By Cindy Sheehan from Amman
08/20/07 “Camp Casey Peace Institute”
“The statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
– “Chronicle of Young Satan” Mark Twain”
The above quote from Mark Twain is how things have always been throughout the ages and throughout our American experience. These sentiments allowed an entire native population to be virtually wiped out and for black Africans to be enslaved for generations. Who cares if 600,000 Filipinos were wiped out during the Spanish-American War to “liberate” them from Spain, but to really have a coaling station for our Navy, or hundreds of thousands of Japanese slaughtered by the evil h-bomb when those people weren’t even white, Christian Americans? Now this slimy rationale is allowing for the decimation of the Iraqi people and we have killed a million during this war to plant permanent bases there as we have permanent military facilities in Japan and the Philippines to this day.
Our small peace delegation that traveled here to Amman, Jordan to meet with refugees and other prominent Iraqis, like physicians and parliamentarians, have been humbled that these oppressed people would turn to us, their oppressors, for help. That they would trust us enough to know that we will help them says a lot about the Iraqi character and just how desperate they are!
Everyone that we have met stabs me in the heart again. We listen to their stories and we apologize on behalf of our country and they all, without fail, look at us with weary smiles filled with resignation of their fate and say: “inshallah” or “If God wills it.” I wish I had that simple faith, but I can’t believe that any God, except George’s God of hatred, destruction, greed, and murder would “will” what is going on here in the Middle East.
I have already written about Bethena whose body and life were torn apart by an American mortar. When we promised to help her, her response was, “Inshallah.”
I met a woman at a hospital yesterday who was kidnapped, tortured and held for a three hundred thousand dollar ransom. When I told her we were trying to help get a hospital for Iraqi people, run by Iraqis, here in Amman, she quietly said: “inshallah,” through her tears.
We have spent a lot of time with an Iraqi parliamentarian whose 10 cousins were slaughtered after “Hamad” had exposed a secret Shi’a prison that imprisoned, tortured, and killed Sunni. His story is on a documentary called “Death Squads.” When I saw the footage of the carnage where his cousins were killed I looked over at him in shock, and you guessed it, he whispered: “inshallah,” to me.
Our group had a meeting in a Jordanian hospital that is allowing Iraqi doctors to work and help the refugees. The doctors explained to us how, if they had their own 50-bed hospital, they could treat the Iraqi refugees here in Amman at about 40% of the cost of what the Jordanian hospital charges the refugees. The doctors all had horror stories of family members being killed, raped, dismembered, displaced and terrorized. We listened to them vent and explained to them that we were truly sorry and that’s why we are here, to help. “Inshallah.”
The most touching meeting at the hospital was by a prominent Iraqi sheikh who had brought another sheikh of an opposite sect to the hospital after he had survived an assassination attempt. The wounded sheikh lie on the hospital bed while the other sheikh stood guard over him. The doctors brought us into the room to dispel the myth of any prior sectarian strife. The Iraqis wanted to assure us that the violence between Iraqis is caused and encouraged by the Americans who want Iraqis fighting each other to create this chaos that allows America to steal their oil and otherwise destroy their country. The sheikh told me that he was sorry about Casey, but he has lost 8 family members and many more dozens of members of his tribe. He encouraged us Americans to rise up against our country and force our government to end the occupation. I told him that we have been trying very hard, but we will try harder. He looked skeptical, because he knows the will of the American public is not to rise up against our government, and he had that same hopeless look on his face that we have encountered repeatedly, but he bit his tongue and said: “Inshallah.”
As we were leaving the hospital, one of the doctors grabbed my hand and also told me that he was sorry about Casey. In a quiet voice, he told me that even though it is sad for me to have lost a son that it was so that I could lead America towards peace and use my sorrow to help the people of Iraq, “inshallah.” I lost my faith after Casey was killed and it is so profound to witness the faith of the Iraqi people when their country has been decimated for no reason, their national treasures and antiquities destroyed or defiled by barbaric acts, one million people dead, six million people displaced, and so many wounded and ill that can’t access medical care. This trip has been so difficult for us as people with hearts, but it has also reminded me how fortunate we are to live in a country that has been almost virtually free from war on our soil for about 150 years, but also so angry that we allow it to happen to other peoples on their land on an almost continuing basis. Also, to think that anything is going to change if a Democrat gets into office is naïve. Bill Clinton is a Democrat who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis more than George. Throughout US History political parties have interchanged the White House and NOTHING has ever changed. The fascist power elite will always use their puppet in the White House to kill other people for their benefit and profit.
The American military has not been victorious in Iraq and we won’t be as long as we are occupying foreign lands. That is a given. If we allow the occupation to continue for a decade, our way of life, as we know it, will die as the Soviet Union did after their decade long farce in Afghanistan. What we are allowing our government to do in the Middle East dishonors and endangers us all. Like the parliamentarian from the city that was totally shattered by the Marines, Falluja, told me: “You Americans are also being held hostage by your government,” and he is right.
As the sheikh told me: We must rise up. We must assert our need for peace with justice, not only to save our troops who are in harm’s way for Halliburton, et al, but for the dear people of Iraq who never asked for the US to “liberate” them. Our governments don’t care about them, or us, so we must care about each other.
Since this is a piece about faith, I would like to close with a prayer, also from Mark Twain.
“O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale form of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it — for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.” The War Prayer.
Camp Casey Peace Institute