On the Plaza
Monday, May 26, 2008
Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial Installation
Series of 93 banners (900 feet) with the names, faces and
brief military biographies of those killed in these wars.
“Eyes Wide Open”
boots representing the New Mexico fallen and a collection of civilian
shoes symbolizing the many deaths of Iraqis. A project of the American
Friends Service Committee
2:00 Spiritual Perspectives with Interfaith Speakers at the Plaza Gazebo
Speakers from various faith communities with
brief reminders of the relevance of the day.
3:00 Solemn Procession from the Plaza
to the National Cemetery
To pay respects to the fallen
7:30 “Body of War”
Documentary of the human face of war. CCA, Old Pecos Trail
Sponsored by Veterans for Peace
Joan Duffy Chapter, Santa Fe, NM
To be shown at the James A. Little Theatre on September 16, 2006 at 7:00pm. One of the Iraq War Vets featured in the film will be on hand to discuss the film. In the words of the producer/director, "This film is not about the right or the left, or about blue or red states. It is about the hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers who have beenreleased by the military after serving in Iraq - and the truth they hope toshare with their fellow citizens.
"I produced and directed THE GROUND TRUTH because I felt it was time to stophiding behind the politics. No one was writing or talking about thousands of invisible injured soldiers, for the most part young men returning to youngwives who must now be their caregivers."
|We are currently inviting ideas for subsequent public events. Please feel free to make your recommendations on the form below.
Our recent public events have included the following (in reverse chronological order):
The Los Alamos Study Group, Veterans for Peace, and more than 130 endorsing organizations participated in "Hiroshima 60 Years" It started here - let's stop it here. Events ran from 8:00am to 9:00pm. Details can be found at www.lasg.org.
VFP co-sponsored and provided a speaker and information table at the first Jazz for Peace Concert in Madrid, NM.
On July 10 at 7pm, Temple Beth Shalom of Santa Fe hosted a special event -- co-sponsored by Veterans for Peace with more than 20 other peace, justice, and interfaith groups -- in which Palestinian & Israeli representatives of Parents Circle-Families Forum, a group of more than 500 Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost family in the Middle East violence, told their very moving, personal stories. This impressive & growing organization of bereaved families/ peace & reconciliation advocates holds professionally led workshops, offers outreach to families and schools & has created a heavily used hotline, Hello Shalom-Hello Salaam.
Also participating in the event were 14 Israeli and Palestinian teen-aged girls from the Creativity for Peace Camp in Glorieta. Icing on the cake was the singing of famed opera star, Dawn Upshaw.
All proceeds are going to support the work of Parents Circle.
Claude Anshin Thomas at El Museo Cultural
Author of At Hells Gate: A Soldiers Journey from War to Peace
Claude Anshin Thomas volunteered for active duty at the age of 18, when he served as a crew chief on assault helicopters in Vietnam. By the end of his tour of duty, he had been awarded numerous medals, including 27 Air Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Purple Heart. He witnessed horrifying cruelty, narrowly escaped death on multiple occasions, and was responsible for the deaths of many Vietnamese.
When Thomas returned home he found, like many Vietnam veterans, that he continued to live in a state of war. For years, Thomas struggled with severe post-traumatic stress, drug and alcohol addiction, isolation, and even homelessness.
Today, Thomas is a Zen monk, an international peace activist, an author and a teacher in the United States, Europe and Asia. He shares his inspiring spiritual odyssey from the horrors of combat to discovering the Buddhist path to healing. Thomas powerful story can serve as a road map for others who might feel trapped in cyclical patterns of response that are a fact of the trauma experience, regardless of the nature and extent of the trauma.
"Songs of Peace and Justice" -- Charlie King and Karen Brandow at the James A. Little Theatre. Two hours of superb political satire and commentary through the medium of folk music.
"Three Part Memorial for the Fallen"
1) In spite of threatening -- and eventually challenging -- weather,
approximately 100 hardy souls gathered on the plaza for what turned out to
be a quietly moving and beautiful ceremony, with oud and drum music
interspersed with prayers and meditations from Jewish, Islamic, Protestant,
and Catholic traditions, capped by an inspiring address from civil rights
lawyer, peace negotiator, author and playwright Craig Barnes.
2) Nearly all those in attendance walked the mile-and-a-half to the
National Cemetery through wind-driven freezing rain -- and, at times, hail.
3) At the cemetery we were met by VA police who informed us that the
Cemetery Director, Roseann Santore, ordered them to permit only persons who
were going the visit the graves of family members. At the same time, cars
were driving in without being stopped to ask if the occupants were going to
see family members. To make a long story short (the longer story will be
reported tomorrow) we were advised that anyone entering except those
visiting family members would be cited for trespassing on federal property.
About 20 of us entered and were cited.
"Palestine/Israel: Human Rights and Policy Perspectives" an evening of presentations and community dialogue.
This program featured presentations by four New Mexicans who have spent time in Palestine and Israel within the past year. Joe Mowrey is a local businessman who spent two weeks on a study tour with an international group. Kathy and Bill Christison are retired CIA analysts who have made two trips in the past two years to help rebuild homes in the occupied territories. Lori Rudolph a mental health worker in Albuquerque who just returned from four weeks researching the impact of political violence on women and children in the West Bank and Gaza, was to have been on the panel but had to cancel at the last minute to fly to the bedside of her dying mother. Dana Negev, and Israeli-American peace activist and poet filled in at the last minute to read a poem by a member of the IDF reflecting on a raid into the West Bank. The presentations will included videos and slides and was followed by a very lively "open mike" community dialogue.
The Santa Fe Chapter of Veterans for Peace, The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe co-sponsored a presentation at the Lensic Performing Arts Center by Charlie Clements and Jennifer Harbury. Charlie, a charter member of Veterans for Peace, is now the President of the UUSC. Jennifer is the newly appointed director of the UUSC's Stop Torture Permanently (STOP) program.
Charlie opened the event with a summary of the evolution of human rights law and doctrine since World War II. Jennifer, an American lawyer whose own husband was tortured and murdered in Guatemala in the early 1990s, then gave a remarkable account of the continuing history of U.S.-sanctioned torture and appealed to the audience to contact their representatives and senators to oppose H.R. 10 and S.R. 2845 which, if passed, would be the first time in the history of the United States that the flat prohibition against all forms of torture would be congressionally compromised. Such provisions would also place us in direct violation of numerous international laws. and treaties. For more information go to http://www.uusc.org/news/alert110504.html.
October 29 & 30
On the weekend preceding the traditional Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de Muerto), the Santa Fe Chapter of Veterans for Peace staged its most ambitious program yet: a Hispanic Double Header at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (October 30) and Santa Fe's El Museo Cultural (October 29).
The first speaker was Fernando Suarez del Solar, whose son, Jesus, was one of the first Marines to be killed in our invasion of Iraq. Fernando was followed by Nina Berman, who presented a video based on her book, "Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq." The third speaker was Robert Acosta, a hispanic wounded veteran featured in "Purple Hearts." As usual, we followed the talks with a panel for questions and answers and an open microphone period.
The event at El Museo Cultural was followed by the annual Dia de Muerto processional. We once again provided an altar for the event. Last year our Altar featured the memorial banners. This year we are following the Mesoamerican tradition of displaying skulls. For this event we constructed a skull rack 12' high and 4' wide with 45 skulls. We hope to continue the project until we have one skull for each American service person killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. At this point that would require an Aztec style skull rack 12 feet tall and 70 feet long! We are now inviting members of the community come to El Museo Cultural to help make the skulls.
As you can see, these events required a LOT of cooperation from a LOT of the members and friends of VFP Santa Fe. In fact, we received amazing cooperation and support from El Museo Cultural, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Photo Eye, the Museum of International Folk Art, Wise Fool, Danza Mexika, Hands on Community Art Warehouse 21, students and staff of the College of Santa Fe Art Department, and a collaboration of artists and community members.
August 13 - Welcoming home to Las Vegas NM the 720th Motor Transport Company from Iraq. The event took place in the stadium at New Mexico Highlands University. The Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial Banners stretched across the entire football field. Colonel Rougemont closed the ceremony by encouraging those in attendance to pay their respects to the fallen by visiting the banners.
August 6 - Peace Day on the Santa Fe Plaza. Santa Fe chapter members set up the Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial Banners (which can be downloaded from this site) and information table.
June 21, 2004 Teach-in at Albuquerques Technical Vocational Institute (TVI). Santa Fe chapter members set up the Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial Banners (which can be downloaded from this site) and information table, reaching many working class students and many Afghanistan and Iraq vets returning to school. They reported much dissatisfaction with the overall government response to their post-active-military needs. Many are unaware of exactly what VFP is and how we might even be on the same page, but they took away tons of flyers, buttons and cards.
May 31, 2004 - Displayed Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial Banners on the approach to the Santa Fe National Cemetery. That evening displayed Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial Banners on the Plaza in Taos, NM. That evening also showed the Emmy-Award winning documentary, "Yearbook: The Class of '65" to a full house at The Screen at the College of Santa Fe. The showing was followed by a multi-generational team of chapter members, including Director/Producer Steve Jimenez.
May 30, 2004 - Displayed Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial Banners on the approach to the Vietnam Memorial in Angel Fire, NM
April 18, 2004 - Crop Walk Santa Fe
A VFP Santa Fe contingent participated in the Crop Walk, raising money to fight hunger globally as well as in Santa Fe, demonstrating that Veterans for Peace is more than simply veterans against war. Three VFP flags flew over the marchers.
March 20, 2004 -- The World Still Says No to War
Veterans for Peace of Santa Fe sponsored the Plaza events for the global day of protest. The events of the day started at the state capitol at noon with speeches and musical performances. Shortly after 1pm, the crowd of well over 1000 people "surrounded the roundhouse" as a symbol of the fact that the government is ours, and then march to the Plaza, accompanied by the drummers of Samba Fe Batucada. Leading the march was a procession of the 19 banners of the Iraq Memorial Wall (which can be downloaded from this site.) On entering the Plaza, the banners were blessed by the Aztec dancers. There followed two hours of brief speeches and musical performances, capped by the drums and brass of Samba Fe Batucada and a dancing crowd which virtually had to be forced to leave at the end of the day. As usual in Santa Fe, the police under the leadership of Chief Beverly Lennen, were extremely helpful in creating an environment of peace and freedom.
February 1, 2004 - "Courage to Refuse"
"Courage to Refuse" featured a talk by refusenik Major Stav Adivi of the Israel Defense Force reserves. This event was co-sponsored by Tikkun and endorsed by most of the other peace groups in Santa Fe. A major in the reserves, Stav Adivi is one of the highest ranking officers among the 550+ reserve combat officers and IDF soldiers to have signed the Combatant Letter refusing to serve in the occupied territories. Stav's talk was followed by brief remarks from a panel of respondants and a community dialogue on the implications of Stav's message for us as citizens of the United States. Contributions in excess of event expenses were sent to "Courage to Refuse" and The Israeli Coalition Against House Demolitions.
January 17 - "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War" documents with dramatic effectiveness the misleadership exercised by the current administration to drag the United States into an invasion of Iraq. Among those interviewed are former Ambassador Joe Wilson, weapons inspectors Scott Ritter and David Albright, anti-terrorism expert Rand Beers, former CIA analysts Ray McGovern, and Bill Christison of Santa Fe.
The film was shown to a near-capacity crowd of 350 people at the James A. Little Theatre, followed by a keynote talk by Craig Barnes and then a community dialogue (open mike) on the implications of the film for us as citizens. Craig's talk can be downloaded from the Downloads page of this website.
Tracers" - December 5, 6 & 7
Veterans for Peace Santa Fe was a co-sponsor of the College of Santa Fe's production of "Tracers," a drama by and about Vietnam veterans. The action shifts back and forth between their military service -- from boot camp through battle -- and their postwar existence in the mid-1980's. It is a tough drama, full of the violence and foul language which was characteristic of the times. It was presented at 8pm on December 5 & 6 and at 2pm on December 7 at the Weckesser Studio Theatre in the Garson Theatre complex at the College of Santa Fe. There was a very effective "veterans talk back" after the Saturday performance. VFP had an information table at all performances. [The Tracers team was subsequently awarded the Presidents Award by the College of Santa Fe.]
Veterans Day 2003 at the Lensic carried the theme, "To Heal the Wounds." The program opened with "The Friendship Village," a documentary film about an international group of veterans who are building a village in Vietnam for children with Agent Orange-related deformities. Built on a former rice paddy near Hanoi, the Vietnam Village of Friendship stands not only as a symbol of peace and reconciliation, but as a testament to the potential for all people to come to terms with the past, heal the wounds of war, and create a better world. The film was immediately followed by a Veterans Chorus performing "Bui Doi [The Dust of Life]" from Miss Saigon. The audience responded to this moving "cri de coeur" with a standing ovation. Following the musical interlude, the program continued with a presentation by Major Doug Rokke, PhD, a Gulf War vet and former director of the US Army's Depleted Uranium Project. What Agent Orange was to Vietnam, DU and other battlefield toxins are to Iraq. We now face the challenge of healing the ongoing wounds of yet another war.
On Halloween, Veterans for Peace Santa Fe conducted a Processional from the State Capitol ("The Roundhouse") to the Santa Fe Plaza and back shortly after sundown.The theme of "Ghostmakers versus Peacemakers" was illustrated by masks of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, on the one hand and Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. on the other.
On October 15 at 7pm, Veterans for Peace co-sponsored a presentation by Gloria Ulloa, an international Peacemaker from Colombia, South America at Ghost Ranch Santa Fe. Other co-sponsors were People for Peace, Peace Action New Mexico, and the Santa Fe Presbyterian Churches. Ms. Ulloa wants people to hear that they have to be louder in speaking against the policies of the Bush administration.
9/11/2003 Loss of Innocents. On September 11th, 2003, a 24 hour vigil was held at the New Mexico State Capitol (the Roundhouse) in Santa Fe. Beginning at midnight, September 10th, and ending at midnight, September 11th, 14,342 names and numerical notations were read aloud by members of the community in remembrance of the innocent civilian lives lost in the tragedies of 9/11, the Afghanistan war and the invasion of Iraq. In conjunction with the reading, participants assembled a commemorative mosaic using three different colors of wooden pegs. One peg was placed into the mosaic as each name was read. There was also be a walkway of panel displays with information addressing international and domestic peace and social justice issues, as well as a 60 foot long "Iraq Memorial Wall" with pictures and brief biographical data about each of the American, British, and Danish armed forces personnel killed in Iraq so far.
August 6 - Peace Day on the Plaza. VFP Santa Fe staffed an information table from opening until dark and erected a 48 foot long "Iraq Memorial Wall" consisting of 8 3'X6' banners, each of which contained 3 panels, each panel displaying the picture and personal data of 33 of the American and British forces killed thus far in the Iraq operation.
July 20 - Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices in the Wilderness, talked to a full house at the Unitarian Universalist Chuch in Santa Fe, co-sponsored by VFP Santa Fe. Kathy was introduced by our own John Evans, who spent December in Baghdad with Kathy. Kathy was there throughout the bombing and has just recently returned to the US.
June 22 - VFP night at King's Yellow, the Elizabethan drama written by VFP member, Craig Barnes. VFP invited the community to be our guests, asking attendees to bring a contribution in cash, check or canned goods for one of 11 local community service organizations. This was intended as an illustration of our conviction that "Peace Begins at Home."
May 6 - "Rays of Hope in a Time of Darkness" A major event at The Lensic - Santa Fe's Performing Arts Center. A crowd more than 500 people heard presentations by Craig Barnes, Dr. Charlie Clements, Professor Selena Sermeno, and United World College Students from Finland, India, Mexico, Kenya, and Colombia.
March7 - Faces of Collateral Damage: An illustrated talk and question-and-answer session with Dr. Charlie Clements reporting on his recent ten-day emergency mission to Iraq, sponsored by the Brooklyn-based Center for Economic and Social Rights to assess the potential consequences to Iraqi civilians of a war on Iraq.
February 14 - An Evening of Culture and Beauty at the James A. Little Theatre, featuring middle eastern music, a showing of the film, "Iraq: The Cradle of Civilization," a talk by WWII vet John Evans on his recent five week trip to Iraq.
January 29 - Co-sponsored showing of film "Invisible War: Depleted Uranium and the Politics of Radiation" followed by talks by Gulf War Vet, Daniel Craig, and founder of the International Depleted Uranium Study Team (IDUST), Damacio Lopez.
January 17 - Forum at the College of Santa Fe featuring the film, "The New Patriots" followed by a panel of veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War.
Veterans' Day 2002 Forum at the College of Santa Fe, including the film "Hidden Wars of Desert Storm" followed by a panel which included Craig Barnes, Charlie Clements, William Stewart, and Damacio Lopez, followed by an "open mike" session.