Short report from Manning solidarity, Camden/ London
by Ciaron O’Reilly
Catholic Workers from Giuseppe Conlon House London have been sustaining a solidarity vigil for Bradley Manning three times a week throughout his trial. We head to Camden Mon. Wed. Fri. 4-6pm. We have also included an Edward Snowden placard since the hunt for him has begun.
The vigil requires three people, ideally; on a few occasions we have got by with two. In the mornings we check how many Catholic Workers are available and text out to a small group of friends if we need to make up the numbers. Andrea and Serena now join us once a week at 5pm after their work commitments. Over the past few months Andre, Auburn, Dave, Eden, Rita, Sue, Roland, Seamus have helped us make up the numbers.
We hold the Manning portrait banner & a Manning placard on a stick (with a “We love Edward Snowden: Support Whistleblowers!” flipside). We passively offer excellent Manning solidarity flyers designed by Genny, that give contact & background details. And we wait to be engaged, and engaged we are! Although a lot of “too cool for school” fashion victims, dressed in hippy and punk fashion (“all hat and no horse” as they say in Texas), walk by disengaged we have lots of takers reaching out for flyers, and many people stopping to converse.
We have had chats with lawyers from Gareth Peirce’s nearby legal office, former prisoners (one guy was in the same Louisiana prison as me a year after I was there!, another had just been released after 25 years) veterans (a great Iranian conscript combat veteran yesterday), some curious folks who have never heard of Bradley and others deeply engaged in the trial and sincerely thankful that we are there “somebody doing something” – which is pretty much the Catholic Worker job description!
So as Fr. Dan Berrigan S.J. would say:
“Don’t just do something, stand there!”