December 31, 2013
Sometimes a New Year looks a lot like yesterday all over again.
If that’s not a cliche it should be, and I should be embarrassed to use it, but sometimes a cliche can describe the truth better than wisdom.
2013 looked a lot like 2012.
- -Aafia is still isolated in a prison cell.
- -She is allowed to phone her family in Karachi only intermittently.
- -Her brother hasn’t been allowed to visit her since 2012.
- -She is being discouraged from filing the requests that would allow her to have visitors.
- -Mail that has been sent to her is not being delivered.
There have been some new events.
- Aafia was assaulted in her cell by a guard. Prison officials have promised to look into it. Sometime before her eighty-six year prison sentence is completed.
- Pakistan had a national election. This deserves a commendation. For the first time in its short history a civilian government has been allowed to hand power to a civilian successor.
- The new Pakistani national government has come into office pledging to do everything to bring Aafia home. The previous government spent five years saying the same things to the public while inexplicably neglecting to mention anything to the United States. The previous government was also unwilling to ask the Americans to refrain from launching drone missiles into Pakistan and killing its citizens with these remote controlled bombs.
Far from the halls of power and politics there is a woman in Fort Worth named Diane. Every couple of weeks she stands at the entrance to Carswell Prison with a “Free Aafia” sign and a candle. Sometimes she brings friends and sometimes she is alone.
But Diane is not alone. At the end of March 2013, to mark the tenth anniversary of the day Aafia and her children were kidnapped, thousands of people joined her in Pakistan, the United Kingdom, South Africa, two dozen other countries, and in the United States at the entrance to Carswell Prison. These people are the Aafia Movement. These are the people who will one day enable Aafia to rejoin her children.
-Aafia we love you.
-Aafia we are praying for you.
-Aafia we are doing everything we can to bring you home.
Here are just a few pictures from 2013 …
|Prominent US Citizens Call For Immeiate RElease of Dr. Aafia|
PROMINENT U.S. CITIZENS CALL FOR
THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF Dr AAFIA SIDDIQUI
An Open Letter
October 25, 2013
Concerned US Citizens
President Barack Hussain Obama & Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
We, the undersigned write in reference to Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani citizen with no legal status in the United States.
Despite the representations of the government of Pakistan that it seeks Dr. Siddiqui’s repatriation to her homeland, we are deeply concerned that she continues to suffer needlessly in a U.S. federal prison thousands of miles from her family and country. We are also very concerned about her deteriorating physical and mental health throughout her excruciating ten year ordeal.
In the past, both governments had missed several opportunities to reunite Dr. Siddiqui with her family. For example, two years ago, U.S. government intelligence contractor Raymond Davis unjustifiably killed two Pakistani citizens in broad daylight in Pakistan. The U.S. government demanded his repatriation, and Dr. Siddiqui’s family and legal counsel requested that thetransfer should only be made if Dr. Siddiqui was also repatriated to Pakistan. Unfortunately, the leaders of Pakistan at the time failed to take any action to secure Dr. Siddiqui’s return.
As US citizens we are deeply disappointed by the lack of concern shown by our own successive administrations, first the Bush Administration and now the Obama Administration, for the endless suffering of this highly talented MIT and Brandies laureate cognitive neuroscientist and educationist.
The continued mistreatment of this most highly educated Muslim female on a series of shifting charges exposes our support for Ms Malala Yousafzai as insincere and merely a propaganda tool in the so-called war on terror (that is being perceived by many as a war to recolonize the Muslim world).
We are also saddened that her children in Pakistan have had to spend the past 10 years separated from their mother – their pleas for help to return their mother to them have so far been ignored.
With the recent election of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, we are heartened by the representations of the new government that it would finally take steps to facilitate Dr. Siddiqui’s return to Pakistan.
At this historical juncture, when both governments are seeking to turn a new page in their relationship, there are multiple options for a positive resolution to this tragic case that would result in the repatriation of Dr. Siddiqui within legal frameworks that would provide enormous benefit to the image of the U.S. in Pakistan and across the Muslim world and the region. Such positive winning of hearts and minds can only help bring about a better climate of trust and cooperation.
Accordingly, we urge our own government, the Obama administration, to take immediate action and make a firm commitment to end the decade-long injustice and send Dr. Siddiqui home before the end of 2013.
1. Hon Ramsey Clark – The 66th US Attorney General
2. Hon. Mike Gravel – US Senator from 1969-1981
3. Hon Paul Findley – US Congressperson from 1961-1983
4. Hon Cynthia McKinney – 6 Term US Congressperson, and Green Party’s candidate for US President
5. Hon Gamila Nasheed – State Senator, St. Louis, Missiouri
6. Hon Ako Abdul-Samad – Iowa State Representative
7. Dr. John Esposito – Chairman, Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
8. Sara Flounders – Co-director, International Action Center
9. Steve Downs, Executive Director, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms
10. Nahla Al-Arian, Coordinator, National Liberty Fund
11. El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan – Director, Peace Thru Justice Foundation
12. Mr. Mark Hinkle – Chairman, California Civil Rights Alliance
13. Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Toor – Chairman, Pakistani American Congress
14.. Dr Zahid Bukhari – Director, AMA-Foundation
15. Imam Shakir Elsayed – Chairman, Universal Justice Foundation
16. Imam Zaid Shakir – Imam, Lighthouse Mosque
17. Shahid Comrade – Secretary General, Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum
18. Imam Mahdi Bray – National Director, American Muslim Alliance
19. Shafi Refai – President, United Muslims of America
20. Muhammad Salim Akhtar, Executive Director, American Muslim Taskforce on Civil
Rights and Elections
21. Raja Yaqub – Vice President, Pakistan American National Alliance
22. Amer Chaudhary – National Director, Pakistan American Democratic Forum
23. Syed Adeeb – CEO, Adeeb Media
24. Imam Khalid Griggs – Chairman, ICNA Council of Social Justice
25. Akhtar Umrani, President, Mehran Society
26. Arshad Umrani, President, Baloch Strategy Forum
27. Dr. Sulayman Nyang – President, Muslim American Citizens Coalition and Public Affairs Council
28. Dr. Agha Saeed – CEO, AMA Foundation