Dec 26, 2009

accompaniers do a public witness in London

CPT accompanies a small community in Colombia called Las Pavas. (I recently posted a video a CPTer took of a resident of Las Pavas singing about their displacement) These 123 families have been illegally forced out of their homes and away from their lands by Daabon Organics, a palm oil company that, what do you know, is a major supplier of palm oil for the Body Shop. CPT is pressuring the Body Shop to pressure Daabon to give these folks their land back, since obviously this does not meet the Body Shop's goals or image. The above video is of an action they did at Body Shops in London during a CPT training. It's interesting that they label this a "public witness" (as opposed to the witnessing they are doing IN Las Pavas - not sure what they would call that). The Body Shop is saying that they are working on getting a third party assessment of what is happening in Las Pavas. Apparently they don't consider the documentation that CPT has given them to be "third party", which is frustrating. It raises the question, how can accompaniers both work with communities, but be seen as enough of an outsider for their witnessing to have greater weight?

Interestingly, rather than asking folks to write letters to the Body Shop CPT is asking folks to do actions similar to this one at your local Body Shop store. They have posted fliers you can use and more background info on Las Pavas here. Maybe even just doing three actions like this is more effective than the 100 emails they might generate?

Dec 13, 2009

solidarity in Uruguay

Thanks to AnalĂ­a for the link to this video, for the campaign to annul the impunity law in Uruguay. Sadly they recently lost by 48%. So close! There is some hope now that the courts might act. Here's hoping. I am so inspired, yet again, by the strength and solidarity of hij@s shown in this video.

Dec 2, 2009

speaking truth to power

I've posted here before about Martha Giraldo and her family's very brave struggle to tell the truth about how the Colombian army killed her father, a campesino, and dressed him up to look like a "combat kill" (a so called false positive, a fake guerilla killed in combat death). As my previous posts recount, they have used video to tell their story in a powerful way that is an inspiring example for others to follow.

It was an honor for me to interpret for Martha at the Witness for Peace Colombia teach-in that happens the day before the vigil to close the School of the Americas, and to walk with her holding a banner with her father's name and photo during the funeral march held on the second day of the vigil. Martha has incredible energy and courage and is not only regularly going to court for the case against her father's killers (even after her uncle was shot in the head on the way to court), but after work organizes with other families that have faced similar losses. She brought photos of others who have been killed, like her father, and asked friends to hold them up around her as she spoke on stage (see video) in front of the main gates of Fort Benning, as we shut down the entrance to the School of the Americas.

Martha continues to be under serious death threats. Please hold her in your heart, your prayers, send her strength, however you think of these things. May we all hold each other in this struggle for justice for us all.

You can also more prosaically take a minute to send this quick click letter for her protection. Thanks.