Revolution #122, March 9, 2008

Cheers and Jeers

Orange at the Oscars!

CHEERS! to those at the 80th Annual Academy Awards who wore orange ribbons to protest torture being done by the United States.

Out on the red carpet, Julie Christie was wearing the “jumpsuit orange” ribbon on her ruby red dress. She said she got it from the American Civil Liberties Union, whose ‘‘very, very important’’ campaign seeks to close the Guantánamo prison camp in Cuba where the U.S. is carrying out torture.

Paul Haggis, who received a 2006 Oscar for his film Crash, was also wearing an orange ribbon at the Academy Awards and had gotten an orange wrist band from World Can’t Wait that says “Torture + Silence = Complicity.” World Can’t Wait has been organizing and urging people to wear orange in protest of U.S. torture and as a mass color of resistance to “Drive Out the Bush Regime.”

When Alex Gibney, director of Taxi to the Dark Side, accepted his Oscar for best documentary, he had an orange ribbon on his suit lapel. Taxi to the Dark Side is an in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002.

In his acceptance speech Gibney said: “Wow. Thank you very much, Academy. Here’s to all doc filmmakers. And, truth is, I think my dear wife Anne was kind of hoping I’d make a romantic comedy, but honestly, after Guant´anamo, Abu Ghraib, extraordinary rendition, that simply wasn’t possible. This is dedicated to two people who are no longer with us, Dilawar, the young Afghan taxi driver, and my father, a navy interrogator who urged me to make this film because of his fury about what was being done to the rule of law. Let’s hope we can turn this country around, move away from the dark side and back to the light. Thank you very much.”

On January 11, the sixth anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo prison, the ACLU placed an ad in Daily Variety that read in part, “Whether you are walking the picket line, the red carpet or standing in the supermarket line, wear the orange ribbon.” The ACLU campaign is aimed at getting people to wear the ribbons “every day until the prison is closed.”

Renee Missel, Julie Christie’s manager, saw the ad and said, “Julie had given me a book—Enemy Combatant, about prisoner treatment at Gitmo. I read it and went berserk.” Christie met with an ACLU staff attorney to talk about the campaign and bunches of orange ribbons were ordered. And according to Allison Walker, the industry liason for the ACLU, Christie, her husband, British journalist Duncan Campbell, and all the Lionsgate people were wearing orange ribbons at the Oscars.

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond