20 March 2006


Yesterday was a difficult day for me. It was emotional and yet I had to be happy all day for LightBoy. It was, you see, his 9th birthday. I did not want to let my sadness and worry impact his joy. Birthdays are a joyous event for children, even those which are not their own.

So at the same time as I had to celebrate and remember his birth. I was commemorating and grieving the loss of another child far away. Rania's funeral was Saturday and we memorialized her in church on Sunday. I know that all over the world other children died yesterday, but this was a personal loss. I am angry that God has chosen to take yet one more piece of Hosnea's life away from her. Who am I to know what His purposes are? But at this particular moment, this seems mean. Perhaps, as
my friend P3T3 says, I will come to learn that it was necessary, but I am struck now with the loss.

And, this year, as for the last three years, I have had to commemorate and grieve the general loss of Iraqi and American lives in a war which I believe to be wrong. This year was a bit different however. My church has taken an Iraqi refugee family under it's wing. This family is destitute and has come here as a result of the war. They invited us all to lunch yesterday. So a bunch of us went. The food was delicious. The conversation was interesting and turned (of course) to the war. Their perspective was very interesting. As Shia Muslims in a Sunni country run by the Baath party they had been subjected to torture and shakedowns and all sorts of horror. They were grateful for the release of their country from the fist of Saddam Hussein. They had tears in their eyes when they spoke of this. I sort of felt ashamed of myself sitting here in my easy life, with my soft pacifism. It's easy for me to be pacifist. There is no one holding a gun to my head. No one burning my brother with an iron for not "paying up." I love this family and enjoy getting to know them. The woman of the house stood and gave an impassioned speech about what it means to be Muslim. It was beautiful.

I'm still against the war. I think there were probably other ways of "dethroning" Hussein. Afterall, we put him in power ourselves in the late-70's or early 80's. He was there under our steam if you want the truth. What really galls me lately as I think about it is the very idea that we, a country of 200+ years are going to tell this people how to govern themselves. This is the people who (does anyone remember this?) gave us Hammurabi's Code. Every single industrialized nation on the planet can trace the roots of it's legal code back to Hammurabi. Even the 10 Commandments are based on this ... if you take God out of the mix. Then there's Utnapishtim ... that's right. You do know him. But you probably know him better as Noah. Abram brought this story with him when he came out of Ur (in what is now modern day Iraq)*. The oldest written myth in the world is the story of Gilgamesh .... yes, it came from Ur as well. Thousands and thousands of years ago. Most of our legal and moral codes can be traced in one way or another back to these people, yet we think that we have something to teach them? I think that's the definition of arrogance.

So ... yesterday I was very conflicted and I'm glad I can just be myself today.

*You can read more about this in The Gifts of the Jews by Thomas Cahill


Blogger Mike said...

An eloquent description of a complicated situation, Sonja. Thanks for sharing it, and I hope your 'today' is more shalomey than your 'yesterday'.

3/20/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Croghan said...

I'm right there with you on feeling conflicted about the war after meeting this wonderful family and hearing their stories. I think God loves to connect us with folks who will shake our convictions a little when we're getting too attached to and proud of them. So, thanks, God. You jerk. ;-)

But definitely many thanks to the family, for opening their home to us, sharing their far-too-delicious homemade food, and helping to rub some more of the crud off this dark glass we see through.

3/20/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ross said...

Amen to that Mike... and Mike :-)

3/20/2006 05:32:00 PM  

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