To The Editor:
In the interest of justice and decency, Woodstock should approve a resolution to release innocent prisoners held in the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp and welcome them into our community. These are people who have been held for years, without charges, and even after our government has admitted its evidence exonerates them. This is a terrible injustice and we should at least declare that it is not being done in our name. The following is a model resolution adopted last year in Leverett, Massachusetts:
WHEREAS, President Obama had vowed to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base by January 2010; and
WHEREAS, many detainees at Guantánamo have been cleared by our government of wrongdoing and have been determined to pose no threat to the United States; and
WHEREAS, many of these detainees cannot be repatriated because they are either stateless or fear the harm awaiting them if returned to their home country; and
WHEREAS, our government has asked other countries to accept cleared detainees but has banned their settlement in the United States; and
WHEREAS, these detainees have suffered unjust imprisonment for many years; and
WHEREAS, the Pioneer Valley has many resources to help such detainees with trauma from their imprisonment; and
WHEREAS, the Pioneer Valley has welcomed in the past many refugees from a variety of traumatic experiences in other countries,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Leverett Town Meeting:
1) Urges Congress to repeal the ban on releasing cleared detainees into the United States and
2) Welcomes such cleared detainees into our community as soon as the ban is lifted.
And BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this Resolution be sent to the President and Attorney General of the United States, the United States Senators for Massachusetts, and the United States Representative for Massachusetts’ First District.
This is a tiny act of decency in the face of the enormity of official American depredations of the past decade, but if we can’t even do this, what does it say about us and our tortured country?
This article first appeared in the February 24th print edition of the Vermont Standard, Woodstock VT.