It wasn't your usual Friday night in Waikiki as thousands of tourists aiming to escape the realities of the world were instead forced to think about the horrors of Guantanamo. Confronted with pictures of detainees who have been "released" but continue to be detained at the world's most notorious torrture prison 12 years after being illegally kidnapped, reactions were mixed. Some hurled ugly epithets: "Kill them all!," "Nuke all those countries," "If they look like that, they're terrorists!
Many more stopped to take pictures, ask questions, or thank us. A Pakistani woman who stood away for a time finally came to us saying: "I saw those pictures and was sure you were saying bad things about them, but then I felt so good when I saw you were with us!" She asked if she could take pictures to put up on her facebook. Others from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan thanked us enthusiastically. Japanese tourists smiled broadly and quietly gave us a "thumbs up." Many took pictures to post on social media.
An ex-Army Ranger was passing by on his bicycle when he stopped and said he'd actually accompanied prisoners to Guantanamo but had no idea what he was really doing. He'd been in the Army for 11 years, and had gone on 7 deployments. He quit the military because he couldn't stand the killing. He was now has PTSD and is unemployed. Groups of soldiers read the signs, studied the pictures, and stood around in groups to talk among themselves and with us. Many knew nothing about Guantanamo. One shook his head and quietly said: "I thought there wouldn't be another war when I signed up 6 months ago but now I'm worried about the Ukraine."
We were a small crew, but we had a big presence. Our signs and photos were seen by thousands; we distributed about 300 leaflets. As we left a couple who had been watching us stopped us saying: "Thanks so much. What you're doing is an inspiration to all of us who should be standing out there with you."
Monday, May 19, 2014
Close the USA's Torture Camp at Guantanamo NOW!
End Indefinite Detention!
Friday, May 23, 6-8pm
Signholding & Leafleting
Corner of Seaside & Kalakaua Avenues
Friday, May 23rd, is a GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION. Actions have been called in more than 25 cities -- and the list is growing. We intend to be there with them!
One year ago on May 23, when the Guantanamo hunger strike was at its height, Obama promised once again to close the US torture camp at Guantanamo. Instead the hunger strike was brutally repressed and broken. Prisoners were forced into isolation cells and force-fed -- both of which are torture.
We must rise up in our hundreds and thousands in villages and cities, here and around the globe, to demand an end to this shameful result of the "war on terror."
Join us at the corner of Seaside & Kalakaua in Waikiki on Friday evening between 6-8pm to join with people around the globe who are demanding the immediate closure of Guantanamo.
We'll have some signs -- and we urge you to bring your own. Wear Orange! This is the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend and our message will be seen by thousands, who will then beam pictures around the world via social media.