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Home About Us Prisoners of Conscience Court Statements Marilyn White
Marilyn White PDF Print E-mail
On November 17, 2002, I became one link in a long chain of witnesses calling
for significant reform of U.S. policy in Latin America. My actions that day
were partly motivated by an urgent letter I received earlier in the year from
Alice Winters, a Presbyterian mission co-worker in Colombia.
The letter contained disturbing news of new attacks by the military forces
of Colombia on rural areas, bringing the war back to a region of the country
that had previously been demilitarized. She included a ?call to action? from a
Colombian ecumenical group, addressed to us as ?friends, brothers and sisters
in Christ.? I found two of the requests in this call for action particularly
compelling:
One of them was to ?pressure your government to express respect for life.?
The other was to ?raise up prayers, organize marches, DO WHATEVER MAY BE
NECESSARY to avoid a war which as usual will end up taking its toll most of all
among the poor.?
Last November as I approached the gate at Fort Benning to remember the
victims, mourn the dead, and pray for peace, the question on my heart was this
one of what was necessary to end the series of U.S. proxy wars in South and
Central America ? wars that continued year after year in country after country:
Guatemala yesterday, Colombia today, Venezuela tomorrow. On November 17 I
understood that for me the next necessary step was to take that prayer for
peace onto the base itself ? a place which I saw as both the symbol and the
reality of my own complicity in these wars. As I took that step across the
line, I was deeply afraid of this court and its judgment. But in that moment,
my grief and my shame were stronger than my fear.
I conclude with a word about the military police and other personnel at
Fort Benning. Throughout my arrest and processing there I was treated with
courtesy and respect and I was offered many small kindnesses. In these
dangerous times, those soldiers are in my prayers, that they may neither come
to nor cause any harm.

 

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