I really appreciated the presentation by Father Roy Bourgeois last night at an event co-sponsored by the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) and Veterans for Peace (http://www.icpj.net/2014/resisting-militarizaiton-fr-roy-bourgeois-speaks-out-against-the-soa/). He emphasized solidarity, conscience and equality as he shared his life story, his work against the SOA/WHINSEC, and why he was dismissed as a Catholic priest because of his support for ordaining women.
In January 2011 I took Peace and Justice: Latin American Perspectives at Semilla, an Anabaptist Seminary in Guatemala City. Here is a description of the class from the syllabus and following are links I compiled throughout the experience.
This course is an approach to the Anabaptist-Mennonite understanding and practice of peace from a Latin American perspective.It explores the main conflicts, situations, and challenges of Central America.It examines the basic theological and spiritual convictions related to peace and justice that sustain the Church mission and testimony in these lands.It also provides an overview of how the Anabaptists have spent trying to follow Jesus Christ and to preach and live his message of peace in the midst of the challenging situations and struggles of this context.This course is offered at the Latin American Anabaptist Seminary (SEMILLA) in Guatemala.
El Norte — “Two indigenous youths…flee Guatemala in the early 1980s due to ethnic and political persecution. They head north and travel through Mexico to the United States, arriving in Los Angeles, California, after an arduous journey.” Trailer
o“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”
o“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
The Elders have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights. We have recently published a statement that declares: “The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.”
We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.
>For Memorial Day 2008, we went shopping. We wandered up and down the dusty paths at the local flea market looking at antique bottles and bookcases, homemade knick-knacks, and Amish rugs. We neither bought nor sold.
Then we came home and finished watching a documentary about Howard Zinn, You Can’t Be Neutral on Moving Train. Interviews with Zinn are interlaced with archival footage, commentary from his colleagues, and readings from his various books by Matt Damon. While documentaries like The U.S. vs. John Lennon and Why We Fight are more engaging (entertaining? up tempo?), this one is still enlightening and well worth watching.
The dialogue and readings are full of excellent quotes, and I’ll finish this post with the one Matt reads as the film comes to and end:
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
“And if we do act in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents. And to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
>I recently heard that Tony Gilmore was working on a new documentary about adoption in South Korea. That news motivated me to highlight both of his works.
Behind Forgotten Eyes “presents the stories of a few brave women who came forward and broke the silence protecting a past that some want to stay buried. What are these stories that were hidden for so long? Whilst Korea groaned under the harsh colonial rule of Imperial Japan, the Japanese military coerced, tricked, and forced the women of Korea into a brutal and systematic form of sexual slavery on an unimaginable scale” (IMDB).
I saw an early version of this film in a private screening in Seoul. It was powerful, haunting. I haven’t seen the final cut, but I’ll still say it is worth your time. The narration is done by Yunjin Kim of the TV series Lost.
Resilience explores the topic of adoption in Korea.
“South Korea has sent more of its own children away for adoption than any other country, nearly 200,000 children abroad–and continues to send them despite the fact that it is no longer a poor, developing country. What are the reasons these children have been relinquished? Resilience tells the deeply moving stories of the mothers whose children were sent away. For the first time, a few brave women break their silence to tell their stories of profound loss and broken family ties–and of the painful decision that has impacted the rest of their lives” (IMDB).
For our last Social Consciousness Movie Night with the Front Range Family, we watched Water. Full of beautiful cinematography, this film highlights the plight of Hindu widows in India. This harsh treatment is more than a mere historical setting; it is bitter reality even today (Shunned from Society, CNN.com).
Though not a Hollywood ending, I was glad the film concluded with a smidgen of more hope than Osama. I’m sensitive, you know.