Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I am (I will become) Bradley Manning

[I've updated this post with images from a demonstration in Chicago as part of the July 27, 2013 series of nationwide demonstrations to protest the persecution of Bradley Manning and demand his release. (Photos courtesy Andy Thayer, Gay Liberation Network Chicago ) - JS]

As part of the nationwide campaign to protest the persecution of Bradley Manning and demand that he be exonerated, thousands of people around the country and around the world have made this declaration:

FREE Bradley

If only.

Let's just take a moment to think about what Bradley Manning has so courageously done, and what a person would have to do to rank with Bradley Manning . . . .

The obvious comparison is Daniel Ellsberg.

Vietnam Archive: Pentagon Study Traces
3 Decades of Growing U.S. Involvement
The New York Times, June 13, 1971

Many people engaged in acts of resistance during the Vietnam War.  Ellsberg took it to a new level by figuring out how to use the communications technology that prevailed at the time -- national daily newspapers -- and getting the truth disseminated globally in what passed for "instantaneously" at the time.

Daniel Ellsberg himself has saluted Bradley Manning as a hero "whose example should inspire others."

Brad Manning: World Hero

But what about Paul Revere? Compare his engraving of the Boston Massacre with the image from the Collateral Murder video that Bradley Manning made available:

Boston MassacreCollateral Murder

Paul Revere was a patriot because he stood up to war criminals. Is Bradley Manning any less so?

(Paul Revere spread the word on a horse. Bradley Manning used the Internet. Times change.)

"Free Manning!" protest in Chicago's Millennium Park ("the Bean")

Or consider Otto and Elise Hampel. During the Nazi period in Germany, they quietly distributed thousands of postcards calling on fellow Germans to wake up and resist their government and its crimes.
German people: WAKE UP!

Otto and Elise Hampel's were heroes who paid with their lives for their simple act of resistance. You can read about them in Hans Fallada's retelling of their story, Every Man Dies Alone.

Celebrate our right to know
Thanks to whistleblowers
Edward Snowden . . . Bradley Manning

Or Ai Weiwei. He drove the Chinese government by disseminating information about children who lost their lives in earthquakes as a result of shoddy school construction.

Ai WeiWei on Twitter

The tweets kept coming. Day ... after day ... after day .... When the police came after him about his tweets, he tweeted about that!

End the War on Truth

A person may not feel that s/he is another Daniel Ellsberg ... or Paul Revere ... or Otto and Elise Hampel ... or Ai Weiwei ... or Bradley Manning. But these are heroes we can aspire to emulate.

I am not Bradley Manning (yet).

I will become Bradley Manning!

I AM Bradley Manning


Listen to Bradley Manning's court statement

Watch Kyle Broom's excellent short film about the U.S. government persecution of Bradley Manning: Prevention of Injury (POI)

Contribute to the Bradley Manning Support Network

Related posts

What would it mean for each of us to commit, say, to a year in which we would consistently place the truth in front of ordinary people, day after day, and patiently engage with them as they worked through the implications? What would it mean if we all believed in people as much as Bradley Manning?

(See Are YOU Ready to Swallow a Daily Dose of "the Manning Principle"?)

"In whom and in what should we be putting our faith?" If not in Manning -- and the Manning Principle -- then in whom, and in what?

(See The Path to Peace: Why Not the Manning Way?)

Bradley Manning is an American hero. As one of the speakers said at the International Human Rights Day protest in Chicago, "Would there have been an Arab Spring without Bradley? Would there have been an Occupy movement? We should be giving him the Congressional Medal of Honor! We should give HIM the Nobel Peace Prize!"

(See Chicago Says "Free Bradley!" )