...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
      ( 2:12 PM )

There is a lot of news going on today - the US is currently bombing the hell out of downtown Fallujah and I am praying that all the citizens there will somehow be spared. The president and his minions continue to think that they can scoff at the military record of John Kerry while remaining unscathed by the fact that they are governed by draft dodgers and cowards. The Supreme Court is proving its God-complex by hearing a case about Dick Cheney's desire to put all power in the executive branch where Scalia should have recused himself.

But today I got GOOD NEWS. As some of you longtime readers may know, I lived briefly and worked in Northern Ireland for some time and have many friends who are like family there. Today's news is wonderful to me on both a personal and a more general level.

Today three men are free who have spent the last 21/2 years in horrifying Colombian prisons. They are three Irish men who were arrested in August 2001 in Bogota. They were held on evidence supplied by US federal agents (later proved to be faked and wholly false evidence) and accused of working with the FARC. Then September 11 happened, and they became three very small pawns in a very big game. The US used its power in Colombia to influence the Irish peace process over the arrests of these three men. The Irish governmenet protested the arrests and lobbied the US government and Colombia for their release. As their case progressed, evidence put forth by prosecutors fell apart. The judge was between a rock and a hard place - judges in Colombia don't have an easy job if they want to be impartial. The case was argued and it was obvious to all that the men were not guilty of the charges. But still there was no verdict. They languished in some of the most heinous and dangerous prisons in the world.

But today the verdict came in. The judge found them guilty of nothing more than traveling on false passports, a conviction with a sentence of deportment. Which means that after payment of small fines, they will finally be free to go home to their families.

It was a long 2 1/2 years for us as we are close, personal friends with one of these men and his family, and in fact our child is named for him. I am almost weak with happiness today that there has been a small victory for justice in the world, that the US has not been able to pound its will upon everyone, that a judge somewhere in Colombia took a chance for truth, and that hopefully this time next week, there will be three families who won't be letting go of each other any time soon.

In these times of big and horrible wars, of killing and of oil prices and of elections - sometimes we forget that things are happening in the world to give us hope. Somewhere in the world people are fighting for their corner of peace, people are struggling for their piece of justice, and today, some people are celebrating freedom that was not possible only ten years ago. Hooray for the side of humanity that shows us there is hope in this world.

And sometimes there is justice.

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