[saymaListserv] QUIT report pasted in

Quakerkristi at aol.com Quakerkristi at aol.com
Thu Jun 15 14:36:34 JEST 2006


The Quaker Initiative to End Torture- First Conference Report


Friends from 18 yearly meetings including Canada, Britain, and Rwanda,
gathered on June 2-4, 2006, at Guilford College in Greensboro, North
Carolina to learn about United States-sponsored torture and to plan how to
end it.  Several non-Friends woshipped and worked with us, as well.  Sixteen
speakers, including three survivors of torture, provided information and
inspiration to 126 conference attenders.



After a period of welcome and worship, Jennifer Harbury gave a riveting
keynote on Friday evening, giving us a brief but comprehensive overview of
U.S. torture.  She spoke from her personal experiences with CIA-sponsored
torture of her deceased Guatemalan activist husband in the 1980s through the
May 2006 United Nations hearings on United States compliance with the
Convention Against Torture.  This was followed by the film, ³Hidden in Plain
Sight,² which gave a vivid history of the School of the Americas and the
twenty-year struggle to close the school that has trained Latin American
military officers since World War II. The film and the question and answer
session offered by two survivors brought participants a sense of immediacy
and responsibility.



On Saturday morning, a panel of three speakers introduced us to the topics
of direct action, legislation and executive monitoring, and treatment, which
were followed by more intensive workshops providing in-depth information to
conference participants on these topics, and on strategic planning.  On
Saturday afternoon, Hector Aristizibal using the techniques of the Theatre
of the Oppressed depicted his own experience as a survivor of torture and
then engaged the audience in a powerful interactive movement that moved us
toward hopeful engagement to end the practice of torture.  Chuck Fager and
Bal Pinguel then took the stage to exhort us towards the long work ahead to
abolish torture, moving us from learning to action.  Conferees next joined
in a town meeting to brainstorm ideas in the five categories of education,
legislation, treatment, prisons, and media/strategy.  After supper, work
groups in those categories met to plan actions.  A hard dayıs work closed
with a folk music concert donated by the Short Sisters, an amazing a capella
group of three women.



Sunday worship was led by our five elders, who held the conference in the
Light throughout the weekend and attended every session, workshop, and work
group.  The conference culminated in a second town meeting in which we heard
from each work group and then discussed the future of QUIT.



There was a clear sense of the meeting towards the following actions:

-educating our meetings and others;

-asking for monthly, quarterly, and yearly meeting support (minutes,
donations, conference attendance);

-using the QUIT website as a resource of information and events
(http://www.quit-torture-now.org);

-joining the QUIT listserv via the website to share news and ideas.



Conferees appreciated the QUIT planning teamıs care in creating an excellent
conference on a difficult topic presented with a tone of reverence, and they
thanked the five elders for their prayerful attention in setting the tone
for spiritual work. The planning team was asked to bring in more members and
plan a second conference at Guilford College, June 1-3 2007.



We ended with worship that was deep in silence and full of gratitude and
expectancy.



Save the date QUIT 2nd Conference June 1-3 2007
www.quit-torture-now.org <http://www.quit-torture-now.org/>

John Calvi
calvij at sover.net
802/387-4789
PO Box 301 
Putney VT 05346 USA
www.johncalvi.com
www.quit-torture-now.org
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