Saturday, January 20, 2007

Farewell Party for Alice!

Last evening, the Buffalo War Resisters League and other supporters threw a "good bye party" for me. It was held at El Buen Amigo, a store in downtown Buffalo.
El Buen Amigo is a store that was started by Santiago, who is originally from Chile. He and his family had to leave Chile after the U.S.-sponsored coup d'etat in 1973 that overthrew that country's elected president, Salvador Allende, and replaced him with a terrible dictator, Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet was associated with some very terrible human rights abuses and had been indicted for them. Before he could go to trial, however, he died. But, anyway, Santiago found his way to Western New York and he bacame a teacher here. He also founded El Buen Amigo as a place where clothing and a variety of crafts made by people in Latin America could be sold and where the profits would go directly to the craftspeople. Now, there are goods from all over the world. The store is always colorful and cheerful, with clothing, jewelry, crafts, and artwork. It is a delight to behold.
Santiago, always a gentleman, was very happy to offer his store as a place to hold the party.
And the party was a great delight, with plenty of food to eat, people to chat with, and lively Latin American music to listen to.
Toward the beginning of the party, I had a chance to talk to the group, to tell them what led me to cross the Fort Benning fence... um... more than once(!) I told them my story, about my trip to the Texas-Mexico border, about my time at language school in Guatemala, about the things that I had learned about SOA/WHINSEC, about my legislative work. I was also happy to answer questions. In addition, I brought the looseleaf binder that I had put together for my trip to the midwest, with articles that I had written, articles written about me, my prison journal, my newsletters, drawings of the Fort Benning fence from my sketchbook, drawings from my prison sketchbook, information about legislative stuff concerning closing the school, and photographs.
After the talk, I had the chance to chat with a variety of people and to dance and to enjoy some delicious food! It was a great party and we all had a good time.
The party was so good for me, and for everyone else, I think. I am headed back to Georgia on Thursday, January 25, for my upcoming trial. I am very grateful for this display of support from my friends here in Western New York!
(below are pictures from the party)

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