SOA/WHINSEC Legislation

Juanita Abii
March 16, 2012

Juanita Abii

Two months ago I never would have thought I would have done so much personal learning, especially in my field of studies; International Relations. I was assigned peace and conflict resolution and from the moment I stepped into the CCAO office, everything I did was tailored towards learning more about this topic. The most enlightening part however, is that I learnt most things through the view point of my faith.

One such topic I came to view through my faith was the SOA/WHINSEC legislation. For a while now, I have been focusing most of my attention in the office on getting the legislation passed against the WHINSEC/SOA (School of the Americas). I have done ample research on the military training school but to be honest most of the research was done on an impersonal level. I never really stopped to think about the implications of what such a school meant to the local community around it and how the atrocious acts of these men could have deep rooted effects on the people they come in contact with. It became more personal when I read an article on the El Mozote massacre and how an SOA graduate ended the lives of over a thousand people. Even worse was the murder of six Jesuit priests and soon after, the death squad slogan became “Be Patriotic Kill a Priest”. Since I was raised by Jesuit priests, this instantly hit home. I did more research into it and found out that this school of destruction called SOA had U.S. backing as of the time of this strife in El Salvador.

At this point, I began to realize that I could play a much bigger part. I am playing a very important role in putting a stop to another El Mozote massacre. It made me realize that no matter how tough things get in trying to pass legislation or how slow they might be, we are ultimately fighting for the good of our fellow men. I no longer see anything I do in the office as just a task, but as a crucial action backed by my faith, that if successful, could touch the lives of a million.