Thomas P. Healy
FRANKFORT - On the first springlike day of the season, it's hard to imagine a group of environmentalists spending the day indoors, listening to speakers and watching PowerPoint presentations. But the 130 attendees of "Fatal Harvest: What Is Happening to Our Health? were enthralled and challenged by the program.
Biologist Wes Jackson has been at the forefront of the movement to revise industrial agricultural practices into more sustainable methods. He and other like-minded scientists founded the Land Institute in 1976 to create a perennial agricultural model based on the American prairie. Jackson is author of New Roots For Agriculture, co-editor of Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place with William Vitek, and was named by Life magazine as among the 100 "important Americans of the 20th century." He spoke with The Bloomington Alternative from his Salina, Kan., office.
Since its inception in 1990, the School of the Americas Watch has heightened public awareness of the U.S. Army's training school at Fort Benning, Ga., where Latin American soldiers have learned combat, counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics techniques since 1946. SOA Watch's diligent monitoring efforts may have prompted the school's name change in 2001 to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation - a fairly benign name for an institution that SOA Watch co-founder Roy Bourgeois claims teaches torture.
Father Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest, spoke with The Bloomington Alternative from his apartment just outside the gates of the "School of the Assassins."
The following is an update on last week's anti-war demonstrations across Indiana.
Indianapolis residents weren't alone in braving the inclement weather to rally for Peace. Following are reports from other cities around the Hoosier State:
BLOOMINGTON: Mike Gasser, a member of IU's Progressive Faculty Coalition, one of the organizers said, "There were at least 500 people (as counted by several of us and reported in Monday's Herald-Times), making it apparently the largest demonstration in Bloomington since at least the Gulf War, and about four times the size of the most recent demonstration in December."
INDIANAPOLIS - Undeterred by a winter storm that battered the state with several inches of snow and brutally cold winds, Hoosier peacemakers gathered Saturday in Indianapolis, Bloomington, Muncie, Lafayette, Fort Wayne and South Bend as part of a worldwide show of support for diplomacy in dealing with Iraq.
The weather may have kept the numbers down, but the enthusiasm, passion and creativity of participants was irrepressible. Signs read: "Preemptive War is Terrorism!"; "Those who Question the Right to Question are anti-American" and "How Many Lives to the Gallon?"
INDIANAPOLIS - Braving below-freezing temperatures, a courageous, diverse crowd of 800 citizen peacemakers gathered Saturday, Jan. 18, on Monument Circle to promote peace, diplomacy and justice.
The local action supported a nationwide series of events organized for this weekend to honor the legacy of slain civil rights leader and antiwar activist Martin Luther King Jr. and to demonstrate proof of widespread opposition to war against Iraq.
"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
Article 5, UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
As part of worldwide International Human Rights Day activities, a coalition of south central Indiana peace & justice groups will stage a March and Rally to Stop the War Against Iraq, at 5 p.m. Tuesday, December 10. Beginning at Dunn Meadow, the march to the courthouse culuminates there with an hourlong rally beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Three Hoosier colleges with a long-standing tradition of peace studies: Earlham, Goshen & Manchester (known collectively as the Plowshares Group) have received a four-year $13.8 million Lilly Endowment grant to establish a Peace House in Indianapolis.
At a recent meeting in Indianapolis hosted by the Indianapolis Peace & Justice Center and the Peace Learning Center, nearly 75 activists, educators, and supporters attended a two-hour long discussion of the Peace House initiative.
WEST LAFAYETTE - "Ladies and gentlemen, September 11, 2001, did not change the world."
With these words, award-winning British journalist Robert Fisk began his two-hour lecture to an overflow crowd in excess of 500 at Purdue University last Wednesday. Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the Independent in London, pulled no punches in his talk entitled, "September 11th: Ask Who Did It, But for Heaven's Sake Don't Ask Why."
Timothy Baer surveyed the cluttered meeting space at the Wesley Foundation Building in West Lafayette. "We're all called to do this," he said, watching several clusters of people engaged in animated discussions and eyeing the information tables covered with posters, leaflets, fliers, books and alternative periodicals. "That's why it's exciting to meet people from around the state."
The "call" was to volunteer peace activism. The event was a gathering of 35 peace and justice activists from across Indiana who answered the invitation of the Lafayette Area Peace Coalition to meet October 19 to network, share experiences and establish the Indiana Peace and Justice Network.