Reflections for a New Year
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 …
One of two Fire Engine for Syrian civillians bearing Aafia's name