LEND YOUR LEG for a Mine Free World!
PSALM/WVCBL, as well a campaigners worldwide,
will participate in a global month of action that will
kick off on March 1st, the anniversary of entry into
force of the Mine Ban Treaty and will build up to
April 5 th, the International Day for Mine Awareness.
March 1st also marks the anniversary of the founding
of PSALM/WVCBL by a group of concerned students
PSALM/WVCBL DAY OF SOLIDARITY:
“Lend Your Leg” Day
On Friday April 5th,St. Francis community
members (students, faculty, staff, families and
supporting Parishes) that would like to
“make a stand” withus are asked to “LEND A LEG”
and wear jeans/pants that day and roll up one
leg to show solidarity with those that suffer.
Be sure to wear cool socks to make a statement!
This is an optional jean day...We aren’t asking for
donations, just your support!
JOIN US and ON April 5th “MAKE A STAND”…
“LEND YOUR LEG”
LEND YOUR LEG VIDEO:
WHY LEND A LEG??? We don't have to worry
about our nextstep being fatal, but hundreds of
thousands of our fellow citizens around the world
are not so lucky. Landmines are a humanitarian issue.
It is not about politics or parties, it is about making
sure kids can play, farmers
can grow their crops safely and all can walk without
fear that their next step may be their last.
PLEASE JOIN US!!!!
“P.S.A.L.M.” (Proud Students
Against Land Mines and Cluster
Bombs) is a social justice club
founded by students
at St. Francis de Sales
School. We are working members
of the West Virginia,
CATHOLIC AND INTERNATIONAL
CAMPAIGNS TO BAN LANDMINES
AND CLUSTER BOMBS.
#1 To raise awareness about the
devastation caused globally
by these weapons.
#2 To offer humanitarian assistance
to the victims and raise
awareness about survivor issues.
#3 To encourage ALL countries to sign the treaty banning the
production, use and stockpiling of these weapons.
Students are encouraged to
dream of a more just and peaceful
world and to make that world a
reality. They are empowered
to truly make a difference!
Our faith traditions call us to stand
with those who have suffered
and to work for the well-being of
the human family through relationships
of respect, justice, and peace. For
more than a decade the
Holy See and Catholic bishops
from around the world have
called for a ban on landmines
and cluster munitions as
indiscriminate weapons that target
civilians especially children
around the world. In 2012
we celebrated our 13th year
and were recognized nationally for
in educational programs” by NCEA Catholic
School Teacher magazine!
To learn more about PSALM,
please contact Ms. Sheets
for more information!
NEW members are welcome! Please see
Ms. Sheets for a PSALM form. PSALM
club meets after school on selected dates.
Meetings are held every 2
weeks after school for 1 hour. Students
work on awareness projects. Advanced
PSALM students are often invited
to give presentations in our city, state
and have even traveled to Washington, D.C.
MESSAGE FORM THE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL
JUSTICE AND PEACE/ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
“The projects PSALM has undertaken to advocate for the abolition of
landmines and cluster munitions as well as to assist the victims of such
indiscriminate weapons are truly a model for others who seek to
energize young people into action on social justice issues. We
will keep your fine work in our prayers”.
Dear PSALM Students,
As a teacher who has been “at it” for quite awhile, I can attest to the fact that many times the students becomes the teachers and the teacher becomes the student! In 1999, I assigned a project to my 7th and 8th grade art students…design an artwork that will educate the public about a global social justice issue. Little did I know that such a small idea could have such life-changing consequences! A group of students led by Charles asked if they could choose “landmines”. I had to admit, I knew little about landmines. I did know that the International Campaign to Ban Landmines had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. The students, Tyler, Kevin and Matthew researched the issue and even invited Vietnam Veteran, Dr. Larry Schwab to speak to our class. The students cleverly designed a sculpture of 500 painted shoes with facts about landmines attached. The sculpture was displayed at our school and eventually traveled to other locales. Why 500? Because at the time, that was the amount of victims EACH WEEK…26,000 A YEAR…a victim every 22 MINUTES!
I will never forget a student named Ryan bringing me a binder of information on the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Landmine Survivors Network and telling me I needed to study it! The students really pushed for a school organization that grew to become PSALM/WVCBL. Kate, Rachel, Molly, Adam, Katherine, David and a host of other students too numerous to name followed. These students had such initiative...I could barely keep up! We soon found ourselves traveling to Iowa to the presidential debates and a conference on landmines. It is there we met Nobel Laureate, Jody Williams, Landmine Survivors Network founders Ken Rutherford and Jerry White and Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines, Tun Channereth. What inspiring role models these folks were! They really went out of their way to educate the PSALM and myself about the issues.
Ken (who lost both legs in Somalia and was Princess Diana’s mine-field guide) and later Jody even came to our school to speak. PSALM students have attended conferences in Washington, D.C., met with national leaders and even Queen Noor of Jordan.
13 years later, and we are still at it! The PSALM students are the reason I periodically find myself in mine fields in distant lands! PSALM/ WVCBL have been represented at conferences in Bosnia, Kenya, Croatia , Jordan , Norway , Colombia and Laos . You have not only educated your own families, classmates and school, but have reached out to others nationally and internationally. As PSALM students, you have collected medical supplies for landmine victims in Nicaragua, provided a prosthetic device for a young Bosnian landmine victim and Laotian cluster bomb victim, raised funds to train mine detection dogs and sponsored three water wells in mine-affected regions of Cambodia. You have been recognized by the International Bureau of Peace in Geneva, Switzerland as well as the Conference of Catholic Bishops (who are on the steering committee for the U.S Campaign to Ban Landmines). PSALM have made presentations for local state organizations and at the Pope John Paul II Center in Washington, D.C. It is a true testament to the perseverance of children who only want to see a world that is more just and peaceful for ALL!
As we celebrate the 13 year anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty Entry Into Force, I want to take a moment to extend my sincere appreciation for ALL of your hard work and efforts. PLEASE know that EACH and EVERYONE of YOU stands as a role model of courage and determination for all of us. It is an honor to know and work with you all. There is a lot of work ahead of us (especially U.S.!) but don’t forget to savor this special moment in time when the seemingly impossible became possible! To paraphrase a Margaret Mead quote, never doubt that a group of committed citizens can change the world!
My gratitude and thanks to all of YOU that “Make It Happen”!
Ms. Sheets, PSALM Coordinator
MONSIGNOR MAREK/HOLY SEE REPRSENTATIVE AT LAO MSP
As coordinator I was honored to represent PSALM/WVCBL at the 1st Meeting of States Parties (MSP) to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Lao PDR. The 1st MSP began with an opening ceremony in which we made our way to the Cultural Palace in a procession along a road lined shoulder to shoulder with smiling children waving flowers to greet us. It was an unbelievable welcome. Over 100 countries were represented at the ceremony. The President of the Lao PDR appealed to us as delegates to seize the great opportunity before us to realize the objectives and goals of the Convention to Ban Cluster Munitions. The Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, followed, emphasizing in particular the impact of the convention in relation to the Lao PDR, the partnership between governments and civil society as a hallmark of the convention, and the importance of survivor participation in the process. A screening of a short film “From Vision to Action,” depicting the effects of the use of cluster munitions and work being done to implement the ban followed. Mr. Thoummy Silamphan, a cluster munition survivor from Lao’s Xiengkouang province, recounted the story of his injury from cluster munitions at the age of eight, when he lost his left hand after a cluster bomb exploded in the bamboo shoots he was gathering in his village. Mr. Silamphan’s words were a powerful reminder of the impacts of cluster munitions on individuals and the potential for the Convention to bring about significant improvements to their lives. The official Conference began with opening statements from the UN Deputy Secretary General, Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, the Vice President of the ICRC, Ms. Christine Beerli, and Thomas Nash on behalf of the CMC. During the MSP, we were offered the opportunity to go into affected areas. I cannot understate the impact of our field trip to Xieng Khouang province which is one of the most heavily bombed areas in the Lao PDR. While there we witnessed cluster munition clearance operations ongoing by UXO Lao and the destruction of cluster munitions. It was powerful and truly life changing to see the extent of the contamination first hand. As a teacher, what was particularly distressing was the close proximity of a school near this area. As I watched the children play, I could only wonder how often they came into contact with these remnants of war. I could easily imagine how the curiosity of a child would lead them to investigate these “bombies”. After all, they look more like a clump of clay or a dirty tennis ball. Many of the victims happen upon them while partaking of their daily activities. We were permitted to view the clearance team as they used metal detectors for surface clearance to detect weapons underground. When bombs are found, they were detonated either with a fuse or by an electrical charge. Seeing first-hand the painstaking work of deminers, looking at the pock-marked earth and feeling the shock of a blast even from a safe distance gave us a better sense of the reality of the cluster bomb problem that people face every day. While in Vientiane, we were reminded of the long-term devastation cluster munitions cause when, during the course of the meeting, a cluster submunition explosion in Lao PDR's Bolikhamxay province killed a 10-year-old girl and injured her 15-year-old sister.
Throughout the week, meetings were held to clarify issues of the Convention on Cluster Munitions including victim assistance, clearance and risk education. COPE, the National Rehabilitation Center, hosted a wheelchair basketball game with survivors. It allowed us, as delegates, to view the centers’ facilities which are designed to work with the victims in their process of rehabilitation.
The Vientiane Action Plan, adopted at the end of the meeting, commits to "implement fully all of the obligations under the Convention". In addition, it speeds up deadlines and sets budgets and targets to make it happen. At the closing ceremony of the Vientiane meeting, a delegation of survivors and a delegation of youth leaders from around the world each delivered strong declarations affirming their commitment to carry forward the campaign and hold governments to account. Attending the 1st MSP was a sobering experience that made me realize the importance of the work of PSALM students which is educating others about the devastation caused by these weapons. Campaigners, including PSALM/WVCBL will continue to urge ALL countries to “get on board” the treaties to ban cluster bombs and landmines.
Pope Welcomes Cluster Munitions Ban
It was with "great contentment" that Benedict XVI observed the first day of the worldwide ban on cluster munitions, which took effect on Sunday. The Vatican participated in the talks that led to the international agreement, focusing upon the "logic of peace." A total of 107 states have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), adopting its ban in May 2008. The convention prohibits “all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of Cluster Munitions." On Aug. 1, the agreement became binding in international law. However, countries such as the United States, Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan did not sign it. Both Iraq and Afghanistan, where wars are currently taking place, are signatories to the ban but have not yet ratified it. The Holy Father welcomed the news, saying that his first thought goes to “the numerous victims who have suffered and continue to suffer serious physical and moral injuries, even loss of life, from these insidious explosives.”
"With the entry into force of the new Convention, to which I exhort all states to comply, the international community has demonstrated wisdom, foresight and the capacity to pursue a meaningful result in the field of disarmament and international human rights. He concluded by saying that it is his "hope and encouragement" that States continue to work in this way "with ever greater vigor, for the defense of dignity and human life, for the promotion of integral human development, for the establishment of a peaceful international order and for the realization of the common good of all people and all nations." In an accompanying Sunday statement, the Vatican highlighted its commitment to the process which led to the convention. It reported the Holy See’s close participation with the other states and said the Holy See was one of the first states to call for a moratorium on the munitions and to ratify the document that entered into force on Sunday. The Vatican is highly committed to the cause, reads the statement, "in the conviction that the logic of peace is stronger than the logic of war, which in every case must have as an insurmountable limit the protection and preservation of the civil population, and particularly the most vulnerable people."
Holy See Representative and Ms. Sheets,