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Report on the Jan 10th forum "Shut Down Guantanamo!  Drive Out the Bush Regime"

On Thursday, January 10th in Los Angeles, seventy people gathered at the Echo Park United Methodist Church to hear Michael Rapkin, an ACLU lawyer who represents a Guantanamo detainee, Dennis Loo PhD. who is a member of the World Can't Wait national steering committee, Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution newspaper and member of the World Can't Wait advisory board, and John Heard, a noted actor and activist, speak about the horrors of codified torture and why we must all act to put an end to it and the Bush program that seeks to justify the unjustifiable.

Michael Rapkin

Michael Rapkin shared his profoundly disturbing first-hand experiences in coming face to face with atrocities visited on detainees as they languish in inhumane conditions at the prison in Guantanamo, and have little legal recourse or hope toward a day of release and return to their homes and families. The depth of the cruelty that he has uncovered toward detainees as he has worked tirelessly for their release left the audience breathless with horror at times.

John Heard
Photo by John Gannon

Sunsara Taylor

John Heard's reading of a poem selected from the recent compilation of writings of detainees, Poems of Guantanamo, was intensely delivered.  People in the audience were visibly moved and some fought back tears as he finished and read the bio of the author: Al Anazi, a humanitarian worker who had been arrested by bounty hunters on his hospital bed after undergoing a leg amputation, who is forced to walk painfully on ill-fitting prosthetics held together with duct tape and has been suffering in that prison since 2002, with no hope of release.

Sunsara Taylor spoke about the importance of understanding this critical period in our history, finding opportunities to break through the din of the electoral process that immobilizes people, and pointed to the necessity of sharply truthful discussions throughout society about mobilizing a mass movement from below to break out and demand an end to all of this.

Dennis Loo
Photo by John Gannon

Dennis Loo PhD discussed the pivotal importance of 2008, the nature of group dynamics in the face of the abdication of moral leadership, and gave examples of the difference that even one individual can make in dramatically altering "pluralistic ignorance." He painted a picture of what "a scene seen by all" would look like, with orange evident everywhere, and counterposed traditional ways of looking at political organizing to the endemic change that DIN/333 reflect.

Click here to read more reports from around the country

Report from UCLA Jan 11th

Photo by
Elsy Benitez

UCLA Campus: At noon on Jan. 11 at UCLA, the everyday rush between classes was pierced by the sharp shouts of two men, as they grabbed a student and accused him of being a terrorist. Despite his repeated insistence that he knew nothing of what they were talking about, and as a crowd gathered around, the men quickly forced him to wear an orange jumpsuit and threw the student onto a reclining board. To the crowd's shock, they then proceeded to pour water onto his face, causing him to choke and feel as if he were drowning.

This was, of course, a simulated waterboarding,conducted by 3 students from a nearby arts college. A local radio station covered the enactment, and reported it in the afternoon. The reporter asked students what they thought about the demonstration; manjority talked about how disturbing it was to see adding that this was torture. While some students hurried past without missing a beat, others stopped to watch, and some took orange, and a few signed up. A German student thanked us for doing this, and was to get involved. A high school student who met us during IFAW Week came in orange tights and an orange scarf, and made plans to work toward Jan. 31.

Photo by
Elsy Benitez

Incredible black & bright orange stenciled pictures of a kneeling Guantanamo prisoner were seen around campus on banners hung from stairwells and buildings, on posters that read "Stop Torture" taped on walls, and on butcher paper on the sidewalk. Plans are being made to produce many more of these to transform the scene. 

More photos are available at the following link

Waterboarding demonstration at UCLA w/ Sunsara Taylor from World Can't Wait