|SOA Watch Statement on September 11 & Call To Action|
Since the tragic events of September 11, we at SOA Watch have struggled with our sorrow, as well as with our response to these senseless acts. We unite with people everywhere in mourning the devastating loss of life. We extend our deepest sympathies to those who have lost friends and family members.
SOA Watch, an organization fully committed to nonviolence, condemns these deplorable acts, and all acts of terror. The recognition that some of the alleged perpetrators of these crimes were recipients of military training by US forces or with U.S. aid grieves us deeply. This type of military training is embodied by the SOA.
During this time, we are mindful of our sisters and brothers in Latin America. We have seen the economic policies of the U.S.- backed World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank force people into abject poverty and an inescapable cycle of oppression. These policies are largely enforced by the 60,000 Latin American soldiers trained at the SOA, many of whom have received extensive training in civilian-targeted warfare.
This genocidal warfare has left a trail of blood and suffering across Latin America including the death or disappearance of 200,000 people in Guatemala, the displacement of 2,000,000 in Colombia, and thousands of survivors tormented daily by the lingering effects of the torture they were subjected to.
We call on the United States government to break the cycle of violence. We call on the people of the United States to expose our government’s role in perpetuating the violence and to hold the government accountable.
As George W. Bush calls for an all-out war against "Terrorism," we wonder why he hasn’t closed the SOA, where millions of taxpayer dollars are being used to fund a training school for terrorists in our own backyard.
It is now more important than ever to put a stop to the military training at the SOA. We are determined to live out our vision of peace with justice, and to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America as well as all victims of violence and civilian-targeted warfare. We are called to be a voice for the voiceless.
Therefore, it is with reverence and solemnity that we continue with our plans to hold our annual event at the gates of Ft. Benning this November. We call for a unified nonviolent presence that exerts our civil liberties, while remembering those whose liberties have been taken away.
As in previous years, we will hold vigils on both Saturday and Sunday. Nonviolence training will be available throughout the weekend. In addition to this presence, we call for a reverent funeral procession to the SOA. While aware of the opposition we may meet and the greater risks this year’s action may entail, we remain steadfast.
We envision a gathering that will stand as a beacon amidst the violence. We invite our sister organizations and nonviolent affinity groups to join us in this unified presence.
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