PRISON VOICES: FRIDAY 31ST MAY, 4.15 – 5.30
Please join us at this FREE event within the Festival of Dangerous Ideas to talk about three prisoners of the United States, all of whom are British in some capacity, and all of whom have retained immense dignity under severe oppression.
We will look at the significant testimony of all three men which we have in various forms -poetry, reportage and court statement – to try to bring to you these ‘prison voices’ that are an inspiration to us all.
BRADLEY MANNING, SHAKER AAMER, TALHA AHSAN: A DISCUSSION
This event brings together three cases of ongoing injustice; three prisoners of the War on Terror. We will be exploring connections between Bradley, Talha and Shaker using their own words and testimony, and with reference to their families and the campaigns for their freedom.
DANGEROUS IDEAS FOR DANGEROUS TIMES
Dangerous Ideas for Dangerous Times, is
an international festival taking place in the halls and open spaces around King’s Cross.
The organisers invite us to join them
to discuss, plan and collaborate Dangerous Ideas for Dangerous Times on the weekend of 31 May – 1 June.
We will be meeting in the halls and open spaces around Kings Cross to discuss radical, oppositional ideas amidst the onging economic and social crisis.
Meanwhile, our local park will be transformed by musicians, artists booksellers, and stallholder, and open to festival-goers and members of the public alike.
LUMEN URC CHURCH, 88 TAVISTOCK PLACE, WC1H 9RS
The PRISON VOICES discussion will take place at Lumen URC Church, Tavistock Place, in between Russell Square and King’s Cross tubes – see map:
The discussion will be chaired by Amrit Wilson (South Asian Solidarity).
Hamja Ahsan (Free Talha Ahsan) will be talking about his brother Talha; Indrani Balaratnam (Cageprisoners researcher) about Shaker Aamer; and Lindi Carter (Wise Up Action) and Ben Griffin ( Veterans for Peace UK) about Bradley Manning.
Ben will also provide an overview on the WoT from the perspective of a career soldier – Ben was in the SAS – who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, became a rufusenik or coscientious objector, and then went on to found VfPUK.
But, as the title of the discussion implies, we will also allow the three prisoners to ‘speak for themselves’ by using their own words to convey the situations they find themselves in, and to show the kind of people they are.
So, we hope that you will find Bradley, Talha and Shaker speaking to you too.
Talha Ahsan is an award-winning British poet.
He was recently extradited to pre-trial solitary confinement in a US supermax prison after over 6 years of detention in Britain without trial. Talha is a British citizen and has Aspergers, but neither of these facts prevented his extradition to the US, even though he had never even visited America, much less committed any ‘crimes’ there.
His trial has now been put back to October 2013, and if convicted of charges he denies, Talha faces life in prison there without parole.
His new book of poetry, written shortly before extradition in HMP Long Lartin, is due out later this year with an introduction from his UK lawyer Gareth Peirce., and we will be looking at new poems and prose pieces from his incarceration in supermax.
for more see:
Shaker Aamer is the last Briton in Guantanamo, and, together with most of the other prisoners there, has been on hunger strike for over 100 days. He is 46.
Despite having been imprisoned since 2002 without charge AND having been cleared for release TWICE, no progress has so far been made towards bringing him home to his family here.
Shaker Aamer’s words are known to us through the remarkable reports from Guanatamo he has continued to get out to us, despite the severe reprisals he suffers because of it.
He too wrote poetry and contributed to ‘Poems from Guantanamo’.
for more see:
Bradley was only 22 years of age when he responded to the ‘terrible things, awful things’ that he was seeing in Iraq as a US army intelligence analyst by releasing via WikiLeaks the largest cache of documents ever leaked, because, as he said,
‘I had information that needed to be shared with the world’.
On SAT 1st JUNE – an international day of action in his support, and the day after this discussion – we will come together at the US Embassy from 2pm to#Thank Manning for his historic act of conscience and resistance.
Since he first testified in a hearing last November it has become clearer than ever that, despite the reprisals already meted out to him by the US authorities and their determination to pursue a sentence of life in prison for ‘aiding the enemy’, Bradley, like the other two prisoners we are discussing, has retained his dignity and compassion.
On 28th Feb this year he gave an historic statement to the court detailing his actions and motivation as a whistleblower, and we will be primarily looking at the content of this.
for more see:
(this blog) http://wiseupaction.info/
STRENGTH, ENDURANCE, COURAGE
We invoke the strength, endurance & courage of those being abused under the guise of the ‘War on Terror’ through their own words, their families, and International Solidarity Campaigns.
SEE ALSO FB PAGE