Honorees for 2010/2011 International Humanitarian and Peace Recognition Awards Are:
ROSEBANK -- STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Growing up in small-town Westfield, N.J., and attending Catholic schools, Amy Poirier admits to being intrigued by stories told by missionaries, nuns and priests who would visit her class during the year for “Vocation Days.”
Although she couldn’t quite picture herself becoming a nun, by fourth-grade she had a notion that she’d be “called to serve in some way.”
(Amy Poirier helps a group of children learning to count in English on the grounds of one of the many tent cities in Haiti. (Photos courtesy Amy Poirier)
Her parents set an example in the home by volunteering for different causes during the 1960s. One was raising money to send low-income students to college.Click here for more :..
US Department of State2201 C Street NWWashington, DC 20520
March 9, 2013
Dear Secretary Kerry,
I am writing as an American who knows firsthand the greatness of our country. I know the great ability and strength that America has not only within our own country but throughout the world at large. At the present time there is a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC over the allegations of human rights violations with the focus on the end of Sri Lanka Civil War.
Sir, I have been to Sri Lanka several times post civil war and I just a simple visitor of the country have seen great improvements. I have seen great changes in the housing that is and has been offered to displace families. I have seen areas that were severely affected by war improve I have witnessed the relief of mothers of no longer living in fear that their children will stolen and never heard from again. During my first visit to Sri Lanka I had wanted to visit Jaffna it was closed to visitors because of landmines, that has since changed I have been told. The people of Sri Lanka are free to travel anywhere they choose regardless of race, faith or beliefs.
War is a bad situation, a time of killing. It is life altering for all who witness it even from miles away. During times of war people die. It is not a good fact but a fact just the same. I have been blessed to have had no real exposure to war. I do remember standing on The Promenade on September 11 watching the second plane hit. I remember my son who was in 1st grade looking up and asking me “Mama, what is happening” I had to respond that I did not know. We lived on Montague Street at that time and I remember the fear and reality of not knowing what would be for a long time after that date. I know that our lives were affected in a way that we will never fully know. What did America do? America gathered all its strengths and we moved past it. Yes we all remember, really remember and it will forever be part of our life filtering. However, we had moved on. Eventually, America got the man who is thought to be the one responsible for that act against us.
America fights and guards our people against terrorist every moment of every day. We are blessed to have great leaders to do their best to secure our safety. In America our forefathers fought for our rights and to ensure the Constitution is upheld. We have the right as Americans to confront our accusers. However, when America tracked down the ultimate terrorist against us he was not given the right of trail. We went in under cover of darkness into a home killed people and took him. This was done in front of his children and wives. This was accepted since he was a master terrorist who attacked America on American soil. Many innocent people lost their lives that day and in the days to follow. Is that not was the Sri Lanka Military did when they were faced with terrorist on their soil for over 30 years? They fought for their country, they fought for their people they forced the LTTE out of Sri Lanka and unfortunately people died in that process, some even innocent civilians. America stood ground in Iran, Iraq and I am sure that if need be will do whatever it takes if GOD forbid Northern Korean takes further action. My point being America is a super power and does what is needed to get the job done. Everyone in every country knows this. Again I ask is that not what Sri Lanka has done for themselves? Then why should they be treated any different than any other country? Different then America? People are people, a son is a son it should not matter who that son was born onto.
I have not only been to Sri Lanka but I have worked alongside many Sri Lanka military on the ground in Haiti after the earthquake in Haiti. On and off for 6 months the men of the 11 Contingent under the direction of the Deputy Commander in Leogane assist us in feeding, shelter and educating the people who wished to be helped within our reach. When presented with opportunity to be rewarded with gifts they asked that the gifts be food and supplies for the many in the area who needed so much. I saw firsthand soldiers take the food from their lunch packs and hand feed babies and suffering people. That wasn’t their job but they saw suffering and wanted to assist. I know from my own personal experience what this group of men did and how they operated. They acted with honor and true humanitarians.
During my trips to Sri Lanka there was only one time that I felt unsafe and I was in fear so I got out of that location to where I was safe. I live in NY there are many times in my life that I found myself feeling unsafe and got out of that area too. Not all that much different.
During my time in Sri Lanka I saw shacks that people lived in those people have been relocated and given much improved housing. I witnessed children playing and laughing, which I would imagine is a big difference from year gone past. I traveled to the South and saw beautiful beach areas that had been destroyed by the Tsunami; I also saw people rebuilding together. I traveled the coast and saw fisherman bringing in their catch for the day as I witnessed passerby running to the shoreline to lend a helping hand and gathering the net. Why would they help? Because help was needed. I was blessed to have spent time with a neighborhood community where their young children saved their rupees to buy a cow that was headed to slaughter. These children and families brought the cow home took care of it, nursed it to health and then took it to another family who would care for it and it would in turn help that family with Milk and assisting in farming. My point in all of this is the people of Sri Lanka are strong people, loving and kind people. They have triumphed over what is known to be the world worst terrorist group and are moving on and getting stronger.
I remember one day I toured a Army Camp where I was soldiers with missing legs and arms. I asked what are those soldiers still doing in active military? The response was those men gave part of themselves to save this country during war they want to remain soldiers so they now do other work at the camp. They went on to introduce me to a man who lost his eyes but remained faithful to the military and worked on the switchboard. I am not sure what happened to our military but I have heard stories and very few sound like they are still welcome and cared for.
What is my point in all of these words? It is simple Sir. Sri Lanka, is a country less then 4 years out of Civil War which was over 30 years yes they are moving ahead. Yes they are making big changes. Yes they may hit bumps in the road or people who are not aligned in the new direction. Worst of all Yes they most likely had innocent people die during the war time. All of which sounds very much like America and other countries during difficult times of advancement and change. I wish we could look back to our own Civil War that took place over 6 years on our soil and see firsthand how people responded to the change and the outcome. I would guess that some were happy, some upset, some missing and many affected. That is war. Why is the expectation on Sri Lanka that in less than 4 years they should be further along in a democratic life when they have only recently been able to work towards a democratic way of life. Sri Lanka needs time to heal and get future along. They need to govern their own country. They need to work out their direction and path on their own not be forced into adapting another countries ways.
So many eyes are on Sri Lanka and saying they are wrong and need a resolution placed on them. Where were those eyes when they were at war for 30 years? It is so easy to sit and judge and so difficult to find people to assist where they are asked to assist.
Please Secretary Kerry find it in your heart to lend a helping hand in the direction and areas that the powers of Sri Lanka are asking for a helping hand or assistance. Please do not be part of a resolution that will take away the focus of the growth that is happening. Please find a way to help in only the things they ask for help in not where as an American we might feel they need to be different. They are Sri Lanka and the people of Sri Lanka. They were strong and stood up to the worst terrorist organization in the world and forced them from their country. If America is to assist Sri Lanka please let it be when and where they ask and not by force. I can’t imagine a day in America where another country would dare to stand up against our government or our people thinking they knew better. America is a super power who helps so many why be the vehicle of discontent to them. They need a friend in America and once that days comes many others opportunities will open for Sri Lanka.
Secretary Kerry, if ever you are willing to travel to Sri Lanka I will be happy to go with you or meet you there and introduce you to the many people that I have met over the past 3 years and you too will experience firsthand the reasons I feel the way I do towards Sri Lanka. I promise that I will show you area of improvement and great people in Sri Lanka just simple everyday people that I have witnessed in true time.
Mr Jacob Massaquoi one of Grow to Strength precipitant of the 2010 International Peace and Humanitarian Award has book published:
THE VOICE OF AN ADVOCATE: THE PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENT FOR STRUGLE.
Liberia has been in a state of war since its founding in the early 18th Century by the American Colonization Society in 1822. The seeds of discontent and marginalization were planted then and continue to this very day. Jacob Massaquoi details the history then and its continuing tragic consequences in the making now in his new book entitled “The Voice of an Advocate: The Philosophical Argument for Our Struggle.”
The Arab Spring that is sweeping the Middle East has its counterpart in West Africa. Liberty is a beautiful name for a country! We can only HOPE that it lives up to its name. Read about the collective and heroic struggles that are happening today!
The book is currently available on www.LuLu.com and soon on Amazon.com in paperback for $15.99 or download for $5.99. Book signings will be announced around the country.