Twenty-four hours ago, I went to a demo organised by kids from my old school. (I didn’t take photos because I couldn’t find my camera, dammit.) They got support from Amnesty International and Stop the War, and from their headteacher (the school’s changed quite a bit since I was there!).
A lawyer talked about how the Bush administration’s consistent pattern, facilitated by lawyers in their service, had been to deny what they were doing, to minimize what they were doing, and to reframe what they were doing.
The MP for the constituency in which my old school stands, talked about how the UK Government had supported the US government’s lies and attack human rights.
Three students from the school made short and passionate speeches against the kidnappings and torture of the US: the last student also told Barack Obama – a message that I wish Obama could have heard – that this was Obama’s chance to prove he was truly going to change: to close down the gulags. To apologize to the victims who have suffered for so many years of American extra-judicial imprisonment. To give those against whom there is a case a fair trial.
To publish these people’s names: to admit they are there. The US government moves prisoners around the world, from one gulag to another.
To end this monstrous injustice that has become both a symbol of the US’s position in the world and a real horror for so many people who have spent years in the cages of the US and for the people who have lost kindred or friends to these cages.
The demo lasted half an hour: not long. We stood in the rain and sun and listened, a hundred or more of us. No reporter had attended, though several had been invited: apparently Guantanamo Bay is “not newsworthy”.