Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CDH Students Cry out for the Salvadoran People at SOA Protest

This past weekend, Cretin Derham Hall (CDH) Spanish teacher Ariana Lowther brought a group of students down to the gates of Fort Benning in Georgia to bear witness to all those killed at the hands of School of the Americas (SOA) graduates. 

Photo courtesy of Ariana Lowther
Sunday morning at the vigil, participants carry crosses with the names of those who have been killed by graduates of the SOA. While everyone solemnly processes past the base, leaving crosses, pictures, and peace cranes, they sing out the names and lift their crosses, crying,"Presente," you are here present with us. Above is a picture of senior Akoni García and Ariana with their crosses. Ariana said, "We felt honored to be there and cry out for all the people of El Salvador." Both Akoni and Ariana participated in CDH SHARE delegations this summer, in July and August respectively. Akoni has graciously shared a poem he wrote about his experience at the SOA protest, which you can read below.

The SOA is a U.S. military training school for Latin American military personnel, located on the Ft. Bennining military base. Many graduates have been involved in military dictatorships and the torture, assasination, and disappearance of people in their own countries. In El Salvador, many of those responsible for the worst human rights violations, including the assasination of Monseñor Romero, the six Jesuit priests, and the El Mozote massacre, were trained at the SOA. Since 1990, the SOA Watch has organized an annual vigil and protest of the school outside the gates of Ft. Benning. The vigil is held in November, on or around the anniversary of the assasination of the 6 Jesuit priests in El Salvador November 16th, 1989. 

And Then There Were None

They were given guns, When they were kids, not permitted to have fun.
Poor and willing to do anything, some forced, some confused.
We trained them, our foreign policy made them.
Murderers, Rapists, and Drug Lords.
They murder their own, humans.

We were Given Sun, we were allowed to run and gather, to bask in the sun.
We yearn for the day the SOA will close.
But we must pose a question. Which was the best one?
Training to the poor, to kill
So that we can lay on our buns
We can escape our problems.

The Banners were made and hung.
The cross carried and stung - into the military (fence)
The marchers chant and hope for and pray for the day. When the SOA will close.
(c) Akoni Garcia 2010

If you have participated in a SHARE delegation and have a poem, reflection, or picture you would like to share, please send it to 

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