Camilo Mejia

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Camilo Mejia

Camilo Mejia

"I was a coward, not for leaving the war, but for having been a part of it in the first place."

Camilo Mejia was a former StaffSergeant in the U.S. Army, who comes from a Nicaraguan family who moved to the United States. Camilo was never a U.S. citizen, but he enrolled at the University of Miami to study phycology and Spanish. However, since his family was unable to afford to pay for his school, Camilo enlisted in the United States Army and attended school on a military scholarship. When the Iraq War started, Camilo was called up to serve overseas, where he was on the front lines of the war. Camilo did not understand the reasons for the war, but he did his duty. However, when he came home on furlough he realized he could not go back. “Going home gave me the opportunity to put my thoughts in order and to listen to what my conscience had to say…. I thought of the suffering of a people whose country was in ruins and who were further humiliated by the raids, patrols and curfews of an occupying army." He deserted from the army and did not go back to Iraq. Camilo was subsequently arrested and court martialed, being charged with desertion, and then sentenced to a year in jail at the Fort Sill military detention center. Amnesty International saw him a prisoner of conscience and the organization Refuse and Resist awarded him with their Courageous Resister award. When he was released from prison, Camilo then joined the organization Iraq Veterans Against the War, and subsequently protested and spoke against the war. He then proceeded to write a book titled "The road Ar Ramadi: the private rebellion of StaffSergeant Mejia".


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