IRAQ: Final thoughts – 19 March, 7pm



March 19, 2003

IRAQ: Final thoughts – 19 March, 7pm

[Note: Ramzi Kysia works with the Iraq Peace Team, of which the Christian

Peacemaker Team in Iraq is a part. Kysia, a Muslim-American peace activist,

served with the Hebron team in the winter of 2002. His letter has been

edited for length.]

To all my family and friends,

So we’re getting down to it, now, and who knows what the coming hours and

days and weeks will bring? This is going to be my final message for the next

few days – at least. . . . One of the hardest parts of being here, during

this time, is the worry that I know I’m causing all of you.

Today was interesting. You’d think there should be some significance to this

day, some great import given to it by the people of Baghdad, by the

suffering so many here have been through over these long years, by the evil

that is about to be committed here soon – but there hasn’t been anything

particularly significant . . .

In some ways, Baghdad today felt like a city preparing for a hurricane. No

panic, or even great urgency, but less people on the streets & those that

were around quietly preparing for what’s to come – taping windows against

the shock blasts, cleaning up their businesses & putting away supplies. It’s

been very peaceful.

I too am at peace. I mourn for the destruction that is imminent. I mourn for

all the people who will soon die. But I delight in the beauty of everything

around me, and bask in the fellowship of my precious friends here – both

the Iraqis and internationals. . .

I believe that, like the vast majority of people here, I will survive this

storm. But, who knows? I can’t say I’m not in danger. I am in danger – as

are 24 million other human beings who are no different from me except that

they do not have the option of leaving.

After September 11, our politicians seemed to positively delight in

exclaiming that “they” (whoever “they” may be) would “reap the whirlwind.”

It’s an apt metaphor, but I tremble to know that, in the end, this wind

reaps us all.

You’ve asked what good it does for me to be here, to put myself in this

storm. And the only answer I can possibly give you is to gently insist that

– though you may be removed by many miles from this epicenter – you are not

outside the Storm. There is no place outside of it. There is no safe haven.

This wind reaps us all.

If we will not stand against war, and destruction, and death, then we, as a

race – as the human race – will surely perish from this earth. And I love

you all too much to let that happen.

We humans, for all our petty troubles and fears – we are simply too

beautiful to let that happen.

Know that I love each and every one of you, and that I cherish all that we

have been through together, and that I have no regrets whatsoever (aside

from not getting kissed by Sarah Van Allen in the 3rd grade – that, I’m

afraid, I do still regret 🙂

I’m where I need to be, and. . .I feel truly honored to be here.

. . .



ps: btw, if I do live, I expect sushi dinners every night for a week when I

get back home – and lots of chocolate.


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