Peace and War:

  • I received this via an email listserve from my friend Robert

      From the Community of St. Egidio in Rome.

      – O Lord, we pray you, may the wounds of war, hunger and abandonment which so many people suffer from be healed. We pray you for peace, the salvation of every people, may it come soon.

      – O Lord, bestow your peace upon us, upon our brothers in the world and upon all countries at war. Disarm the hands and the minds of the violent, bend all hearts to the commandments of peace. May peace-building men and women arise in the world.

      – O Lord, you hear the cry of the weak, the orphans and the widows, of the foreigners, help us to show your same compassion and go towards the poor with a generous heart.

      – O Lord, disarm the plans of the violent, make the whole world rise again so that death, terrorism, violence and revenge may no longer rule over the heart of man and peace may reign everywhere. We pray you to protect all countries ravaged by war.

  • CPTnet: IRAQ: Things are not as they seem, part 1 by Jim Loney

    Received via email today from CPT:

      February 17, 2003

      [The author was part of CPT’s December 26-January 9 delegation to Iraq.]

      I expected to see a crater blasted into the earth, smashed concrete, rubble–some obvious sign of destruction.

      We came instead to an immaculately-kept, sand-coloured building. Though windowless and bulky, care had been taken to ease it into the neighbourhood. The entrance was marked by a series of pleasing arches, a mural of pastel geometric shapes to the side. If I had been in Canada I might have guessed that it was an arena.

      This was Baghdad’s Amiriya shelter, part of a network of thirty-four bomb shelters constructed during the Iran-Iraq war. It was here, on February 17, 1991, that two American “smart-bombs” incinerated 408 people.

      We passed under the arches, went through a massive, vault-like portal and stepped into a hellish black cavern. The back of my neck tingled.

      Then I saw it, in the ceiling — what I recognized from pictures — an oval gash of light that poured into black through a curtain of twisted steel. The light illuminated a crater of exploded cement and broken girders.

      As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, the particularities of this horror began to emerge: mangled remnants of electrical and ventilation systems hung from the ceiling; black blotches where the backs and arms and legs of sleeping women and children were charred into the floor; massive concrete pillars stripped to re-bar; ghostly images of human beings seared into walls. Our guide pointed to the outline of a head, shoulder, bent elbow–a woman holding her baby.

      The U.S. military delivered the bombs at 4 o’clock in the morning. According to an Associate Press reporter, “Most of the recovered bodies were charred and mutilated beyond recognition.”

      On the inside, place of agony, atrocity, horror, holocaust. On the outside, just another building. Things are not as they seem.

    That last sentence speaks volumes. Things are often not as they seem, especially during war.