Sunday, November 11, 2007

an unknown angel

...left this pair of attached angels in my garden last summer when Israel had invaded Lebanon and was bombing indiscriminately. To me, this unexpected gift was--and is--a sign of hope in the dark. I know the despair in my heart lightened when I found these angels gracing the ground. They were left by the orange lily (also a gift) that I planted in the earth for sustenance, an orange lily of hope for peace in Lebanon.

I christened the 2-headed angels, "Us" and "Them" because we are all both. Everyone on earth is both "us" and "them" at the same time. There is no division. We don't live apart. Our hearts beat together. No surgery can cut apart our Siamese twinness.

By so naming this gift of grace, I reclaim the 'us and them' war-making rhetoric of US policy that has infected many a reader of mainstream media. That creates a false divide based on fear and ignorance--and a whole lot of greed and capitalism.

Now, as you can see, one of the angels has a broken wing. That means we have work to do in healing the wounds of war that are drumming fear and hate into hearts.

Below, is my letter to the editor that was published yesterday (Sat. Nov. 10) in our local newspaper, The Chronicle Journal. I wrote it in response to a woman's letter. Her letter was a support-"our"-military response to an article the CJ wrote about the local peace group (of which I am part). We went out leafleting on the national day of action to draw support to get Canadian troops out of Afghanistan. The CJ article was very well-written, and they published 2 great photos. The letter to the editor, however, was ....let's just say, not angelic in spirit. Here is my response:

In answer to being told that “protesters… talk about things that they don’t know about.”

Most citizens who take an oppositional stance to the government’s deployment of Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan have to be informed. It’s not easy standing for peace today. Desiring diplomacy rather than death—there is no sugar coating military operations; people, civilians, “insurgents,” soldiers, animals, and environments die—puts a Canadian citizen on the defensive these days.

I know because I have had to defend the dove numerous times. Defend the freedom to demand peaceful solutions, not military solutions.

I’ve done my homework; so have lots others like me. We’ve cut through the rhetoric, the Dept. of National Defence’s million dollar plus "communication strategy response to operations in Afghanistan" (i.e. pro-military media campaign). We’ve resisted pressures to tow the patriotic line, at work, at board meetings, in our neighbourhoods, even in our homes.

I do know of what I speak. I do know of risk. That is why I take my words and my body out on the street, into the public eye, write letters to the prime minister, my MP, to this newspaper. I risk to say: No to War. I dearly wish that no one, no matter who, no matter where, has to feel the fear that war brings.

I am for peace because the fear that war creates is beyond
the deepest anxiety.
I know because last summer my entire
family was in
Lebanon when it was invaded and bombed
Israel. Last summer I feared watching the news.
Last summer I feared sleeping. I woke with a start each
morning at 5 am
feeling that something terrible beyond
my control was about to happen.

Well, it was happening. I almost lost my mind.
I know I lost something.

I had post traumatic stress for months after.

Please don’t patronize people by assuming that you know how we think, what we’ve experienced. Tell me what you think, but don’t tell me what I think. That is not democratic.

Peace is not a soapbox, an infection or a protest. It’s a strategy, a dream and a song. I hope people are listening, for the sound of her wings.

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