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Home About Us Prisoners of Conscience Court Statements Ann Huntwork
Ann Huntwork PDF Print E-mail
Please Note: After consulting with Bill Quigley, I brought two items into the court room as "aids for testimony". These were a brown faced doll wrapped in a burial shroud (a symbol of my motivation) and a large mounted photo of the banner from the SOAWatch Portland group.


Good afternoon, your honor - there are two brief quotations I would like to read that I believe set the tone for what I wish to state today.

?To believe in God is not just to love life but to work so that there is life.?
Jon Sobrino, SJ
?The care of life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government?.
Thomas Jefferson

(I introduced the shrouded doll and placed her on the front of the witness stand)

Two little girls and a young boy have been a major impetus for my presence here today. Ilam was two years old when she died in our refugee hospital, having fled Iraq with her family when US bombs fell in 1991. For three months we supported her struggle to live -unsuccessfully.
Juana was only one when she was hung and burned in a northern Guatemala village ? her killer a soldier commanded by graduates of the School of the Americas. (I described the several month struggle to seek that of God I believe is in every human person, to move from rage to a place of compassion for that soldier.)
The ten year old boy was the victim of a US cluster bomb near Herat in western Afghanistan. His mother wept over his eviscerated body. In my heart that mother has become my sister and each day I think of her and pray for her.
I am co-parent of six children, with two grandchildren. As we raised these young people, our word to them was first of all to be persons of truth and kindness; and to stand up for what they know to be right and just. Well, one can?t say that to children if one is not also willing to pursue that kind of life, however stumblingly. It is my prayer as a parent and as a person of faith that I will live my life, trying daily to be faithful in the way the prophet Micah so well describes - to do justice, love kindness and to walk humbly with God.
I am indebted to Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer whose life in Central America, and the passion and research that flowed from his direct experience, have produced clear documentation of the broader foreign policy under which the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation operates. He quotes foreign policy expert George Kennan, who soon after World War II articulated the view on which our foreign policy continues to be based. Hear this incredibly sad and outrageous statement!! "We have about 50% of the world?s wealth, but only 6.3% of its populations ? in this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity?We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction ? We should cease to talk about vague and ? unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards and democratization?.We are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better?.
This sounds terrifyingly familiar right now.
My own overseas experience, especially in the Philippines and Iran, has made very clear to me how formative this policy is in US relationships with ?client states?, or so called allies, in different regions of the world. Latin American military support and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (School of the Americas) are clearly consistent with this stance of national self interest.
There is a young Indigenous Guatemalan in Portland who painted a banner for us to bring to Columbus. The banner is a portrait of his experience ? an indigenous village being burned, side by side with a woman and two young children. (I placed the large photo on the witness stand.) To listen to his story was heartbreaking. To hear the stories of the people of his village answered any questions I might have raised about the rightness of standing in this place, in solidarity with those whose voices have been silenced. To those who say we hear only the view presented by the formal organization School of the Americas Watch, I offer this banner as evidence. It represents the voices that call me and those who stand before you to speak their truth, and we speak in a spirit of gratitude for their lives and witness.
Why not guilty? (I refer to the classic example of calling "fire" in a crowded theatre) -- I must cry out - in the theatre of our world - fire rains down on the peoples of Ilam, Juana, Mohamed; I cannot remain silent!
Ann Huntwork -- Portland, Oregon


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