Call to Close Guantanamo – Augusta, Maine National Guard Armory on January 14, 2023
END 21 YEARS OF INDEFINITE DETENTION AND TORTURE!
Co-sponsoring groups – Pax Christi Maine; Peace Action Maine; Maine Veterans for Peace; Witness Against Torture; ME International Women’s League for Peace and Freedom; PeaceWorks of Greater Brunswick Maine; Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm; Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.
Opening remarks – Mary Ellen Quinn, Co-Coordinator Pax Christi Maine
“Welcome to all of you gathered here today. On behalf of all our co-sponsoring groups, we thank you for joining this action. We thank you for standing together to call on our government to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Last Wednesday, January 11th, marked the 21st anniversary of its opening. This prison has existed for far too long! We stand together today calling for an end to the torture, detention and imprisonment of people at Guantanamo and at other places in our world where human rights are denied.
We stand today in solidarity with those released and those still remaining. We see the suffering, we see the inhumane treatment. We know the grave costs of war and we grieve. We grieve for the victim and perpetrator, for their families & friends, for the environment. War, in all its forms, is a cycle of violence that destroys, that creates more violence, a cycle that is supported, perpetuated and embedded in our culture.
We know there is another way. The way of nonviolence. The way of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., of Mahatma Gandhi, of Jesus of Nazareth, of Dorothy Day and so many others. Each of our speakers here today have dedicated themselves to building peace, promoting justice, to following the way of nonviolence and civil resistance.
We look forward to hearing from – Frank Panopoulos, a human rights attorney; Maureen Kehoe-Ostensen, of Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm; Dud Hendrick, Maine Veterans for Peace; Don Kimball for John Raby, Peace Action Maine and Mary Kate Small, Pax Christi Maine & Witness Against Torture.”
More on Frank Panopoulos – Frank is a human rights attorney. His work includes representing one of the prisoners held without charge for past 14 years at the Guantánamo Bay Prison and other inmates in Florida state prisons; foreign individuals in proceedings to delist them from the terrorist list maintained by the U.S. government; and refugees and stateless persons held in detention camps in the Northeast Autonomous area of Syria. Frank has worked on Peace and Social Justice issues since 1979, and has spent time in prison for acts of non-violent civil disobedience, including two Plowshares Actions in the 1980s (AVCO and Quonset Point). He is active with Pax Christi and Witness for Torture. Frank is teaching a course on Guantanamo Legal Issues at Colby College in Waterville, ME during January 2023.
Link to Informational/Resource fact sheet – https://peaceactionme.org/images/pdf/CloseGuantanamoLeaflet2023.V2%202.pdf
Link to WABI TV coverage – https://www.wabi.tv/2023/01/15/mainers-join-call-close-guantnamo-rallies-streetside-augusta – – – – WABI reporter on site: Grace Bradley
Photo Credits: Close Guantanamo participants
Rally video credits: Martha S. – Peace Action Maine