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E'tokmit e'k, rangimarie, hedd, pace, tutquin, shanti, vrede, paquilisli, MNP, Onai rahu, amani, kev sib haum xeeb, shaantiM, hedd, gutpela taim, lalyi, pesca, damai, raha, fred, eirni, pax, mir, peace, heiwa, amn, nabad, rauha,paz, frid, paco, shAnti, paqe, danh tu, ittimokla, rahu, paix, beke, shalom, mnonestotse, kapayapaan
Celebrating the Poetry of Peace

Living In the Bullseye

by Cliff Kindy

Dear Family, Friends and Good People,

This is an open letter to my daughter Miriam.
I invite you to share in the emotions that are entwined in the poetry.

Dear daughter of my blood, compassionate Sister of the human race,

We have raced the wind, side by side on our bikes,
dragging the breath of life into our lungs,

As we hit the marsh flats on the straightaway
headed for Joyfield arm.

I write from the center of the universe, the beginning of creation,
where the Tigris and Euphrates flow together,

At the Garden of Eden, several hundred kilometers south of Baghdad.

My housing rises from the earth between the two rivers,
the Fertile crescent, the birthplace of civilization.

This is the land of Ur, the place from which Sarah and Abraham set
out on a journey that led to the action of faith.

I write from the lands nurtured by the wells of the Spirit,
the sea deeps

From which Jonah was spit out toward Nineveh,
the prayer deeps that carried Daniel, Shadrach and company.

I write from the center of hell, the seething, swirling maelstrom
that threatens to capsize our souls.

I've stood in the pit from which Daniel was pulled away
from the closed jaws of the lions.

I've parked my body here where the U.S. dumped
500 tons of depleted uranium (DU),

Sowing death on the earth for 4.5 million years.

You were with me in the DU-ridden downwind trade winds of Vieques.

We were the largest Christian Peacemaker Teams
presence on the ground ever.

And you, yes, you Sister, are one of the reasons I'm in CPT.

"Daddy, maybe we should make it possible for you to go to Gaza.
Sons and fathers leave home and never return,
you are only going for three months."

I write from today's Auswitzian ovens.

These gases are radioactive and economic.

5000 children a month die from leukemia,
diarrhea and waterborne diseases.

The war brought the cancers and the sanctions
stopped the repair of water treatment plants.

I write from the center of death where the rivers of life
have become the rivers of hell.

Friday I was moved deeply at the Chaldean Christian school
that Peggy and I visited.

The exuberant smiles and handshakes, children 3 to 21,
burst my carefully constructed dam.

I built the dam after Gaza. "As you cross the border into Gaza you cross
the border into hell," Said Rabbi Jeremy. It was brutal.

I cried deeper in my soul than I've ever cried before.

One can't live. Too much anger. Too much pain. One must dam the tears.

I strengthened the dam in the memorial building in Acteal,
45 massacred by paramilitaries.

And again on La Framboise Island with the Lakota warriors
protecting their land and people, nonviolently.

I shored it up in Puerto Nuevo Ite as the bananas were planted
and the chickens hatched,

While the band of 500 military and paramilitary still roamed the campo.

I built the dam as high as the Aswan in New Brunswick
with Miigamahan and Geesatanamuk.

Yesterday the high wall was breached by an eroding rivulet
that threatens a flood.

We've worked the floods of Riley and Ft. Wayne,
the storms of Mt. Olive and Mobile, the furies of Culebra and Caimito.

Here The Flood once washed clean, but now the flood, or as Baldwin writes,
"The Fire Next Time," Threatens to engulf us.

The Gulf War burned deep. Etched on our souls, it trained the Oklahoma
City bomber as he plowed under the surrendering Iraqi soldiers for two days

After the cease-fire on the Road of Death.
"It was a turkey shoot," proclaimed the U.S. soldiers as

They brought the war home.
It was reborn in their babies without eyes, organs outside their bodies,

Without brains - and in the D.C. sniper who learned his lessons well.

I write from the land of empires,
built and collapsed Babylon, Assyria, Alexander and Babel.

Here God looked down on the tower.

Here are the ruins of empire, the grave of Alexander.

Dear Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron,
the one who danced as the winds held back the floods,

The one who walked through on dry land,
who watched as the waters terminated empire.

Dear Miriam, Mary, mother of Jesus,
there as the birth waters broke, the healing river.

The one who watched, nurtured, pondered, wept as the crosswinds of
salvation bucked empire and lifted humanity.

The one who probably saw the beginning of the Body gathered,
a resistance to Empire, a witness to the created humanity.

Well, Sister, where is the saving flood?
Where today the healing winds of Pentecost?

As Empire emerges from the wellsprings of Hell,
is there a Body willing to be nailed

To the cross with its Jesus, in resistance to this powerful Legion?
Does the resurrection

Live in the scattered "least of these?"

Miriam, you who held the abandoned ones in your arms
in the Worker houses of San Antonio,

Where are the arms to hold these 23 million,
abandoned for 12 years to the manipulated

Intrigues of oil, money and power?

Here in Iraq are the wells that fuel the engines of empire.

Where are the wells that undergird us deeply enough to battle for
Life in the depths of horror we must enter today?

Compassionate Sister, what is the dance that will
celebrate the waters held back here?

Is he still Lord of the dance?

Love, Dad

©Cliff Kindy
North Manchester Church of the Brethren, is in the IRAQ area
with the Christian Peacemakers Team.

We must allow ourselves the joy of loving through life more than we fear our living.
T.B. Stone

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