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"School of the Americas Lament"


by Rebecca Reilly

Western Hemisphere Institute:

perhaps the west has the best

divisive world-wise

ways to instruct the enforcers of lies

in devices of domination:

they call it the Institute for Security Cooperation.

But for its students, for their victims in central and South American nations,

it’s still the School of Assassins,

an American abomination.

The Americas are in their own dark ages–

it’s time to acknowledge what history teaches.

Torture training, now it’s feigning

innocence–ever since

the innocents just standing by

were in the way and forced to die

along with those who had something to say.

Asking the wrong questions, questioning their reasons,

those priests and leaders were taken away.

Found dead, raped or tortured

like the regimes ordered

–as if the violence could really silence the people–

not the insurgents being bombed or mortared,

but the citizens being nickeled and dimed and quartered.

Divided, undecided–it’s hard to move forward.



Count the victims of injustice.

Include its students.

Include the police and the special agents

–even the protesters in their ‘freedom cages.’

But this is the age of our emergence.

Emergency powers in fateful hours can’t stop the people from asking penance.

Keep on asking, keep on shouting,

swarm the gates and keep on crowding.

It’s hard to move forward,

but when the gates give way,

when policies loosen so hearts can open (or will it go the other way?)

we’ll flood in towards freedom,

our guards will be lowered,

and we can move forward

day by day

with just one more word:


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