Wednesday, November 30, 2005

a candle for river

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned Riverbend yet. She’s a very intelligent, very articulate Iraqi woman writing from Baghdad. She’s kept her weblog since about the beginning of the American occupation.

It’s not getting better.

Since I’ve been offline for a while, I’ve missed several of her latest entries. She stopped updating regularly for several months, right around the Iraqi elections – I got the impression she was just burned the hell out from the madness and needed a break. Lately she’s been writing some powerful, brave words – words that need to be said and words that we as Americans need to hear.

She has this to say about white phosphorus.

She has this to say about the torture house in Jadriya recently reported by the AP.

She has this to say about the origin of hatred.

I don’t know that I’ve ever once disagreed with her.

I saw on the news this morning that Operation Iron Hammer has begun, “to clear insurgents from a suspected safe area used to make car and roadside bombs.”

When our military might is directed towards humanitarian campaigns called “Operation Kindness and Compassion,” we might stand a chance at living up to our potential as a nation. Until then, it’s all more violent neofascist propaganda, and I’m sick to my soul that it continues in the name of “freedom.” No one in this sorry situation is free – not Americans, not Iraqis, not Syrians or Iranians or English. Not unless they’re already dead. And the way things seem to be going, death might be the only real freedom we will see from this insanity.

So, would I rather die than be a witness to this madness any longer? No.

No, because of my daughter.

No, because I stubbornly continue to hope that the gradual awakening of this country to the self-fulfilling prophecies of idiot commanders-in-chief will bring our world relief from the atrocities committed in our name.

No, because I can still love, and hope, and work to bring peace to those I see and interact with every day. I know I’m not the only one. And even if there’s only one of us left to feel this painful sense of empathy with the victims of this greedy bloodbath, then it’s worth getting up in the morning to do it.

My candle tonight will be lit for Riverbend. May the universe bless you, sister, and may your grief be eased – even for a little while – by the knowledge that it’s shared by those who weep with you.

1 comment:

james said...

I love the writings of Riverbend. I have been reading her stuff for over a year now. She is brave, courageous and very, very intelligent.