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Home About Us Prisoners of Conscience Court Statements Carey L. Martin
Carey L. Martin PDF Print E-mail
My first clear memory is of my father beating my siblings and my mother. I was three. He forced me to watch. I came into the world feeling helpless and enraged. I know the fear of volatile situations. I know the fear of impending doom and possible death. I know the pain of torture. My mother literally risked everything, even her life, to wrestle us from the grips of violence and offer a life of peace, of dignity. After witnessing her unyielding courage, I made the decision to never stand idly by while people are being tortured.
When I was twenty-one, my best friend found out about the SOA and shared her research with me. The story that made the most impact on me was the massacre at El Mozote. I related to Rufina's decision in the maguey bush. She faced a pivotal point: either go to her children and be murdered with them, or endure the agony of listening to their screams fade into mortal silence. She chose to live a lonely and grief-stricken life because she knew that otherwise nothing would change. No one would be there to advocate for the villagers further down the black road, stained red by the Atlacatl battalion. Her struggle resonates with me, although hers is obviously far far more tragic. But she too was forced to watch and then rose up to be their witness.
Lt. Colonel Monterrosa, who later lead the Atlacatl battalion, "took courses from the Americans in Panama" (pages 23-24, The Massacre at El Mozote by Mark Danner). This is the same battalion whose actions we remember and grieve each November here in Columbus. They were responsible for murdering six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in November of 1989. It would take too much of the court's time to mention the rest of their dirty laundry list of massacres.
Colonel Downie thinks we should leave all this in the past and move forward with the clean slate of WHINSEC. This is one of the major flaws inherent in US foreign policy. When mistakes are brought to our attention, or uncovered rather, we sweep them under the rug so as not to slow down our ever-growing snowball of world domination. It was that move on mentality that left Afghanistan in shambles after they were no longer of use to us in the Cold War. And it is because we did not fulfill our promise to them that an entity so evil as the Taliban was able to achieve power. And we wonder why there are people who hate us. Try telling Rufina that she should put it behind her. It's in the past; forget about it; move on. It isn't right, your honor. These instructors, the authors of the manuals released by the Freedom of Information Act, the people who brought this school here in the first place and those who kept it open must take responsibility for what they have done. And this responsibility has to be assessed by an independent investigation.
Your honor, I consider myself to be a leader. And as a leader I cannot ask anyone to do something I would not be willing to do myself. I plead guilty. I hold myself accountable for my actions, and I will suffer the repercussions as they come. I challenge the instructors from the SOA to do the same. I realize that it has officially been shut down. I feel that we have sufficient evidence to prove that WHINSEC is essentially the same school as was the SOA. However, that is not my purpose here today. If we were to assume that WHINSEC's pr is true, that it is an entirely different institution with at least a tertiary focus on human rights, my participation in the protest is still valid as are my reasons for crossing the line. I hold myself up as a mirror and I challenge the SOA to step in front of me...to see the courage in my character to admit guilt and accept the consequences, and then reflect that in itself.
I know you are tired of listening to us three years in a row. I try to understand your frustration. I ask that you try to understand ours. At twenty-four I am still enraged, but I am no longer helpless. I am fully aware that I don't have all the answers, but I'm trying. All of us have either worked in or study Latin American countries. We've heard personal accounts of the rapes, murders and "disappearances." We cannot stand idly by and watch our friends' torture go unpunished, and worse, continue.
You know, I listen to people call themselves patriots who slap a sticker flag on the back of their SUV while complaining about our dependence on the Middle East. And I can't help but think, "fifty-two percent of Americans don't even do the simplest patriotic thing available to us, which is vote." I'm sure that in your eyes our actions seem bizarre and radical, maybe even irrational. But trust that this is in conjunction with several other tactics to provide people with the information we've uncovered. We write Congress, we meet with our Senators and Representatives face to face, we research, we study, we hold lectures, we do media outreach, etc. This decision I made to break the law did not come lightly. I believe in this country, despite the fact that it fails me again and again. I am committed to making America what it promises to be- what I know it can be. If you want to meet a true patriot, a person willing to offer something so important as freedom to make this country better...hi, my name is Carey Lynnette Martin.

 

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