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FALL, 1998: Volume 3 Issue 3

From the Editor

In this issue we have articles following up on a previous area of concern, Croatia. And we also announce FPTP's plan to send an exploratory delegation to the African Great Lakes Region to see if FPTP could begin a long-term project there. I was excited to get the article by Bill Leicht, an early supporter of FPTP, about his work, having heard so much about it since I met him in 1994. I think his perspective is an important one, and one that may not be well covered in other programs addressing peacemaking.

When I heard the news, soon eclipsed by the embassy bombings in Africa, that a team of pro-democracy demonstrators had been arrested, tried and deported from Burma (Myanmar) in August, I began to try to track one of them down. Using the Internet, I finally reached an editor of a newsletter about Burma, who helped me connect with Michele Keegan, a student at American University in Washington DC. The interview I had with her was interesting because she is one of the young people that has taken up some of the concerns for peace and justice work that are so important to many of us. Her account of their action is very instructive for FPTP and others doing peace team work. It is a challenge to seek a balance between the need to speak out against a terrible injustice and carefully considered action. Commemorating a brutal suppression of democracy ten years before, the people who cared about the situation must have felt a rising impatience for change.

The team that went into Burma may have not been well-prepared, by FPTP standards, in terms of recruitment, training, planning, process and support. It seems to me that the team members took many risks, and I wonder how well prepared they were for the possible consequences—what if the Myanmar authorities had taken the hard line and made them serve their five-year sentences? What if their governments had been less supportive? What if they had been tortured? Or if just some of them were? Still, they were able, albeit briefly, to focus the world's attention on an injustice that has gone on much too long. As Michele said, “I couldn't wait for someone else to do something.” One question I hope we will continue to discuss is, “How can the lessons of earlier nonviolent movements be made known and applied to the struggles of our day?”

Enclosed in this issue is our annual envelope requesting your response. Please let us know if you want to continue receiving Peace Team News, and make a donation if you can. If your mailing label doesn't have *_98 after your name, then we haven't heard from you this year. We are grateful for your continued support. Paz y Luz—Peace and Light. Val Liveoak

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