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Attended A Funeral Today


Flyby Stardancer
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And of course, I didn't think of anything to say until after it was over. After I got back to my room I wrote a short rant/speech of what I came up with. I've posted it in my lj, and now I'm posting here.

 

My great grandfather came to America from Mexico during the time of the Mexican Revolution and brought his wife and daughter with him. He wanted something better for his family, something he could not see them getting in Mexico. My grandfather was born an American citizen. He was raised to see the importance of the freedom and liberties that the founding fathers wanted for us. He was proud to be an American citizen, and took great joy in his rights and serving this country. He went to war for those liberties in Korea, and he fought to see justice prevail at home, in attending every jury he could be a part of. This is part of the story of my family, but it is not exclusive to my family. Many of the families in America came here because they wanted something better. They wanted the freedom, and for their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren to live in a place where civil liberties were respected and protected.

 

However, the protections for those liberties are being eroded. In 2001, the Patriot Act was signed into law. Amongst other things, this Act provided for wire-tapping and other search methods without a warrant or probable cause. Simply stating a belief that the person could possibly be a terrorist would be enough of a "probable cause". While the Act sounds good and patriotic on paper, it is not. It violates the 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. More recently, Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006. This act allows for the government to hold "enemy combatants" without charge, to abuse and torture said "enemy combatants", and takes away their right to habeas corpus. And while some may look at it and say that it is a fair law, since it shouldn't apply to American citizens, they need to look again. For one thing, this Act allows for legal violations of the Third Geneva Convention by government and military personnel. Second, if an American citizen is wrongfully imprisoned, they cannot take it to civil court while contained, but instead go through the military courts. One of the most offensive parts of this Act is the removal of the right to Habeas Corpus. Habeas Corpus is what protects prisoners from unjust imprisonment, and requires that the be allowed to see all the evidence against them. This is a right that is fundamental to the judicial system, and without it, how can one expect a fair trial, or even to have a trial at all?

 

So, in honor of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, staff and students of my university put together a funeral for Habeas Corpus. This funeral was a call to action, and a plea to end the ignorance of the community (local and national) to what is going on in this country, by this country. It was held in a place symbolic to our point. On our campus we have cherry trees that were planted to remind us of the students whose attendance to the school was cut short by the Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Executive Order 9066 was the order for all Japanese and Japanese-Americans on the west coast to be relocated to internment camps during World War II. This was a grave violation of the rights and liberties of those American citizens, including that of Habeas Corpus. Our cherry trees were planted in hopes that no American citizen's rights would be so butchered again. The funeral for Habeas Corpus was held amongst those trees.

 

Let us hope and strive, so that Habeas Corpus and all the other human rights are revived, so that no one need fear for their freedom.

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