For nearly 25 years, thousands of human rights activists have gathered every November for a vigil at the main gate of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the US Army School of the Americas — SOA — located at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia.
It’s hard to stay optimistic right now. With civilians under attack in Gaza, innocents being shot out of the sky in Ukraine, people threatened with water shut-offs in Detroit and being denied their basic humanity at U.S. borders — there is much reason to despair.
how long will
this people be wrathful,
this nation that feasts
on the tears of its own trauma
so that it might strike out
again and again
against enemies real and imagined?
this nation repeatedly plucked
from its vine until
it cleared and filled the land,
planting its weapons deep
lifting up higher and higher walls,
spreading dread like an iron dome,
Kabul— On July 10, 2014, in New York State, Judge David Gideon sentenced Mary Anne Grady Flores to a year in prison and fined her $1,000 for photographing a peaceful demonstration at the U.S. Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field (near Syracuse) where weaponized Reaper drones are remotely piloted in lethal flights over Afghanistan.
Today, from sunrise to sunset, almost all Muslims and a newly larger number of Jews are fasting — this year, sharing the Muslim fast of Ramadan and the Jewish 17th day of Tammuz as a Fast for Peace, a one-day Hunger Strike Against Violence, a call for cease-fire in the rain of bombs and rockets on the Gaza region of Palestine and on Israel.
We mourn the dramatically escalating violence in Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank, and the resistance of political extemists to international calls for a ceasefire. More than 170 Palestinians have died in Gaza in the past week alone, and Israelis are hiding in air-raid shelters throughout the south.