January 11, 2009 - Guantanamo Bay Anniversary - Fast for Justice - 100 Days Vigil
WILPF US Section Has Endorsed the 100 Days Campaign
*Why a 100 Days Campaign?*
Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt became President in 1933, setting a new standard for action and imagination in his first 100 days in office, the
American people have watched closely the first 100 days of all new presidents. Numerous pundits have pointed out that-- not unlike FDR--
Barack Obama will enter the White House as the nation faces many crises.
In FDR's day, the promise was a "New Deal." Today, Obama is promising change. Some are very specific: Recently, for example, Obama told /60
Minutes/: "I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I've said repeatedly that America
doesn't torture. And I'm going to make sure that we don't torture."
*100 Days More is 100 Days Too Long *
After seven years of detaining hundreds of men without trial, 100 days more is 100 days too long. We go to Washington with high hopes that
President Obama will close Guantanamo on his first day in office. But if he does not, we will stand vigil for 100 days as a reminder of his
promise, and a reminder of those seven years of torture and indefinite detention carried out in our names.
*Powerful People Need to Be Pushed *
We have learned another important lesson from history. Powerful people need to be pushed. Journalist Bill Moyers recently recalled a meeting
between Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson during the civil rights movement. "LBJ listened" says Moyers, "as intently as I
ever saw him listen. He listened, and then he put his hand on Martin Luther King's shoulder, and said-- in effect: 'OK. You go out there, Dr.
King and keep doing what you're doing, and make it possible for me to do the right thing.'"
The 100 days campaign was built with this precedent in mind. President Obama needs us acting and organizing and pushing, we make is possible
for him to do the right thing.
*A Vigil for Distant Gulags *
And yet, we recognize that Guantanamo is not the only crime—just the most visible. And that the United States maintains control over more distant gulags, holding tens of thousands of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Diego Garcia and other CIA black sites about which we know little. So, the 100 Days vigil will expand to include those warrens of pain and suffering, too.
*Building Community *
As individuals and communities join us from across the country, the 100 Days campaign will also be a fertile time to connect, strategize and share. We are living in strange, rapidly changing times and the tendency to detach and despair is strong. In addition to its political import, we see the 100 Days campaign as an opportunity to build community and experiment in truth together. Join us.
Matthew W. Daloisio
New York Catholic Worker - Maryhouse
55 East 3rd Street, NY, NY 10003
100 Days to Close Guantanamo & End Torture – www.100dayscampaign.org
Witness Against Torture - www.witnesstorture.org
War Resisters League - www.warresisters.org
Friends of 339 – www.peacepentagon.org