Voices 12/09/08

Executive Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Contributing Producer: Carolyn Coe

Thousands of protesters converged at Fort Benning, Georgia last month to demand the closure of a US Military run school that is notorious for the atrocities committed by many of it’s graduates– particularly in Latin America.  The school has long been known as SOA.   That used to stand for “School of the Americas”, but critics call it the “School of the Assassins”  The official name has recently been changed to “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation”, but the mission of the school remains and calls for it to be closed are louder than ever.

For 18 years an ever-growing number of people have attended an annual vigil held at the gates of Ft. Benning.  Led by Father Roy Bourgeois, the vigil is part funeral procession and part civil disobedience.  Thousands of people march with small wooden crosses bearing the names and photographs of the dead and disappeared.  As they march,  the list of names is read and “Presente” sung in honor and remembrance— a list so long it takes several hours to complete.  Each year several people also engage in acts of civil disobedience, by crossing the line onto Ft. Benning property in protest.

WERU volunteer Carolyn Coe attended this November’s vigil in Fort Benning, and brings us this report. FMI: www.soaw.org