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Iraq Reflection

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    CPTnet March 7, 2005 IRAQ REFLECTION: Out of their mouths, out of their hearts by Anne Montgomery Tanks and airplanes do not frighten me. Our Fallujah is
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      CPTnet
      March 7, 2005

      IRAQ REFLECTION: Out of their mouths, out of their hearts

      by Anne Montgomery

      "Tanks and airplanes do not frighten me. Our Fallujah is ours. We
      will build it with the clay of Fallujah and irrigate it with our
      blood. The American soldiers destroyed my toys and my life, and I
      want them to leave." (Ruah, 10, 5th grade whose name means `vision')

      "If the Americans are strong, why didn't they find Al Zarqawi? Why
      did they destroy my books and games, the children's toys? Is my
      teddy bear Zarqawi? What is our fault? We have five demands before
      we will go home." (Rania, l2, 7th grade)

      These two little girls, echoing adults yet determined and articulate,
      spoke to us at the Baghdad University mosque, next to a large tent
      camp for Fallujah refugees. Even the mosque is partitioned by
      blankets into cubicles. The sheikh explained that the people's
      decision is to remain in the cold and mud until their demands are
      met:

      1. A U.S. apology for the indiscriminate bombing: a man-made
      catastrophe

      2. Restitution amounting to five to ten billion, a small amount
      compared to that given to the victims of Lockerbie.

      3. Departure of U.S. troops

      4. No Iraqi militias from other areas

      5. An invitation to international organizations and media to observe
      and report freely

      The people remaining in Fallujah have even rejected or
      burned "charity" associated with the interim government or others
      seen as collaborators with the U.S. Those attempting to return to
      their city sometimes wait in line all day, only to have the
      checkpoints closed at 3:00 p.m. The soldiers also warn them that the
      munitions and gas used in the attack poisoned the water and all their
      belongings.

      Each tent holds a story: an eighteen-year-old son disappeared; a
      family of nine crowded into a cell sized tent, the girls trying to
      study for mid-year exams in the camp school while one washed her hair
      on the ground; friends unaccounted for; a man hospitalized for a
      destroyed face. But everyone communicated the determination to take
      control of their own lives and own city, to rebuild and protect it
      themselves.

      And everywhere children were children: playing, hugging, questioning,
      smiling, asking for a message in their notebooks. Their parents
      welcomed us more thoughtfully, but distinguished us as friends from
      our government of enemies.

      The sheikh, concerned for our safety after a recent kidnapping, sent
      the four of us home in the university bus with drawn curtains and
      three unarmed escorts. The search for real security in such a
      volatile mix of memory and loss, anger and fear, can lead either to
      more conflict or lead to the solidarity of a diverse people
      determined to reclaim their homes and their dignity, to reclaim their
      own land from a blind and violent occupation.

      _______________

      Christian Peacemaker Teams is an initiative of the historic peace
      churches (Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, and Quakers) with
      support and membership from a range of Catholic and Protestant
      denominations. Supporting violence-reduction efforts around the world
      is its mandate.
      Contact CPT, POB 6508 Chicago, IL 60680; Telephone: 773-277-0253 Fax:
      773-277-0291; e-mail: peacemakers@....
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