Tonight I am leading my first local meeting for the St Louis chapter of Amnesty International.  We are examining the use of Torture by the USA in particular, and I am presenting material that will hopefully give us a focus for action that spurs the current government onto seeking accountability for the atrocities carried out by the previous administration.  However, the thing that really concerns me is that images like this are not really historical:


Tragically, although Obama signed a key declaration in January, pledging to close Guantanamo and put an end to torture, these practices continue – perhaps not as extreme as the above image, but certainly force-feeding and other personal violations continue at Gitmo, and so the culpability is transferred to the Obama administration, and our great hopes for change begin to fade.

It is sobering reading, the preparation I have done for tonight, and I guess it just makes me despair when I think of the unnecessary and dreadful treatment some people have been subjected to in the name of freedom and democracy. Sigh.

He Made It!

One week on and I can report that our new wee man is doing well. He made his entrance last Friday and has been making himself at home since.

Since his arrival, it seemed that nothing about me was working anymore… though now I can see that things are starting to heal, and I am getting the hang of sleep deprivation and the sacrifices necessary to ensure he is adequately nourished. But it looks like hard work ahead!

However, nothing – as they say – prepares you for how much your emotions soar at the sight of your own offspring. So any effort – even the most desparate and supreme effort – on his behalf just seems instinctive and unselfishly necessary. I am starting to sound rather martyrish… ugh!

One person who has been working in this period has been our new president – I say ‘our’ in sort of proprietary sense, even though I am still an alien… because I feel like Obama is such a man for the people that it doesn’t seem like I am disconnected from the massive political impact his courageous leadership can make in our whole world. Also, our wee man is now a US citizen, so no matter where in the world we go next, there will be a family tie to this land.

We managed to bring our little lad home just in time to hear the inaugural speech on Tuesday. It was such a moving and happy day in so many ways. And so great to be home.

So we are excited and impressed by the decisive new initiatives to already come from the White House. Particularly the plan to close Guantanamo and the CIA ghost prisons and to put an end to govt sanctioned torture such as waterboarding. Such shame attached to the brutal practises in these places. I do hope that they manage to address the impact of other such US-run prisions abroad, like in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are really looking forward to see what other important decisions will come from the work of this promising new administration.

Not sure if I will be working on this blog too often in the coming days… am still not working in the employable sense, but sense that a lot of work on good family life is ahead. Work worth doing!