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
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
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.