Posted by Stella from dsc06-chc-il-5-65.rasserver.net (18.104.22.168) on Sunday, March 23, 2003 at 0:22AM :
March 19, 2003
IRAQ: Final thoughts - 19 March, 7pm
[Note: Ramzi Kysia works with the Iraq Peace Team, of which the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq is a part. Kysia, a Muslim-American peace activist, served with the Hebron team in the winter of 2002. His letter has been
edited for length.]
To all my family and friends,
So we're getting down to it, now, and who knows what the coming hours and days and weeks will bring? This is going to be my final message for the next few days - at least. . . . One of the hardest parts of being here, during this time, is the worry that I know I'm causing all of you.
Today was interesting. You'd think there should be some significance to this
day, some great import given to it by the people of Baghdad, by the suffering so many here have been through over these long years, by the evil that is about to be committed here soon - but there hasn't been
anything particularly significant . . .
In some ways, Baghdad today felt like a city preparing for a hurricane. No panic, or even great urgency, but less people on the streets & those that were around quietly preparing for what's to come - taping windows against the shock blasts, cleaning up their businesses & putting away supplies.
It's been very peaceful.
I too am at peace. I mourn for the destruction that is imminent. I mourn for
all the people who will soon die. But I delight in the beauty of everything
around me, and bask in the fellowship of my precious friends here - both
the Iraqis and internationals. . .
I believe that, like the vast majority of people here, I will survive this
storm. But, who knows? I can't say I'm not in danger. I am in danger - as are 24 million other human beings who are no different from me except that they do not have the option of leaving.
After September 11, our politicians seemed to positively delight in exclaiming that "they" (whoever "they" may be) would "reap the whirlwind." It's an apt metaphor, but I tremble to know that, in the end, this wind reaps us all.
You've asked what good it does for me to be here, to put myself in this storm. And the only answer I can possibly give you is to gently insist that - though you may be removed by many miles from this epicenter - you are not outside the Storm. There is no place outside of it. There is no safe
haven. This wind reaps us all.
If we will not stand against war, and destruction, and death, then we,
as a race - as the human race - will surely perish from this earth. And I love
you all too much to let that happen.
We humans, for all our petty troubles and fears - we are simply too beautiful to let that happen.
Know that I love each and every one of you, and that I cherish all that we have been through together, and that I have no regrets whatsoever (aside from not getting kissed by Sarah Van Allen in the 3rd grade - that, I'm
afraid, I do still regret :-)
I'm where I need to be, and. . .I feel truly honored to be here. . . .
ps: btw, if I do live, I expect sushi dinners every night for a week
when I get back home - and lots of chocolate.
**THE PEACE AND HUMAN RIGHTS STRUGGLE CONTINUES...TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! PLEASE, TAKE ACTION FOR PEACE!!!
STAY INFORMED!! www.unitedforpeace.org www.internationalanswer.org www.chicagoanswer.org www.moveon.org www.nion.org
Some organizations you may want to contact to be better informed:: CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE & DEMOCRACY 212-666-5924; PeaceNet (online); Veterans Speakers Alliance 415-255-7331; War Resisters League 212-228-0450; Amnesty International 212-807-8400; Human Rights Watch 212-972-8400;
Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights and Services 415-243-8215;
IF WE JOIN WITH OTHER PEOPLE, WE CAN MAKE CHANGES BECAUSE WE WILL BE STRONGER!!! YOU MAY ALSO LOOK UP BOOKS WHICH WILL HELP YOU GET STARTED. Howard Zinn's YOU CAN'T BE NEUTRAL ON A MOVING TRAIN; Michael Albert's STOP THE KILLING TRAIN: RADICAL VISIONS FOR RADICAL CHANGE
I read about these books in Noam Chomsky's SECRETS, LIES AND DEMOCRACY. I invite you to do the same. Thank you _______________
Christian Peacemaker Teams is an initiative among Mennonite and Church of the Brethren congregations and Friends Meetings that supports violence reduction efforts around the world. Contact CPT, POB 6508
Chicago, IL 60680; Telephone: 773-277-0253
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