Stop The Bombs International Peace Walk
Day 45 Monday April 25, 2005
Bethlehem PA - Rest Day


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     After a day off where walkers relaxed and explored Bethlahem, we settled in for the evening. For us Australians it was ANZAC (Veterains day), a day of rememberance for those who fought in wars. For me it always a teary day as I remember my father and Uncles, it is also a day for me to remember the not so good things in my life. On this day every year as my elders remember the trauma of their war service, the drinking and violence increased so I was very upset..... it's never a good time for me.

   Feeling rather post traumatic and stressed I went to a talk on Haiti that was being hosted at the church (probably not the best idea for someone with PTSD). The talk was being given by Johanna Berrigan and Thomas Griffin, two Americans who have been documenting Human Rights abusses in Haiti.

   Haiti was the most prosperous island country in the world and filled the banks of France with gold, they where able to do this because it was a slave state. Latter through revolution, Haiti became the first succesfull slave state to become independant, and gain their freedom... ever since the persecution of it's people has escalated.

   Currently there are 1000's of Hatians languishing in prison, people are routinely murdered with impunity by the police and there are private armys riding gunshot over the pro-democracy moovement. The legaly elected pressident Arasteed has been living in exile and a puppet Gov. is in place at the hands of America, Cannada and France. There is little outside influence and reporting, the reality day to day is torture and bloodshed.

   In the poorest part od Port-au-price (The Capitol) is a place called Cite Sole. It is the stronghold for Arasteed supporters and is a death camp for the inhabitants. There are no services, no hospital, shops, anything... the whole area is enclosed in a trench and no one gets out. If you leave you are arrested by the police and will be tortured, live in inhumane conditions or die, if you stay Gov. sponsored gangs and police raids will clean you up if you are found. Many young boys are found tied together with their own boot laces and shot or stabbed, mainly by police. There is a U.N. peace keeping force there but they mainly tag alomg with the police and endup doing their own share of killing of inocents, in self defence.

   During the talk we saw many graphic photo's of mutilated and decomposing bodys. The most disturbing where the photo's of the morgue. Bodys pilled up ontop of each othert, covered in Flys and inevitably being eaten by millions of maggots in a few days. God I was just about sick at that stage, and many people where crying at what we where seeing.

   It was shocking and outrageus to see and learn but I am glad I went, if only to put my own trauma back into perspective. The Genocide in Haiti is being mirrored all around the world in open and secret wars, wars fought with poverty and guns. This world we are in is a bad one sometimes, and we are so priveleged to be wlking this pilgrimage without persecution.... some people aren't so lucky!!!!

With Trauma,
Day 44
Day 46

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