los angeles

E-mail: worldcantwait_la@yahoo.com
Phone: 866.973.4463


The Truth About Torture Comes to UCLA

UCLA student salutes police

October 20, 2005

We got out to the UCLA campus around noon to kick off the Torture Victim guerilla theater. To our disgust/delight there was a giant US army recruiting bus parked in the middle of Bruin Plaza. It was disgusting and outrageous that they were there at all... yet delightful that they were out there like that so we could expose them in a highly visible way.

At first it was just two of us. I walked straight up to the five or six goons standing in front of the recruiting bus, leash in hand, and called on all of them to take the leash, pushing it out in front of them. They looked back and forth at each other and kept silent. No one would take the leash or utter a word.

I told them, "Maybe if you had me all alone in Abu Ghraib or Gitmo you'd take the leash, give it a yank! But you cowards won't do that shit in the light of day and show all these students what you're really all about! Recruiting the next generation of torturers and war criminals!" Still, none would engage me, so I turned to the students who were looking on and offered them the leash. This was met with avoidance, laughs and some interest from the students.

When students laughed, I asked them if they thought torture was funny, if they thought it was funny that the Bush Regime is torturing people around the world, as we speak. When people avoided me, I told them that keeping silent and laying low would not stop these atrocities from going down. I told them that they are holding the leash every day they remain silent in the face of these crimes against humanity.

The visual effect was very jolting for people and a small number approached me to find out what we were doing. Almost nobody would take the leash. While I approached people in the suit, another organizer was doing some agitation and getting out flyers. She was telling people that we can stop this US torture from going down if we speak and act out now and mobilize for Nov. 2nd.

After about 20 mins., some campus police came up and told me that they had received a complaint. I asked them what it was and they wouldn't answer me. Their presence attracted many more people to the scene and there were students who were telling the campus police that they had no right to fuck with us. They tried to tell me to be patient while they radioed in, but I kept agitating to the masses, exposing their aims to silence opposition to the Bush Regime and to squash the movement determined to Drive Them Out.

They had no charges on me, and they were definitely going to pay a political price (from the students that were now encircling this whole scene and calling out their bullshit) if they persisted to arrest me. They left and let us continue. In the course of all this, a high school tour group came right through the plaza where we were located. All these youth came over to see what was going on and were thrilled to hear about a movement to drive out Bush, whom they quickly identified as a hated and vile figure.

One young woman was laughing and joking and eagerly grabbed the leash, at my request. I told her who I was, that I was locked up in Guantanamo and that I hadn't seen my family, friends or the outside world for several years. I told her that her government has been torturing me. I asked her if she felt more powerful since she was able to degrade me and treat me like less than a human being. She got a lot more serious very quickly and let go of the leash. She said she didn't understand at first, but now she gets it.

A couple students we have been working with on campus came by and got materials from us and started passing them out to everyone who was going by. This was a good beginning and we will be stepping up the presence and boldness of the torture victims skit at UCLA and other campuses in the LA area.