New York Close Guantanamo Vigil

Speech by Talat Hamdani at Amnesty International and ACLU Vigil
by Talat Hamdani
January 14th, 2009

My name is Talat Hamdani and I am a member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. I lost my 23 year old son, Mohammad Salman Hamdani, at WTC II. Salman went down to rescue his fellow Americans from the terrorists. Sadly, he was investigated by the government of his country, whose citizens he went to rescue. In the post 9-11 era, many Muslims and Arab-Americans have been detained here and internationally. Guantanomo Bay is America’s shame. The only time I am ashamed to be an American is in the context of GITMO. This is a great nation, the best nation in the world.

Yes. We lost 3,000 Americans on 9-11, and 5,000 soldiers, who valiantly and courageously are defending us abroad, in Afghanistan and Iraq. But what about the thousands of innocent civilians that were killed in these two wars of Afghanistan and Iraq? Their deaths should not be in vain. The only way we can pay tribute to their sacrifice is by redeeming our dignity and respect as a nation by closing down GUantanomo Bay, on day one.

We, as a nation, stand in violation of our own constitution, the Geneva Conventions and the UN Human Rights Commission. The majority of the detainees at GITMO and other detention facilities, were turned in by different nations in response to the CIA call of $5 Million bounty per person; eighty five percent of the detainees were innocent civilans turned in by the corrupt governments of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The detainees are not only from foreign ME countries, but they are also from Canada, Australia, Africa, Europe and worse, from our own American soil.

Under the notorious Patriot Act 2001, in which Salman’s sacrifice is acknowledged, Habeas Corpus and Due Process stands suspended. There are many other detainee centers nationally and internationally. These centers get paid $100 perhead, per day by the Feds, contracted out to Halliburton, a company with close ties to Dick Cheney.

America has lost all moral standing in the world because of the Bush administration’s policies of detention and torture at GITMO, Abu Ghraib and Fallujah, to mention a few. The Bush administration goes touting about bringing Liberty and Democracy abroad to the third world nations, and curtailing the same domestically. What hypocrisy! Thousands of Muslim males have been incarcerated since 9-11. This is racial and religious profiling and then the media ask me:

Why do the Muslims hate America?

The oldest detainee is 95 yrs old, and the youngest was 13 when he was arrested. America is about to be the first nation to prosecute a child soldier.

On the campaign road, President-elect Obama had given his word that he will close Guantanomo Bay on day one of his presidency. Standing here, outside the Federal Hall, in front of George Washinton’s statue, the nation expects President Obama to keep his word and close GITMO.

Talat Gilani Hamdani
Mother of Mohammad Salman Hamdani
A Proud American Mother

Filed in: Guantanamo & Military Commissions, PT Member's Visit and Discussions on Guantanamo, Rule of Law: Guantanamo and Civil Liberties, Talat Hamdani

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