Christian peacemakers demand entry to Guantanamo Bay - news from ekklesia

Christian peacemakers demand entry to Guantanamo Bay - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
14 Dec 2005

Christian peacemakers demand entry to Guantanamo Bay

-14/12/05

Twenty-five U.S. Christians ended a fifty-mile march from Santiago, Cuba to the American detention centre at Guant·namo
Bay yesterday (Tuesday) where they demanded entry to the base and made a fresh appeal for the safety of the four Christian Peacemakers missing in Iraq.

Their actions were a response to a statement by George W Bush that those concerned with the conditions there should go down and 'take a look'.

The Witness Against Torture marchers are the first American Christians ever to approach the prison, where it has been suggested hundreds of inmates have been tortured, humiliated and held in violation of international law.

During their march, the participants prayed for the Guant·namo detainees and for the four Christian Peacemakers threatened with execution in Iraq.

In pictures broadcast around the world, the Christian Peacemakers had been shown by their captors dressed in orange jump suits and chains, representing the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

The group who are demanding entry includes Sr. Anne Montgomery, who has served with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraq and Hebron, and Danny Burns, who was part of a CPT delegation to Iraq.

Members of the group have set up tents on the Cuban side of the gates, where they will fast and pray while waiting for U.S. permission to visit the prison.

In June, President Bush said to those concerned with the conditions in Guant·namo, "You're welcome to go down yourself...and take a look at the conditions." The group is asking people to call on President Bush to grant permission for them to visit the prisoners.

Upon their arrival Witness Against Torture's Gary Ashbeck placed a phone call to the base requesting access but was rebuffed.

Anne Montgomery, a ten year veteran of Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq, also made an appeal to the Iraqi captors threatening other Christian Peacemakers - Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, Briton Norman Kember, and American Tom Fox - with execution.

She continued; "In 2003, three Christian Peacemaker Teams members were refused entrance to Airport Detention Centre near Baghdad, Iraq. As we stood there, two taxis arrived filled with families desperate to get information about fathers, brothers, and sons seized in raids of homes and on the street. After that we found many other families in the same situation. We began a campaign, not claiming innocence or guilt of the prisoners, but calling for their basic human rights to be respected. Now (we) are marching toward Guantanamo where Iraqis and others are being held. Tom Fox, a CPT member who is being held hostage in Iraq, said just before his capture, 'War and oppression make people less human than they should be.'"

"I've been in prison when people outside were holding a vigil," said Susan Crane of the Catholic Worker Movement. "I could feel the encouragement--not just me, but the other women, that people were praying for me. It brings hope." Crane said the U.S. war on terror would not bring security. She said the only way the country can protect itself is by changing its attitudes and actions toward the rest of the world. "Jesus brought a new commandment: to love one another," she said. "To me, nonviolence is the only thing that's going to work."

Added Anne Montgomery, "We feel that what is happening in Guant·namo represents the dehumanization of the prisoners, the guards and those that make war. We pray at the gates of Guant·namo that love will overcome this dehumanization."

[Updated full chronological list of related articles on Ekklesia as of 14 December 2005 AM: Features - Christian Peacemaker Teams full briefing (with links to features and stories on CPT's work); Christian peacemakers - a lesson to the peace movement (by Mark A. LeVine); Why are we here? (by CPTer Tom Fox). Advent hope for Iraq, captives and Limbaugh (Sojourners magazine). What on earth are we waiting for? (Simon Barrow, Advent and Iraq). News ñ Canadian churches pray for missing peace activists (above); Cardinal joins pleas for Iraq peace workers; Praying for a miracle amid Iraq hostage silence 12/12/05; All faiths candlelit vigil in London for Norman Kember 12/12/05; Officials and families seek news on Iraq Christian peace workers 12/12/05; Lobbying goes on as Iraq hostage deadline passes 11/12/05; Hope continues as Iraq captive deadline looms 10/12/05; Embattled Hezbollah backs Iraq 'doves of peace' 09/12/05; UN secretary general calls for release of all Iraqi captives 09/12/05; Former Guantanamo Bay detainees call for release of Christian peacemakers 08/12/05; Jack Straw says he will talk on Iraq hostages 08/12/05; Abu Qatada pleas for Iraq captives as deadline is extended 08/12/05; Christians criticize UK Iraq war budget increase 08/12/05; Christian peacemakers say the work must go on 08/12/05; Last minute appeals made for Christian peacemakers 07/12/05 ; Muslim detainees plead for lives of Christian peacemakers 06/12/05; Faith groups in the US unite to back Iraq captives 06/12/05; French engineer seized in Iraq 05/12/05; Norman Kember's wife pleads for his life 04/12/05; Iraqi, Muslim and Palestinian support for peace hostages grows 04/12/05; Insurgents say they will kill Christian peacemakers 02/12/05; WCC calls for freeing of Christian peace workers 02/12/05; Vigils and messages of support for abducted peace activist 02/12/05; Palestinian bishop seeks mercy for Iraq peace workers 02/12/05; Anti-war campaigner flies to Iraq to plead for Christian peacemakers 01/12/05; Muslims urge release of Christian peacemakers missing in Iraq 01/12/05; Al-Jazeera releases film of Iraq peace hostages 30/11/05; Search goes on for Christian peacemaker kidnapped in Iraq 28/11/05. Key book: Patricia Gates-Brown (ed.), Getting in the Way: Stories from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Herald Press]Christian Peacemaker Teams full briefing (with links to features and stories on CPT's work); Why are we here? (by CPTer Tom Fox); Christians criticize UK Iraq war budget increase 08/12/05; Christian peacemakers say the work must go on 08/12/05; Last minute appeals made for Christian peacemakers 07/12/05 ; Muslim detainees plead for lives of Christian peacemakers 06/12/05; Faith groups in the US unite to back Iraq captives 06/12/05; French engineer seized in Iraq 05/12/05; Norman Kember's wife pleads for his life 04/12/05; Iraqi, Muslim and Palestinian support for peace hostages grows 04/12/05; Insurgents say they will kill Christian peacemakers 02/12/05; WCC calls for freeing of Christian peace workers 02/12/05; Vigils and messages of support for abducted peace activist 02/12/05; Palestinian bishop seeks mercy for Iraq peace workers 02/12/05; Anti-war campaigner flies to Iraq to plead for Christian peacemakers 01/12/05; Muslims urge release of Christian peacemakers missing in Iraq 01/12/05; Al-Jazeera releases film of Iraq peace hostages 30/11/05; Search goes on for Christian peacemaker kidnapped in Iraq 28/11/05. Key book: Patricia Gates-Brown (ed.), Getting in the Way: Stories from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Herald Press]

Christian peacemakers demand entry to Guantanamo Bay

-14/12/05

Twenty-five U.S. Christians ended a fifty-mile march from Santiago, Cuba to the American detention centre at Guant·namo
Bay yesterday (Tuesday) where they demanded entry to the base and made a fresh appeal for the safety of the four Christian Peacemakers missing in Iraq.

Their actions were a response to a statement by George W Bush that those concerned with the conditions there should go down and 'take a look'.

The Witness Against Torture marchers are the first American Christians ever to approach the prison, where it has been suggested hundreds of inmates have been tortured, humiliated and held in violation of international law.

During their march, the participants prayed for the Guant·namo detainees and for the four Christian Peacemakers threatened with execution in Iraq.

In pictures broadcast around the world, the Christian Peacemakers had been shown by their captors dressed in orange jump suits and chains, representing the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

The group who are demanding entry includes Sr. Anne Montgomery, who has served with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraq and Hebron, and Danny Burns, who was part of a CPT delegation to Iraq.

Members of the group have set up tents on the Cuban side of the gates, where they will fast and pray while waiting for U.S. permission to visit the prison.

In June, President Bush said to those concerned with the conditions in Guant·namo, "You're welcome to go down yourself...and take a look at the conditions." The group is asking people to call on President Bush to grant permission for them to visit the prisoners.

Upon their arrival Witness Against Torture's Gary Ashbeck placed a phone call to the base requesting access but was rebuffed.

Anne Montgomery, a ten year veteran of Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq, also made an appeal to the Iraqi captors threatening other Christian Peacemakers - Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, Briton Norman Kember, and American Tom Fox - with execution.

She continued; "In 2003, three Christian Peacemaker Teams members were refused entrance to Airport Detention Centre near Baghdad, Iraq. As we stood there, two taxis arrived filled with families desperate to get information about fathers, brothers, and sons seized in raids of homes and on the street. After that we found many other families in the same situation. We began a campaign, not claiming innocence or guilt of the prisoners, but calling for their basic human rights to be respected. Now (we) are marching toward Guantanamo where Iraqis and others are being held. Tom Fox, a CPT member who is being held hostage in Iraq, said just before his capture, 'War and oppression make people less human than they should be.'"

"I've been in prison when people outside were holding a vigil," said Susan Crane of the Catholic Worker Movement. "I could feel the encouragement--not just me, but the other women, that people were praying for me. It brings hope." Crane said the U.S. war on terror would not bring security. She said the only way the country can protect itself is by changing its attitudes and actions toward the rest of the world. "Jesus brought a new commandment: to love one another," she said. "To me, nonviolence is the only thing that's going to work."

Added Anne Montgomery, "We feel that what is happening in Guant·namo represents the dehumanization of the prisoners, the guards and those that make war. We pray at the gates of Guant·namo that love will overcome this dehumanization."

[Updated full chronological list of related articles on Ekklesia as of 14 December 2005 AM: Features - Christian Peacemaker Teams full briefing (with links to features and stories on CPT's work); Christian peacemakers - a lesson to the peace movement (by Mark A. LeVine); Why are we here? (by CPTer Tom Fox). Advent hope for Iraq, captives and Limbaugh (Sojourners magazine). What on earth are we waiting for? (Simon Barrow, Advent and Iraq). News - Canadian churches pray for missing peace activists (above); Cardinal joins pleas for Iraq peace workers; Praying for a miracle amid Iraq hostage silence 12/12/05; All faiths candlelit vigil in London for Norman Kember 12/12/05; Officials and families seek news on Iraq Christian peace workers 12/12/05; Lobbying goes on as Iraq hostage deadline passes 11/12/05; Hope continues as Iraq captive deadline looms 10/12/05; Embattled Hezbollah backs Iraq 'doves of peace' 09/12/05; UN secretary general calls for release of all Iraqi captives 09/12/05; Former Guantanamo Bay detainees call for release of Christian peacemakers 08/12/05; Jack Straw says he will talk on Iraq hostages 08/12/05; Abu Qatada pleas for Iraq captives as deadline is extended 08/12/05; Christians criticize UK Iraq war budget increase 08/12/05; Christian peacemakers say the work must go on 08/12/05; Last minute appeals made for Christian peacemakers 07/12/05 ; Muslim detainees plead for lives of Christian peacemakers 06/12/05; Faith groups in the US unite to back Iraq captives 06/12/05; French engineer seized in Iraq 05/12/05; Norman Kember's wife pleads for his life 04/12/05; Iraqi, Muslim and Palestinian support for peace hostages grows 04/12/05; Insurgents say they will kill Christian peacemakers 02/12/05; WCC calls for freeing of Christian peace workers 02/12/05; Vigils and messages of support for abducted peace activist 02/12/05; Palestinian bishop seeks mercy for Iraq peace workers 02/12/05; Anti-war campaigner flies to Iraq to plead for Christian peacemakers 01/12/05; Muslims urge release of Christian peacemakers missing in Iraq 01/12/05; Al-Jazeera releases film of Iraq peace hostages 30/11/05; Search goes on for Christian peacemaker kidnapped in Iraq 28/11/05. Key book: Patricia Gates-Brown (ed.), Getting in the Way: Stories from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Herald Press]Christian Peacemaker Teams full briefing (with links to features and stories on CPT's work); Why are we here? (by CPTer Tom Fox); Christians criticize UK Iraq war budget increase 08/12/05; Christian peacemakers say the work must go on 08/12/05; Last minute appeals made for Christian peacemakers 07/12/05 ; Muslim detainees plead for lives of Christian peacemakers 06/12/05; Faith groups in the US unite to back Iraq captives 06/12/05; French engineer seized in Iraq 05/12/05; Norman Kember's wife pleads for his life 04/12/05; Iraqi, Muslim and Palestinian support for peace hostages grows 04/12/05; Insurgents say they will kill Christian peacemakers 02/12/05; WCC calls for freeing of Christian peace workers 02/12/05; Vigils and messages of support for abducted peace activist 02/12/05; Palestinian bishop seeks mercy for Iraq peace workers 02/12/05; Anti-war campaigner flies to Iraq to plead for Christian peacemakers 01/12/05; Muslims urge release of Christian peacemakers missing in Iraq 01/12/05; Al-Jazeera releases film of Iraq peace hostages 30/11/05; Search goes on for Christian peacemaker kidnapped in Iraq 28/11/05. Key book: Patricia Gates-Brown (ed.), Getting in the Way: Stories from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Herald Press]

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