Corrections or additions?
This article was prepared for the
April 25, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
From a Peruvian Prison
This is an understated story of stunning heroism,"
writes former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark in his afterword
to Rhoda Berenson’s book "Lori: My Daughter, Wrongfully Imprisoned
in Peru" (Context Books, 2000). "This is the story of two
heroic women, a mother and her daughter. It is a story of the struggle
for truth over power, innocence against false witness, of a Good
traveling by choice and unafraid in a very violent, repressive
Rhoda Berenson visits Barnes & Noble in MarketFair to sign and talk
about her book and her daughter’s continuing imprisonment on Tuesday,
May 1, at 7 p.m.
Berenson’s book opens on the Friday evening in December, 1995, when
she returned home after teaching her physics class at Nassau Community
College and received a phone call from the U.S. Embassy in Peru. She
was told that President Fujimori had appeared on television
brandishing her 26-year-old daughter’s passport and that her daughter
had been arrested and charged with treason against that country. On
that evening the life of Rhoda Berenson, and that of her husband and
Lori’s father Mark Berenson, who taught statistics at Baruch College
in New York, became transformed.
Raised in New York City and educated at public schools, Lori Berenson
attended M.I.T. where she studied science and anthropology, and sung
in the chamber chorus. In her freshman year, 1988, she made her first
visit to El Salvador with a Quaker group. The following year, on a
subsequent trip there with her M.I.T. faculty mentor, Martin Diskin,
Lori experienced first-hand the kidnapping and brutal murder of her
host. This experience, writes her mother, more than any other, changed
Lori. She took an extended leave from M.I.T. and returned to Central
America in 1990.
"She had decided to devote her life to issue of peace and
justice," writes her mother. "Lori was deeply affected by
conditions of poverty and hunger, and refused to remain silent when
she saw abuse or the denial of basic human rights. She had recently
obtained press credentials in Peru in order to write articles about
poverty and women’s issues for two small American magazines, and she
was conducting interviews with members of the Peruvian government and
Lori Berenson was accused and convicted of assisting the rebel group,
Movimiento Revolutionario Tupac Amaru. Despite the full-scale effort
of her parents, who recruited Ramsey Clark to travel to Peru to help
negotiate this U.S. citizen’s release, Lori Berenson was convicted
by a hooded, anonymous military judge and sentenced to life in prison
with no possibility of parole. Although President Alberto Fujimori
has since fled Peru and a new trial for Berenson is in progress, she
remains imprisoned in Peru. And day by day, advocate by advocate,
her family works tirelessly for her release.
Author and mother signs and talk about her book, "Lori: My
Wrongfully Imprisoned in Peru." Free. Tuesday, May 1, 7 p.m.
of "Brigadoon." Children, ages 6 to 13, audition on Saturday,
May 5; principal dancers audition on Sunday, May 6. Auditions are
by appointment at Kelsey Theater, Mercer Community College. Call
production of "Six Degrees of Separation" on Sunday and
May 6 and 7, at the William Mount-Burke Theater, Peddie School,
Call for appointment, 609-490-7550.
Whorehouse in Texas" on Sunday, May 6, at the Ritz Theater, 915
White Horse Pike, Oaklyn. To schedule, call 856-858-5230.
Brian Wolk Playwriting Award in memory of the actor Christopher Wolk,
who died last summer. The winning author of a new American play
$1,000. Deadline is Friday, June 1. Call 212-736-6604.
to share experiences in a study taking one hour. If you have completed
treatment, were diagnosed less than five years ago, read and write
English, and have a high school education or GED, please contact A.T.
Farren at 718-982-3816 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
seniors to learn, share memories, and meet new friends in classes
on the arts, books, contemporary issues, history, investments, music,
Judaica studies, and health care. Course facilitators are from the
American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim, the Museum of
Modern Art, New York University Hospitals Center, and Columbia
Medical Center. Call toll-free at 877-819-9147 or online at
"The Delaware River Sojourn," on Friday, June 15, through
Saturday, June 23. "2001, A River Odyssey" covers 70 miles
combining canoeing, camping, and educational programs. The trip begins
in Hankins, New York, and ends on New Jersey’s Maurice River. Call
908-996-0230 or www.drbc.net.
on a two-week tour of Eastern Europe focusing on Jewish heritage and
culture of Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, Vilnius, and Riga. Professional
tour guide will lead the group from the Princeton area. Complete
and enrollment through Class A Travel, 425 Wall Street, Princeton;
or call 609-497-0011.
scientific collecting expedition to China to visit the famous fossil
sites at Sihetun. Hailu You of University of Pennsylvania and the
Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology is the guide on the trip
scheduled for Monday, July 23, through Friday, August 3. Call
cruise on the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Sea visiting Naples,
Florence, Pisa, Valletta, Barcelona, and Monte Carlo. Prices,
airfare, begin at $2,499. The cruise begins Friday, August 3. Call
Margie Cortez at 732-257-6662 or www.eastersealsnj.org.
provide catering services during the Instinet Class, a professional
golf tournament at Jasna Polana in Princeton from Monday, June 11
to Sunday, June 17. The money raised benefits children with autism.
vegetables to Lambertville, Princeton Junction, Plainsboro, and
Each one-bushel box of produce provides vegetables for a household
of two to three people for one week. Call 609-737-8899.
classes, beginning in September. Classical ballet, pointe, jazz, tap,
and pre-school for ages 3 to adult. Call 609-737-7596.
day Monday through Friday, July 9 to 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
receive class and individual instruction from Janice Edelman. Call
seeks host families for high school students from France, Germany,
Belgium, Spain, and Denmark for the upcoming school year. Students
arrive in late August, attend local high schools, and return to their
home country in June. Call 800-347-7575 or visit www.aiysep.com.
Day Parade to be held on Saturday, May 26, on Princeton Avenue,
at 9:15 a.m. Call 609-921-3800.
the Underground Railroad in New Jersey. Any information including
diaries, letters, and oral traditions welcomed. Call 609-292-6077
or E-mail njhc@.sos.state.nj.us.
low-income neighborhoods of New York City this summer. Call
or visit www.freshair.org.
Muscular Dystrophy Association. Participants ride over 260 miles on
motorcycles. Registration packets are available at area
dealerships or by calling 215-773-8081.
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