March 20……20 years ago

Remembering the United States invasion of Iraq 20 years on. What destruction lay now in its wake?
Peggy Gish sits with over a dozen other peace activists holding a banner across a road on the border of Iraq and Kuwait, the banner reads "Take a Risk, Sit Down for Peace"

5:35. The first blast sounds,
awakens us to the new day,
to the war—the new reality
for the people of Iraq.

I lay on my mat, and cry.
All the pent-up dread and pain
could no longer be held back.

So many, around the world
relentlessly marched, demanded:
Such a war must not happen!
It is senseless and wrong!

There was no justifiable cause,
no threat here to the world,
just a corrupt tyrant,
and a people suffering illness, deprivation
from previous war and sanctions.

What destruction lay now in its wake?

Though we rage and grieve,
we must now rise,
gather the strength of love,
go out, face what has come,
walk with the people,
do what we can to witness and help,
and tell the grizzly truths about war.

Each day brings the night bombing’s toll.
We see the wounded in hospital beds,
pellets from cluster bombs in walls and flesh,
and craters in the market streets.
We listen to those pouring out grief
at their loved ones’ deaths.

And then there are the lies, the cover ups
of bringing democracy, security to Iraq,

when the security sought is for US personnel,
securing the oil and “freeing” the market
for western appropriation and wealth,
and for ongoing military control,
while leaving this ancient, yet modern, society
perilous and shattered.

How can our small group
(like David, in face of Goliath)
stand up to this empire of might and greed,
support the people finding strength—yes wings
to fly like the phoenix from the ashes,
call out the sham of excessive violence,
rebuild, embracing ways of justice, peace—
—that there never be another war?

We grieve with them
and walk along with them
as we can
in the months and years ahead.

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