We meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at St. Gertrude's Ministry Center
(6214 N. Glenwood), beginning at 8:00 p.m. Folks are welcome to join us at anytime.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


A reflection by John Bambrick
Washington, D.C.
January 12, 2010

In a number of theology classes, we talked about the unity of all beings and things on the earth. We are all interconnected. As I have sat with this over the last few years, the more I have come to believe this (from scientific, theological, social perspective, etc.). Today our group did a Ghost Walk in the Senate Hart building. A number of us walked in orange jumpsuits with names of prisoners that have been cleared for release on our backs. We each walked separately on a different floor and wing in a very prayerful and solemn way. We went to “lobby” those in the Senate to help remember these men that all have been “cleared for release” and are ready to leave but remain in Guantanamo. We put the jumpsuits on once in the building and after about 20 minutes a police officer came running up to me (very out of breath) as I walking at a Thich Nhat Hanh pace….very slowly and deliberately. He respectful asked how I was doing and what I was doing here and then for my ID. Followed by a number of investigative questions. We weren’t doing anything illegal in our action but they were checking on us. After I was allowed to continue walking, the next guy up at the capital police wanted to talk to me. As I told him that I was with Witness Against Torture and that I was not protesting or demonstrating and that I was lobbying to help follow the executive order to close Guantanamo and end torture and that we were completely nonviolent….he said “Oh Witness Against Torture…oh yeah. I know you guys. I’ve seen you for a number of years.” They let me continue to walk and our whole group. Apparently, I was one of the few who got this much attention from the police. To be faced with this interrogation and questioning does make me feel uncomfortable. I want there to be harmony and don’t like lying or not telling the whole truth. So it is difficult to engage with the police because my experience in past actions is that some of the officers have lied and significantly misled us. As I went through this relatively brief questioning (which Jerica overheard and described as "tough"), I was relieved to by able to continue walking. It took a while to get re-centered. I imagined what it would be like to face continued pressure and questioning like the men in Guantanamo, Bagram, and the many other prisons. I got just a little taste of it. But it moved me. Then I thought of the horrific abuse on top of that. I don't know how people could withstand this. I felt this deeper "interconnectedness" (that I mentioned above) because of this experience. Tasting it in a tiny way made me feel this connection. The binding and connection of my heart, life, and soul to theirs. We are all one. We are all interconnected. This leads me a step further. Thich Nhat Hanh writes about an exercise of saying "You are me. And I am you." This can helps us grow in our awareness in our interconnectedness. And even further that we are literally all one. So as I sit with the fact that I am the man at Guantanamo (Sayf Bin Abdallah) and he is me....what does this tell me? If I am then being held and mistreated in Guantanamo, what must I do? If I am yearning to be reconnected with my family and wife and kids after years and years apart, what does this mean? I don't have the answers. But I think it calls for a deeper and more intimate journey with this issue. I am hopeful and confident that we will be exploring and walking down that path this week.

Visit witnesstorture.org for daily updates from Washington.

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