members of the military, said they supported Guantanamo but wanted to hear why we opposed it.    When we got into the facts – the bounties, the torture, the absence of charges – most thanked us and a few even said they were changing their mind. 

When we first got to the corner we were aggressively confronted by a young Black man who said:   “They’re all terrorists – they should never get out!”.    When we got into the facts he threw back: “Why should I care about them?”  and walked away.   He came back time and again and studied the photos.   As we were leaving the source of his anger became real:  “Why aren’t you protesting about Blacks in U.S. prisons instead?”   When we got into how the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo and the treatment of Black prisoners in the U.S. were related and encouraged him to connect up with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network his attitude toward us turned friendly.

Many Japanese tourists, who usually refuse leaflets, understood that we were protesting Guantanamo took our leaflets or thanked us.   While they may not have understood much English, they understood “Guantanamo.”   People from the Middle East were especially supportive.  A pair of Iraqis from Australia angrily said a new detention center had been opened in Australia – taking their lead from the U.S.    A Pakistani woman hugged us enthusiastically and thanked us with tears in her eyes.  

Our relatively small group of 18 protesters made a big impact on the Waikiki scene.   No one could miss the sea of orange-clad protesters with signs on the crowded sidewalk and many stopped to take photos.   We ran out of our 250 leaflets too quickly, but managed to get out our message even without them.  
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Friday, January 10, 2014

12 Years Detained? Protest to Close Guantanamo NOW!
Saturday, January 11, 2014, 6pm - 7:30pm
Signholding & and Leafleting
Corner of Seaside & Kalakaua, Waikiki

Call to Action!

January 11, 2014 is the 12th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantanamo and people around the world will be on the streets to demand that the notorious prison be shut down - NOW!

Were you outraged when you saw "12 Years a Slave?" Did you wonder how people of conscience coud have stood silently by as people were grabbed off the street, thrown into wagons, and then sold as slaves? Is grabbing people in other countries, throwing them into planes and then depositing them at Guantanamo where they have been held for 12 years fundamentally different?   

The Bush regime filled the off-shore prison at Guantanamo Bay by rendering men seized from around the globe into indefinite captivity, employing and legally justifying a program of torture they called "enhanced interrogation."    Even Bush's team slowly began to release hundreds of prisoners for whom no case could be fabricated to justify prison. 

When Barack Obama was elected, he quickly promised to close it within a year... five years ago. It's still open, with new infrastructure added, and more personnel than ever. Most people in the U.S. have no idea there are still 82 prisoners there who were cleared for release years ago; 45 who the President says will never be charged or released; and "military commissions" trials are designed to cover the torture inflicted on the prisoners, depriving of them rights the U.S. has claimed to cherish.   

World Can't Wait-Hawai`i will have some orange jump suits, placards with pictures of Guantanamo prisoners, and banners - or bring your own. The corner of Seaside and Kalakaua is in central Waikiki across from the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and we'll be seen by thousands of tourists as well as local residents.