|By Zachary Chartkoff on Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 1:48 pm: Edit Post|
Peace Corps Administration being the rigid dinosaurs that they are, I find it quite funny that it had not occurred to anyone to spell out exactly what Volunteers can and cannot do as legal protests while serving abroad. I sympathize with having to be diplomatic in sensitive areas and I do recognize that just because the 30 or 40 remaining liberals in America got together to protest the war stateside does not mean that that gives Volunteers carte blanche to behave in any manner while abroad. However, what was Administration thinking? That the same people who dedicated two years to help improve the world would not have strong feelings about a war for oil and the maltreatment of the Iraqi people? That there are no Volunteers with liberal leanings in the Corps? I am not questioning whether Administration was in the right to refuse these particular Volunteers the right to protest. I was not there, perhaps they threatened the entire infrastructure of the Dominican Republic with their shenanigans, who knows? It was just the inflexible, humorless way Administration goes about dealing with their own people that bugs me. They seem to treat their Volunteers as if they are dim and slow children blundering in a china shop -- do not do that, you will cause tarnish and embarrassment to the Peace Corps. They make themselves sound like they have a pregnant teenage daughter they keep hidden in the attic. I know Washington DC can be depressing, but lighten up!
|By Jim Brown on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 9:57 am: Edit Post|
The Iraqi War was not about oil!!!!!! It was about freeing a country from oppression. Saddam Husein had a remarkable history of repression, oppressing and violating human rights, having connections with terrorist organizations, providing them with funding and actually producing weapons of mass destruction. There were many rational reasons for American involvement in Iraq, but oil had nothing to do with it.
|By Zachary Chartkoff on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 2:50 pm: Edit Post|
Oh, thanks for the "!!!!!!" They helped me understand the complexities I had failed to grasp when the war first started. I write two pages about my concern over the Administration and all you can say is the war was not about oil, yadda yadda yadda. But we are all entitled to our opinions, I suppose. I still think Administration should spell out exactly what Volunteers can and cannot do as legal protests while serving abroad.
|By hughc on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 9:58 am: Edit Post|
I agree with the PC decision.
First of all, PC is not a political organization, and can not afford to be associated with political causes in the countries where it works. In Nicaragua, we still have problems getting our work done because many people, for some reason, associate the PC with anti-Sandinista political parties (Daniel Ortega disallowed the Peace Corps in Nicaragua during his term).
Secondly, your first ammendment rights apply IN THE UNITED STATES. It doesn't matter if you are a US citizen, it is PURELY ARROGANT to think you can carry these rights to other countries. Try protesting religious opression in Iran and you'll find yourself sentenced to death by stoning.
Let's remember, as PC volunteers, part of our job is to be culturally sensitive. What goes in the US doesn't necessarily go in other countries, particularly if it makes the PC's mission more difficult.
|By Phil Reed on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 5:05 pm: Edit Post|
I hardly find it surprising that Peace Corps volunteers would feel the desire to protest for peace and against a war that was not only illegal and unjust but unnecessary. Volunteers have no place protesting against political decisions in host countries or becoming involved in political activities of any kind of the host country. The volunteers in question were not interfering in the affairs of the Dominican Republic but rather trying to demonstrate their concern for their own government's threat to world peace. I didn't know that when you became a volunteer you became at the same time an apologist for the politics of the administration in power. It is typical of their methods though. No dissent is allowed. It's our way or the highway. Love it or leave it. Very sad indeed. We send troops to fight for freedom and democracy and then deny it to our own people. That's some wonderful witness to the people of developing nations, and a great example for leaders inclined to suppress dissent.
|By Michael Robie on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 1:44 am: Edit Post|
I'm a junior in college, planning on volunteering with the Peace Corps. I'm politically very critical of the current administration's policies throughout the whole world. The idea of having to keep my mouth shut and not critize the administration makes me sick. But, I do agree with the argument that the Consitution only gurantees U.S. citizens their rights within the United States. My thought was, isn't the purpose of publicly protesting the government within the States is to persuade people to your opinion, so more people can contact congressmen and senators and change things? I don't know much about the Dominican Republic situation, but my thought was, why didn't the PCV go into the Embassy, use a phone or something, and call their congressmen/senator? Just a thought.
|By Mary Carroll on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 7:08 am: Edit Post|
The issue of Peace Corps Volunteers protesting U.S. administration policy is hardly new. I was a volunteer in Latin America in the '60's, and a staff member in the early '70's. During these years there were several cases in which PCV's protested (primarily against the war in Vietnam) while serving overseas. To my knowledge, the majority of these volunteers were returned to the U.S. As a representative of the United States, and as an employee of the Federal Government, the volunteers have a unique position abroad, they are often perceived as speaking on behalf of Peace Corps rather than as an individual. Peace Corps regulations regarding volunteer demonstrations/declarations should be made very clear prior to volunteers being sent overseas.
|By Don Stierman on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 10:04 am: Edit Post|
During the Vietnam war, PCVs were instructed not to participate in protests while overseas, that we were free to submit letters to our hometown (USA) newspapers and so on. Joining anti-war demonstrations in host countries was getting involved with local politics, which were never isolated from anti-war marches.
The Iraq war WAS all about oil. Global production is approaching its historical peak and will soon begin a decline that, in face of increasing demand, will bring enormous price increases for all fossil fuels that will shock global economies. GWB hopes to buy just enough prosperity to keep the GOP in the White House in 2008, and the best way to do that is keep oil prices low. Iraq has the potential to flood oil markets for a few years, a boon to our economy (which is based on cheap energy).
Our troops secured oil facilities before any other critical part of the Iraqi infrastructure. That speaks volumes about our priorities in Iraq.
|By Meredith Dalebout on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 5:16 pm: Edit Post|
To Jim Brown: Please learn to see through the rhetoric of this administration, and find the truth, which has to do with W's arrogance and ego, oil, manipulation by the Republican strong arms in the White House (the invasion of Iraq was planned YEARS AGO), plus the tear-jerking "save Iraq" story which is weak, at best. Let's get real: Saddam never had any WMD. Oh, doesn't he wish he did! It is not our place, or that of any ONE nation, to "free"another nation. MAYBE with the UN; not alone. Meredith (Bunny)Dalebout, RPCV Niger 83-85.
|By Michael Kelly on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 1:53 am: Edit Post|
I supported the Iraq war for the same reasons I joined Peace Corps. According to Meredith this makes me an awful misled person. However, conditions were truly horrible in Iraq and are improving now. We know that Saddam did have WMDs because he used them during the Iran-Iraq war and several times against his own people. We know that Saddam executed tens of thousands of Iraqis because we are finding the mass graves.
|By Hogwash on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 11:32 am: Edit Post|
The goal of the UN is nuclear and WMD proliferaton. They plan to help after the disaster, forever.
|By pAMELA ANN TRACY on Thursday, August 07, 2003 - 8:37 pm: Edit Post|
I AM AN RPCV FROM SIERRA LEONE 1989-1991
WE WERE TOLD IN OUR TRAINING HOW TO BE
"A" POLITICAL....IT WAS DIFFICULT FOR ME
HOWEVER I SUCCEEDED INSPITE OF ISSUES THAT
I FELT THE SAME ABOUT I EXPLAINED TO MY
COUNTY COWORKERS THAT I HAD TO BE APOLITICAL AND
COULD NOT BE INVOLVED IN ANY OF THEIR DECISIONS
IN ANY POLITICAL ISSUES SUCH AS STRIKING.
AND TO BE A WOMAN IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY WHERE
WOMEN ARE TRADITIONALLY ABUSED AND MISTREATED
WAS ALSO VERY DIFFICULT BUT I WAS VERY CAREFUL
WHOM I DISCUSSED SUCH THINGS WITH. AND, IN
RETROSPECT SOMETIMES EVEN WITH SOME OF YOUR FELLOW
VOLUNTEERS ONE HAS TO BE CAREFUL OF DISCUSSING
THINGS. I LEARNED THAT THE HARD WAY. ONE WOULD
THINK THAT WE WOULD ALL BE ON THE SAME PAGE -
HOWEVER AGE DIFFERENCES AND GENERATION GAPS
DID MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY AS A PCV BEING A-POLITICAL IS
THE MOST DIFFICULT THING AND NOT AN ADJUSTMENT.
|By PCOL on Friday, August 08, 2003 - 8:56 am: Edit Post|
Volunteers destroy each other all the time. I always tried to make this fun. Some people never change when it comes to politics, etc. They stay WAY too serious. These people are usually avoided.