Boston, MA -- Saturday, April 8, at the Boston subway's Park Street Station unexpectedly brought supporters of the struggle to close Guantanamo Bay prison together with those demanding peace in Syria.
The Committee for Peace and Human Rights(CPHR), joined by the Committee for International Labor Defense (CILD) with leadership from Susan McLucas, mobilized behind the call "Close Guantanamo" now. At this same time and place, the Hands Off Syria Coalition (HOSC), with John MacLeod among the leaders, held a demonstration calling for an end to the US and all violence against Syria. The convergence while unintentional was fortuitous.
Sandy Rosen, speaking for the CILD opened with, “I’m so glad to be with all of you today. I came here for the rally to close Guantanamo, and found there is also a demonstration for Syria, and I think it’s good we're all here because the struggles are related … … we are addressing multiple crimes by the same old US state apparatus -- Guantanamo Prison, the crime of the continued occupation of Cuba, and as we’re keenly aware the bombing crime of Syria.”
In her remarks, Susan McLucas (CILD and CPHR) mentioned "There are 41 Muslim men locked up at Guantanamo. Some have been there for 14 years. Protesters demanded the immediate release of the five prisoners who are cleared for release. Further, they demanded prompt due process for the ten 'prisoners' accused of crimes, including speeding up their trials."
McLucas continued "We express our sorrow that the US created the conditions that led some people to, allegedly, commit acts of terrorism against our country. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed master mind of September 11, wrote to President Obama that the attacks on that day were 'a natural reaction to your destructive policies toward the Islamic world'. US imperialism and capitalism are among the most destructive global forces today."
Protesters raised the issue of how damaging years of imprisonment were for the men who have been released. "It's hard to bounce back", one protester said, "psychologically and physically, after years of incarceration and torture, especially for those many who were locked up just because someone sold them to the Americans for a bounty, not because they had done anything wrong."
CPHR and CILD join in their concern that President Trump wants to fill Guantanamo Bay prison back up and that he supports the torture of prisoners. This is exactly the opposite from the direction in which our society needs to go. Close Guantanamo now!!
The HOSC fights for “the broadest possible united front for peace and justice by peace activists and organizations in the U.S. and around the world to fight for an end to all violence, intervention and sanctions against Syria”. President Trump is escalating both the influx of arms to combatants in Syria and direct US aggression through bombing Syrian targets. The HOSC protesters demanded immediate peace for Syria and the withdrawal of the US from attacks on Syria and from support for the ongoing armed violence there.
The United States is not protecting people from Syrian aggression; it is a direct aggressive force in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan, and through proxy forces elsewhere such as in Palestine. This imperialist, capitalist aggression by the United States must end.
Further, while the US is primarily responsible for the displacement of millions within Syria, it welcomes very few of these refugees from violence and social devastation to its shores.
Hundreds of people of all ethnic backgrounds, colors, shapes, genders, sexualities, and political leanings came together in support of one or the other of these demands, with many supporting both organization's demands. These demonstrations, and the many others going on daily across the United States and around the world, are a wellspring of hope as people step up to consciously fight for a new direction for our local and global society that has gone completely off the tracks when it comes to meeting the needs of the vast majority of people for basics; and peace is the most fundamental of requirements for human subsistence. Resist Trump and organize!
U.S. out of Syria and close Guantanamo Bay prison now!
Please reach out to these organizations if you want to be involved in these struggles. Contact: SusanBMcL@gmail.com, Committee for Peace and Human Rights and Committee for International Labor Defense