AUDIO FILE: We Are In The Sacred Here
On Monday evening, Rev. Roy Bourgeois, a Catholic priest and founder of the School of the Americas Watch, spoke to a crowded auditorium at Portland University.
School of the Americas is a training school for Latin American soldiers, many of whom have gone on to commit human rights abuses in their respective countries, for dictators like Samosa in Nicaragua, and Pinochet in Chile. The school first began in 1946 and was located in Panama, and was eventually expelled by Manuel Noriega. Rev. Bourgeois founded SOA Watch in 1990, and it's yearly demonstration has grown from the initial gathering of about 15 people to 10,000 in November of 2002
After briefy referring to his recent trip to Iraq in Decemberr of 2002, Rev. Roy began his presentation with a brief history of his life. He became well acquainted with violence in Viet Nam, where he began to see violence as a dead end street. Slowly he was called to give his life over to a different path, being ordained and going to Bolivia for 5 years, where, as he says, "the poor became his teachers."
Bolivia at that time was a ruthless dictatorship, ruled by the wealthy class and exploited by a few large corporations for their abundant natural resources and cheap labor. Those who stood up, religious and labor leaders, most prominently, were murdered. A pattern that was later to emerge in other Latin American countries, El Salvador, Guatamala, Nicaraqua, Colombia. He was soon arrested and expelled for his humanitarian work.
His story is one of compassion for humanity, love of life, and a determination to, no matter what, always find joy in this gift of Life. He goes on to give an inspiring description of how he learned about the School of the Americas, how he formed SOA Watch, and how it grew to it's present size and influence. He, like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., is committed to total non violence, saying that there is not other way, "there is no other option."
Then he turned his attention to his visit to Iraq last December. Here he found many differences in culture, but two similarities: in both Latin America and Iraq, the people always ask why we are doing this to them; and, the abundance of natural resources-oil in Colombia and Iraq, coffee, copper and tin in Latin America.
He concludes stating that the world needs our voices, our energy, as peacemakers, and quotes Archbishop Oscar Romero, assasinated in El Salvador, "let those who have a voice speak for the voiceless, for the victems of violence."
Portland Oregon contacts for this group are:
Celine Fitzmaurice at 503-285-5165and Ann Huntwork at 503-281-4970
File is about 30 minutes long.
The link provided takes you to a page where this and other audio files are located.
add a comment on this article