Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

winter's discontent

There are quite a few literacy workers who do work on the power of story telling -- how both the telling and the listening can be healing and can help us move forward. The Winter Soldier hearings work on this principle.

Hundreds of veterans and active-duty soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars gathered in mid-March for the Winter Soldier hearings. The gathering was modeled after the 1971 Winter Solider hearings organized by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

"We called this investigation the Winter Soldier Investigation. The term 'winter soldier' is a play on words of Thomas Paine’s in 1776, when he spoke of the 'Sunshine Patriot' and 'summertime soldiers' who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough. And we who’ve come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, and we could be quiet. We could hold our silence. We could not tell what went on in Vietnam. But we feel, because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, not reds, not red coats, but the crimes which we’re committing are what threaten it, and we have to speak out."

John Kerry testifying at the Winter Soldier hearings in 1971

Listening to the stories is a harrowing experience. The stories are an accounting of horrible acts but the telling is an act of bravery and a plea for peace, both personal and global.

Vietnam Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier Hearings (1971)

WinterSoldier.com (1971)

Winter Soldier The Film

Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier Hearings (2008)

Winter Soldiers Past and Present on Democracy Now! : Part 1 : Part 2 : Part 3

The Planting, woodblock by Joshua Rome

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