Rufina Amaya – Presente!: Rufina Amaya was the sole survivor of the 1981 El Mozote massacre. She helplessly watched as Salvadoran soldiers, trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas, killed her young children, beheaded her husband, and massacred her entire community. Though she wanted to die herself after witnessing so much horror, she instead plead with God to let her live so that the truth of what happened would not be buried in the mass graves entombing her loved ones. Rufina died of a stroke on March 6, 2007 at the age of 64. Her fearless voice rose above the brutality of the U.S.-sponsored war in her country. Her amazing courage and commitment to working for truth, justice and an end to impunity continued till her final days. Her story of survival and determination will continue to inspire people the world over.
Occupation Project – Part 2: Hundreds of people of faith and conscience across the U.S. peaceably occupied 39 congressional offices between February 5 and April 17, 2007 in a campaign of sustained nonviolent civil disobedience to end funding for the Iraq war. Those actions resulted in 321 arrests. Of those who voted in favor of supplemental war funding in 2006, 14 legislators changed their votes and opposed the $120 billion spending bill passed May 24. The Occupation Project, initiated by Voices for Creative Nonviolence, begins part 2 of the campaign this summer as the U.S. Congress considers President Bush’s request for an additional $145 billion for the war in fiscal year 2008 (10/1/07-9/30/08) beyond the $482 billion baseline military budget proposed for FY 2008 – a 62% increase over the military budget in 2001. For more information see www.vcnv.org
Colombian Churches Call for Peace: More than 100 U.S. and Canadian churches responded to a call issued by over 50 congregations and organizations in Colombia designating May 20-21 as Days of Prayer and Action for peace in the nation devastated by a 40-year internal war which claims an average of 3,000 lives a year. Since 2000 the U.S. has provided nearly $5 billion in mostly military aid to the Colombian government. Church leaders in Colombia call this “fuel for the fire” of Colombia’s protracted armed conflict. While Canada’s foreign policy towards Colombia has been relatively passive, it lacks federal legislation regulating Canadian multinational firms operating in the resource extraction industry which has been notorious for employing questionable techniques in land acquisition, including the use of paramilitary forces in displacing communities.
Taking on the Torturers: This year’s War Resisters League Peace Award goes to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) for their leading roles in defense of human rights. Join a gala event celebrating the crucial work of two groups that have gone toe-to-toe with those who believe in fighting terror with terror; Friday, September 28, 2007; New York, NY. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.