The Crescent Report

December 5, 2007

Teaching in At School of the Americas

Filed under: American-Politics — Tags: , — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 6:45 pm

In 1990, Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois convened a handful of mostly Catholic veterans for a fast at the gates of Fort Benning on the first anniversary of the murders of six Jesuit priests and two others at the University of Central America in El Salvador.

Some of the soldiers implicated in those killings were graduates of the U.S. Army School of the Americas, a Fort Benning training school for Latin American soldiers now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

Seventeen years later on Nov. 18, Bourgeois stood on a stage and addressed an estimated 25,000 people packed into a street at the entrance to the fort for what has become the emotion-packed ending to three days of teach-ins, leafleting and protest. What began as a gathering to challenge U.S. Latin American policy has grown into arguably the largest ongoing antiwar protest in the United States. While the Sunday afternoon mock funeral procession and rally — including tearful mourners, large puppets, lots of music and a drumming circle — remains the iconographic center of the event, the weekend has evolved into a gathering spot and extended teach-in for thousands of young people whose concerns range over a host of social justice issues.

The event is largely Jesuit-driven, with busloads of students arriving from all 28 Jesuit colleges and universities around

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