WASHINGTON – Diane Wilson,65,stopped eating on May 1 to honor the Guantanamo Bay prisoners who have been on a hunger strike for 99 days.
The prisoners are being force-fed through nasal tubes.
Wilson,a shrimp boat captain from Seadrift,Texas,is a co-founder of Code Pink,a group that advocates for peace and social justice. On Thursday,she put on her orange jumpsuit,and went to Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House to protest against Guantanamo,the American prison located in Cuba that holds prisoners the government says are connected with terrorism.
She and three other Code Pink members impersonated doctors,soldiers and prisoners to recreate some of the force-feeding procedures used on the strikers.
“Right now,in Guantanamo,over 28 detainees are being force-fed,and they are being done twice a day,and it’s a very brutal way of force-feeding someone,” Wilson said. “You have to bring it to the American people. Because they are so used to television,you have to sit right in front of them and say this is what is like. This is the brutality.”
Tighe Barry,50,a film technician from Los Angeles,acting as a soldier,strapped Wilson in a wheel chair,pulled her head back and pretended to put a tube down her nose and poured a purple liquid inside it. David Barrows,65,a D.C. retiree dressed as a doctor,described what was happening and read the list of products that go in the liquid mix used to force-feed the prisoners.
“It’s about stripping people of their dignity. It’s about humiliating them. It’s about torturing them. Because these tubes that they put into the nose are too big,” Barrows said. “And if you keep doing that over and over again they’re going get infected,and frankly,they are going to kill them.”
Code Pink is among several other organizations,including Amnesty International,ANSWER Coalition and the Catholic Worker,that will protest Friday at noon and Saturday 5 p.m. in front of the White House to call for President Barack Obama to close the prison.
Closing Guantanamo was one of Obama’s campaign promises,but he has found it to be a difficult task.
“One day they will come out and apologize for all the things that happen in Guantanamo,like they did to the Native Americans,about slavery and the Vietnam War,” Barry said. “But I think they have to do this now. It’s long overdue.”
Wilson swore she will not eat until the prisoners end the strike. A frequent protester in Washington,Wilson previously went on a hunger strike during the administration of George W. Bush to urge him to pull troops out of Iraq.
“You don’t get hungry anymore,” she said. “You feel week and get confused. If I have to do anything,walking is really energy draining.”
Reach reporter Barbara Corbellini Duarte at [email protected] or 202-326-9866. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SFHWire.