Photo of Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui amid the candles is from another peace event held for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and the people of Japan. In their vigils, demonstrations and marches, The Aafia Movement and the group Pasban -- maintain principles of peace, goodwill and concern for the plight of Dr. Aafia as well as many others. See link to earlier candlelight vigil and more on this troubling case at the end of post ***
The following was originally intended to go first to the US Consulate General in Karachi, Pakistan. To read more of the recent background please see notes after the speech.
From/by Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui
MEMORANDUM for release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and other Persons
10 February 2012
Today we are gathered here to draw your attention to some grave in justice.
We are not here to create a disturbance or take the law into our hands, we are not against the people of the United States nor do we intend to denounce them.
We are not here to play a circular blame game.
We want to state our words directly without the duplicity of diplomatic language.
We are not sophisticated in the media savvy spinning of words and statements that seek to separate rather than unify people. So, please take my words for what they are intended. They may be blunt but are intended to seek positive engagement.
We are a peace loving people and care for our safety and the safety and prosperity of our children just as preciously as Americans do for their own. We feel that the average American is as much a victim of illegitimate and divisive policies in their own country as we are in ours.
We, like the United States, are struggling to be a true democracy and a key principle is to have the right to protest and express our concerns. We are here to exercise that right and demand that you address our grievances. We want to let you know that all over the world there are people who condemn injustice because injustice is injustice regardless of the power and wealth of the perpetrators. Injustice does not have a race, religion or nationality. Injustice leads to insecurity resulting in corruption, anger and revolt. It occurs when those in power lose their moral compass and take their nations from a path of progress to one of tyranny and decay.
We were a courageous and proud nation and seek to regain that dignity once again. The days when foreign powers simply purchased our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and even babies are over. We cannot allow this to occur in silence any more.
Today we stand united in demanding that the thousands of men and women and children who were sold into secret captivity be returned, their loss compensated and perpetrators identified and held to account.
One case has come to symbolize all that has gone wrong during the War of Terror and the greater "Clash of Civilizations" that some seek to force upon unwitting populations. It is the case of my sister Aafia Siddiqui. She is not hard to find. The new line of Gulags runs straight to Carswell prison in Texas.
How she was put there is a shame on all the great principles spouted in the name of democracy and human rights. It was a great, open and visible act of injustice.
Lies, injustice, in the name of justice! That is becoming a familiar pattern.
To the people of America who genuinely see themselves as the World's last knights in shining armor, please take note that hiding shameful acts like the way Aafia was renditioned, tortured and crucified and then trying to cover it up with a show trial and burying the problem away for 86 years is not a very practical option. It may succeed for a while, but not forever. There is too much evidence before the public no matter how much officials try to "seal" it or create a fog of confusion. Even a one-sided, appeal will not ultimately hide the facts.
Times are changing. Your secrets will not remain hidden behind prison walls. In an age of information, everybody eventually learns everything and in Aafia's case, unlike a certain rifle in Afghanistan, all the atrocities done to her have the fingerprints of your agencies and their Pakistani collaborators.
Yet, as I said, we are not a vindictive people. Despite all you hear about us, we are taught to forgive and we have demonstrated this in actions. We forgave your gravest mistakes even as your revenge for 3000 lives has not been satisfied with even the lives of several hundred times that number. Our nation sacrificed more soldiers for your war than all your allies combined yet we are vilified instead of appreciated. Our soldiers on your front lines are massacred by your missiles and not even a hint of sorrow.
When your mercenary Raymond Davis killed our innocent citizens, you used our Islamic law, which you hate, to enable him to elude justice. When it suits, you let spies go free, let murderers walk away with slaps on the wrist and declare terrorists at will and cleans their records just as swiftly. When your soldiers rape and kill innocent civilians, they are simply demoted in rank because of the "fog of war".
Yet, when a Pakistani woman is accused of trying to hurt your soldiers in that same fog of war, she is sentenced to 86 years when no one except her was hurt! This is your measure of justice and arrogance. And yet, she forgave you.
This spirit of peace lives within us and we hope you will take the time to seek it out. That is the path to make both our nations safer and peaceful. Hate will not make either of us more prosperous.
It is now time for you to reciprocate and return Aafia and the thousands of others who have been secretly disappeared. It is time for you to act like a power and demonstrate compassion and acknowledge errors. It will make you the nation you desire to be.
I cannot stand before you like Moses before Pharoah and toss a stick on the ground and have it turn into a snake, nor can I nor do I wish to call upon plagues from Heaven, but together with my nation I can stand here and demand that you let our people go.
May God guide us all towards a path of peace, security and prosperity and give compassion in all our hearts for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or national origin.
The above speech was written by and for personal delivery by Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui to the US Consulate in Karachi as part of a peaceful march. This mission was curtailed without warning.
Although the march was led by commissioned police, supported by Pasban (a respected legal peace and rights group) and remained nonviolent, the marchers were halted by an unknown unit in police uniforms coming at them from an unexpected direction.
Tear gas was dispersed at least into the air, police batons were easily visible and apparently used to threaten the marchers at random. The claim by authorities was that these methods were only used in an attempt to stop the crowd from going further. However: reports, videos and photos just now coming out erratically show extreme, unwarranted actions and methods.
Dr. Fowzia and fellow marchers were suddenly arrested, detained and roughly handled. Her injuries included wounds to her face. Her son was also detained and singled out for threats directed to his family.
The president of the support group, Pasban, sustained broken bones to his arms. The attack resulted in many other injuries to marchers of all ages -- men and women both.
For more information about these events and this most troubling case, please go to the following:
The International Justice Network here
The Official Site of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui's Family here
An Independent Reporter Aseerun.org here
See earlier posting on this site *** photo above is highlighted here
Timeless Analysis on the case here
Archives which date quite early here
Various postings with major purpose to help "save a bridge" here