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Thanksgiving 2010

2010 November 28
by Ben Achtenberg

What kind of world are we leaving our next generation?

It’s the evening of the day after Thanksgiving. The leftovers are put away, and most of the dishes are finally washed. Among my many reasons for thanks is a beautiful new great-niece: the first in the next generation of my family. Amid the celebration, though, it’s hard not to wonder what kind of a world she’ll be growing up in.
…..I’ve given myself the weekend off, more or less, but on Monday I’ll be immersed once again in the stories of the torture survivors we’ve interviewed for our documentary film Refuge: Caring for Survivors of Torture. (Excerpts from some of those stories are on our blog under Voices of Survivors.)
…..It’s almost impossible to imagine, but wouldn’t it have been great if we could have given thanks for the abolition of torture everywhere? Or if we could have pointed to just one country – maybe even our own – that was taking serious steps to put a stop to abusive interrogations and political intimidation?
…..Maybe someday…but in the meantime, thousands of torture survivors arrive in the U.S. every year, needing housing, jobs – and, perhaps most importantly, care for the multiple traumas they have experienced. So, at least I was able to give thanks yesterday for the dozens of torture treatment programs around the country, large and small, and for the hundreds of dedicated and compassionate professionals, students, and volunteers who provide that care.
…..And I want to express here my thanks for the support The Refuge Media Project has received for our work: The Anita L. Mishler Education Fund, which had the vision to come on board when we were just getting started and, more recently, the Lucius & Eva Eastman Fund. Most of all, I want to thank the dozens of individual donors – friends, family, and so-far strangers who have read about the project or have attended one of our public presentations, and have stepped forward to help make it a reality. Check out our honor roll, and please consider joining it this holiday season. We still have a long way to go. Click here to visit our website and make a donation to The Refuge Media Project. (Illustration by Nick Thorkelson.)

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