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Artists protest Guantanamo and torture

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Artists across the country use different means to express their sorrow over the illegal detention and torture of prisoners from more than 40 countries at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Singer-songwriter Steve Coffee wrote and recorded "Guantanamo" in 2004. "When I wrote it two and a half years ago I thought 'there's a song with a short shelf life.' Too bad I was wrong." Coffee invites readers to download the band version at http://harleystringband.com/. The lyrics are at http://music.chaosabatement.com/guantanamo.htm. Below is a snippet of his song which imagines a Guantanamo detainee's encounter with Christian love, with Appalachian style melody. The blue Caribbean It soothes me in my rage Its tropical breezes Find me in my cage An endless vacation To pay the sinner's wage Everybody sing Swing Low, Guantanamo A few more years to go, Guantanamo Everybody sing Swing Low ------------------------------------- Poet Kristina Plotz wrote "A Man Named Christopher, a Boy Named Omar," a poem for two voices based on real events. One voice is an American soldier killed in Afghanistan July 27, 2002, and the other a 15-year-old boy captured during that battle who is currently detained in Guantanamo. "Draped in an American flag, I was loaded on a plane and flown home under cover of night. I was chained, hooded, and locked in a cage. They put me and several others on a plane late at night. I was only 28. I was only 15. I never said goodbye to my family. I begged to see my family. The whole town came to the funeral. No one knows where I am. My best friends carried my casket into the church. They carried me into a cell and dropped me on the floor. I was honored as a hero. I was interrogated endlessly. When they didn't like my answers they punched and kicked me. My father gave the eulogy. They said, "You'll never see your father or your mother again." He spoke about my courage, dedication, and sense of humor. My mother quietly cried in the pew. They laughed at me when I cried. My dad spoke of my confidence, kindness, and faith. They spit and stomp on my holy book...hurl insults and curses at my faith. My dignity is gone. I was proud to serve my country. I fought for freedom... I may never be free again. Democracy... I have no right to challenge my imprisonment. Human rights... They force me to my knees, wrench my hands behind my back, chain my wrists to my heels, and leave me there for days. Integrity... Upside down, they submerge my face in water... They apply electric shocks with precision. Honor... Almost every day they torture me." ----------------------------------------- Protest artist Distressed American, aka Brad Russell, a college anthropology teacher who manages the site www.seedsofdoubt.com, created graphics and an "End the Abuses" campaign website at http://www.endtheabuses.org/

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* All work reprinted with permission of the artists.
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Kathlyn Stone is a Minnesota-based writer covering science and medicine, health care and related policies.ï She publishes www.fleshandstone.net, a health and science news site.
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