Bradley Manning and the First 1000 Days
Manning Supporters Asked to Step In and Up
The Bradley Manning Event on Saturday was a day of support and re-dedication to a national hero. I asked those assembled to stand in Bradley's place for a few moments and really feel the depth of his sacrifice and commitment. I thought it was worth some reflection by a wider audience. Here is my statement:
"Three years ago, Steven Argue, Robert Norse and I founded the Santa Cruz Coalition to Free Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. This is notable in that three years represents more than 1000 days and Bradley Manning has spent each and every one of those days as a prisoner of conscience.
1000 days. What does that mean to we who gather here today? Well, I would ask each of you to cast your minds and hearts back 1000 days into the past and try to remember what you were doing at that moment on time. Then I would ask each of you to move forward recalling if you can each love and loss, every good time and bad and every triumph and tragedy you experienced and shared with your loved ones. And I ask this because Bradley Manning neither experienced nor shared any of these experiences. He experienced only isolation and privation. 1000 days.
Now I ask you to consider that much of these 1000 days were spent in solitary confinement. Imagine if you can being confined to a small, windowless room - imagine that for one day, for one week, for one month. Bradley Manning endured this solitude and powerless for many numbers of months.
Finally, I would ask all of you this question: if you had to sacrifice the next 1000 days of your life in exchange for the chance to take one courageous, principled life defining stand, would you make that choice? Would I? Would any of us? Bradley Manning has done nothing less than this.
I recently wrote that if any other activist in this country were imprisoned for 1000 days without disposition, the streets would be filled with the howls of protest. So it falls to us now in this place to do whatever we can from this day forward to make sure that Bradley Manning's sacrifice, his commitment to us, will not have been in vain.
Solidarity and Justice for Bradley Manning!