Witness For Peace retreat
3-5 April 2009
All photos credit: Jaclyn
Captions: Rich Gardner
Location: Bear Creek Camp, PA
Bear Creek Camp is set pretty deeply in the woods, about four miles off
the road, I'd guess. It certainly helped get me in the mood for a
rustic experience when I arrived late on Friday night and we were
running on just emergency power. Turned out that the problem was spread
over a pretty large chunk of the town, so electricity was restored a
few hours after I got there. Witness
For Peace was founded in the early 1980s, when a group of Americans
visiting El Salvador decided that it would be a good idea for some
Americans to have an up-close and personal idea of what the wars down
in Central America actually meant in real-life, human terms.
A few folks gathered in the central room late at night. The fellow is
our group leader, Ben Beachy.
As a member of a peace group (PRAWN),
my major takeaway from the teachings and lectures and conversations of
the weekend was that if we want to expand beyond being a more-or-less
all-white group, it would help us to adopt issues like NAFTA and "Free Trade" (As
opposed to "Fair Trade") and immigration. There are other issues that
WFP works on, but those two are issues that PRAWN already has concerns
about. WFP also advocates closing
the School of the Americas and ending
the Cuba travel ban. Latin America is hobbled by decades of debt, which
WFP is determined to end.
Reversing course in Colombia is also a priority. US aid towards
Colombia is far too
heavily weighted towards their military and no nearly enough
towards other needs.
Fireplace in central room with kitchen in background.
In the women's bunk room, just before they all turned in. A minority of
us slept at home and/or arrived Saturday morning.
Nice big, spacious meeting room. We filled it up pretty good. The
speaker is Patty Kupfer from America's Voice.
Mark, a member of Foreign Policy
in Focus, talking about his latest book "How to Rule the
World" and his experiences reporting about and from Latin America.
Our final speaker, Tom, insisted we all pull in really, really
close. He rallied us to the idea that we weren't just there to have a
good time (We of course all had a great time), but to go back and to be
active in our communities and to get our friends and neighbors to pitch
More photos from Ray Torres