Efforts to free Huntington Woods native Danny Fenster from military detention in Myanmar spread during his third week of no-contact captivity.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was pressed "to redouble your efforts" for the journalist's release during a House hearing Monday. A Detroit News editorial today condemns his detention without due process as a "violation of international law."
At least 20 artists (and growing) from around the world contribute portraits to his family's crusade to free the 37-year-old managing editor of a magazine in the Southeast Asian nation, run by generals since a Feb. 1 coup unseated elected leaders. Fenster was grabbed May 24 at an airport before boarding an intrernational flight.
"Journalists like Danny put their lives on the line because they believe in truth-telling. His case hits home because it’s about our fundamental values as a democracy and good government," Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., told Blinken this week at a hearing of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which the Bloomfield Township congressman chairs. The panel's ranking Republican, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, also spoke up, as did Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y.
Levin continued, The Detroit Jewish News reports:
"And it literally hits home for me because Danny and his brother Bryan went to my high school – they’re Berkley Bears! His loved ones and his many supporters are in pain, and I just can’t rest until he arrives home safely.
"Mr. Secretary, I need to ask you to redouble your efforts. What more can you do, and what can we do in Congress to support the State Department'’s efforts to bring Danny home?
Secretary Blinken replied, "We share the deep concern for Daniel Fenster. ... We've not had access. ... That’s a violation, among other things, of the Vienna Convention. We are pressing this in every way that we can. We have very limited, if any, contact with the military regime but certainly through others we're pressing this as best we can, and we will continue to do so. ...
"So, all I can tell you and all we can commit to is doubling down on our efforts to do this. I wish I had a sort of silver bullet answer here, except to say, we are very focused on this, very engaged."
In its subscribers-only editorial, The News echoes Levin's urgency and outrage:
The Biden administration must send a strong and clear message that the detention of Fenster and other Americans will not be tolerated.
Fenster must be produced by Myanmar authorities immediately to verify that he has not been tortured, and the process of getting him back home must proceed without delay.
To help spread awareness, a professionally designed site at bringdannyhome.com offers $20 T-shirts with the illustration above and has a gallery of portraits contributed by artists across the country and two from Canada. Only a few know him personally.
The shirts are designed by Robbie Biederman, a 39-year-old Huntington Woods resident who is creative director at StockX, a Detroit e-commerce startup.
The gallery of illustrations is coordinated by New Yorker cartoonist Amy Kurzweil, a 34-year-old cousin of the captive who lives in California. She and several other New Yorker cartoonists -- including Jason Adam Katzenstein and Sofia Warren -- have sketches in the array.
It includes contributions from California, Connecticut, Texas and Illinois. Here are 11 more: