So here's what I did ...about Mr. Al-Ghizzawi
I called Sen. Specter's office and --first of all-- told the aide that I wanted to thank the senator for sponsoring the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act. I also asked when the bill will come up for a floor vote, but it hasn't even been scheduled yet, and it's almost time for summer recess. So, not until the fall.
Then --fully aware that the aide must wonder what planet I just dropped in from--I started to tell her about Mr. Al-Ghizzawi and how his condition is critical. I asked if I could email her the information so that she could forward it to somebody (the janitor, maybe?) who might care or bring some attention to his plight.She made it clear that, although Sen. Specter is our senior senator, the White House is not listening to anybody on this one. (As if I didn't already know.) I pressed her for a suggestion of someone to contact. She suggested the ACLU. She was very understanding and listened patiently to my concern. I really have to thank her for that. So, next stop will be the ACLU-PA on Monday morning.
Then I called the FCNL ... figuring they'd at least tell me who to write a letter to. I was referred to an intern specializing in human rights, torture, etc. As she wasn't available when I called, I emailed her. She sent me a kind response, suggesting that I contact the Center for Constitutional Rights ... which I'll certainly do.
Civil liberties? constititutional rights? Of course, that's the whole crux of the issue. Mr. Al-Ghizzawi doesn't have any civil liberties or constitutional rights, according to our current administration. If he did, he wouldn't be imprisoned for five years without a trial. Well, it's worth contacting the organizations anyway. And I'm working on a letter to send to a deserving editor.
So, all this has taught me something about human rights activism: it has to be a sustained effort. Now I know what the meetings and grassroots organizing are all about...to stop things like this from happening.