A line from a Gipsy King song has been going through my head for the passed few days as we have walked through the Cuban countryside. "Estoy caminando a la montanya donde naci." it is such a rousing song to walk with, and i wish i knew the rest of the words. But, I am not walking to the mountains where i was born. the landscape is rolling hills and sugar cane fields- not mountains. And every time I try and speak with someone I know I was not born here. But as i walk, each step bringing us closer to the prisoners, closer to Guantanamo base, closer the modern heart of darkness, i feel hope being born inside of me. Hope for what people with faith, courage and community can accomplish. Hope for what humanity can be if violence and retribution are spurned. We are in the third day of our walk and feeling strong. Each step of what we are doing is brand new. People do not do what we are doing here, people do not walk when they can ride, they do not camp except for in necessity… They certainly do not visit the prisoners at Guantanamo and perform the works of mercy. And yet that is what we are doing, that is the road we are walking. In an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Vice President Dick Cheney said that in its response to 9/11, the government would need to "work through, sort of, the dark side." He continues: "We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we're going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in, and so it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective."That dark side is the torture, the disappearances, the secret prisons, the holding incommunicado, the abrogation of U.S. and international law. We are walking to shine a light on that darkness.
Frida Berrigan is a senior program associate with the New America Foundation’s Arms and Security Initiative and a member of the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World.