In support of efforts to pressure the U.S. government to repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan, former U.S. Congressperson Cynthia McKinney and International Action Center Co-Director Sara Flounders traveled to Pakistan last December. Cynthia McKinney has been a courageous and outspoken opponent of U.S. wars at every step. The IAC has a 20-year history of organizing opposition to U.S. wars, racism and repression.
When Cynthia McKinney and I landed at the airport in Karachi at 4:00 a.m., hundreds of people greeted us with showers of rose petals. Later that same day there was a huge motorcade and we spoke at a mass rally of many, many thousands of people calling for the U.S. to return Aafia Siddiqui to her native country. What overwhelmed us on the first day was repeated in city after city, and in small towns—for eight days. Sara Flounders, Fowzia Sid- diqui, Cynthia McKinney flash the peace sign in Karachi. They were showered with rose petals on their arrival. Aafia Siddiqui supporters turned out in hundreds and thousands wherever they went throughout Pakistan. Photo: Altaf Shakoor
Our trip focused on solidarity with the people in demanding the repatriation of Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan. Her case exposes the U.S. government’s violations of due process and justice and also its practices of secret renditions, illegal confinement, and torture.
The millions of Pakistanis who support Aafia Siddiqui want to bring pressure upon the Pakistani government as well, so that it, too, demands that the U.S. return her to Pakistan. There is deep anger at the Pakistani military, which has collaborated and profited off decades of U.S. war in Afghanistan.
All political currents—and there are hundreds of parties—say they support her return. This includes even those who worked with the U.S., in addition to those opposed to U.S. imperialism. It includes labor, religious forces, and the masses in the street, which are for her release in a powerful way. When we were on the road, young people came out in thousands. Our car was surrounded by youths on motorcycles carrying flags with Aafia’s picture on them. We saw signs on the walls all over, “Free Aafia,” “Free sister Aafia,” and the reference to her sentencing, “86 years, b—s––.”
Pakistanis can’t believe what happened to this American-educated Pakistani woman. Every time we met them they asked: How could she and her very young children be kidnapped and the U.S. government or some secret agency, hold her and the children in prison for years, all of them separated from one another? Why was a Pakistani citizen held in Afghanistan and then brought to the U.S. for a “show trial”? How it was possible that someone who injured no one could be sentenced to 86 years in the U.S.? The average Pakistani is outraged.
The average American should be, too. The case of Aafia Siddiqui has exposed crimes committed in their name. Subscribe or “Follow” us on riseuptimes.wordpress.com. For the TC EVENTS calendar and the ACTIONS AND ACTION ALERTS click on the tab at the top of the page and click on the item of interest to view. WAMMToday is also on Facebook! Check the WAMMToday page for posts from this blog and more! “Like” our page today. Find us on twitter at WAMMToday (@touchpeace). Solidarity of Women Resonates
We were extremely impressed by the role of women in the movement to free Aafia Siddiqui. You could really feel their rage at Siddiqui’s humiliation by the U.S. government.
The years of imprisonment, of solitary confinement and isolation, the horrendous prison conditions for Aafia today, the daily, abusive, invasive strip search for her trial in New York City—this abuse must become a deeply felt issue for the women’s movement in the U.S. Aafia’s name should be raised across the country on International Women’s Day and every day. Here is a real women’s issue, as opposed to the propagandists’ use of women’s issues in the service of empire providing a rationale for invading other countries to protect and liberate their women.
Far from protecting and liberating Aafia, the U.S. abducted and imprisoned her. Subscribe or “Follow” us on riseuptimes.wordpress.com. For the TC EVENTS calendar and the ACTIONS AND ACTION ALERTS click on the tab at the top of the page and click on the item of interest to view. WAMMToday is also on Facebook! Check the WAMMToday page for posts from this blog and more! “Like” our page today. Find us on twitter at WAMMToday (@touchpeace). People in Pakistan consider the extrajudicial killings with the drones to be an extension of the U.S. policy of secret renditions, and the kidnapping and imprisonment of Siddiqui.
There is also boiling opposition across the whole political spectrum in Pakistan to the daily U.S. use of drones to carry out what the U.S. military calls “targeted assassinations.” These Hellfire missiles have killed thousands of civilians and are an affront to the sovereignty of Pakistan.
Throughout the country, far from being the quiet and submissive Muslim women stereotyped in U.S. media and entertainment, we found women to be passionately involved in these issues.
I want to give just one example of how our actions can create solidarity with them and resonate to counter the horrific impressions that they have of the U.S. I had attended Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s trial in New York City, where she was charged with grabbing a gun and attacking U.S. soldiers while in U.S. custody at an Afghanistan police station. At her trial, I saw the prosecution’s inability to present any evidence of her guilt—no forensic evidence—not a fingerprint, shell casing, or injury to any of the soldiers or FBI agents she was accused of trying to murder, though she, herself, had been shot.
I had written articles and drafted petitions about this outrageous case. But what made the biggest impact in Pakistan was a small act of solidarity during the New York trial that was totally unnoticed in the U.S., though it became top of the news in Pakistan. During Aafia Siddiqui’s sentencing to 86 years in prison for attempted murder, I stood up in federal court and shouted out: “Shame, shame on this court!” Everyone in Pakistan seemed to know about this. It means so much for Pakistanis to know that there are women in the U.S. who oppose the humiliation of this Pakistani woman. Yes! The U.S. War Machine is Vulnerable