|By Anonymous (18.104.22.168) on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 4:20 pm: Edit Post|
My brother was a PCV in Botswana, a country with a long and happy history with the Peace Corps, and was constantly accused of being a CIA spy. I was a PCV in Bolivia and was constantly accused of being either a CIA or a DEA spy. It's just too dangerous to officially mix the military and the Peace Corps in any way...
Beyond that, how could it continue to be called the Peace Corps if it were connected to the Pentagon and to troops whose orders include killing the 'enemy?' Certainly this irony is not lost on other RPCVs but it seems that the senators sponsoring the bill don't see the connection.
Lastly, I have no problem with a soldier who has served his/her time and would like to join the Peace Corps doing so as another, separate, way to serve his/her country. But let's not connect the two... volunteers have a hard enough time establishing credibility without encouraging rumors of ulterior military motives, which spread like wildfire in even the most rural of areas.
|By jude bursten (d226-35-77.home.cgocable.net - 22.214.171.124) on Thursday, August 18, 2005 - 12:33 am: Edit Post|
i was on 24 hour evacuation notice after being involved in a car accident wherein a dutch volunteer, driving a bachee, hit a moped. we took the injured woman to a local hospital and until money was paid in advance, no one would treat her. the money was paid, we left her and when we returned the next morning, she had died. the driver ended up in jail.
the rules of engagement and cultural sensitivity were not western in focus nor conforming to a logic guiding my understanding of justice.
these circumstances were confusing and terrorizing to me, but i was humbled by confronting my assumptions: these included some naive belief in universality. i wasn't the driver, how could i be held accountable? this was an accident, why was the driver held in jail? ahhh, but why is it i belived that a+b=c?
the beauty and success of the peace corps seems driven by the spirit of volunteers. those who can demonstrate a willingness to assimiliate, who understand that one learns way more than one is able to teach, those who respect political diversity and suspend judgement. whatever the criteria has been for "picking" volunteers, even understanding the socio-economic environment in which developing countries participate in tied-aid, there seems to be an honest absence of perpetrating an american, self righteous presence.
the personal journey of volunteering for the peace corps does not jive with the mission and goal of any military and quite changes the spirit of kennedy's vision.
given the instability of a global world order and the uncertainty american intervention has presented at home and abroad--it would seem that the state ought consider the lessons of diplomacy demonstrated by individuals whose motives are not tied to a political agenda--but rather driven by a belief in peace, a desire to help and an ability to question truth.