The Lady Speaks

Jenn’s Sunday Sermon

The war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza is escalating, with threats from and against Syria and Iran.

I have no doubt that US forces will be involved in this nightmare before long. In a sick way, I can see this as being GeorgieBoy’s “Great Escape” from Iraq. He’ll simply say the troops are needed. Of course, insurgents in Iraq are vowing to show their solidarity with Hezbollah and Hamas, so either way, our troops are going to be caught up.

Right now, the US military is planning an air evacuation of Americans from Lebanon, roughly 25,000 people, including students holed up at the American University in Beirut. Last night, on a comment thread at Crooks and Liars, someone mentioned a rumor circulating that 2200 Marines are going to be put into Beirut to help quell the attacks by Hezbollah.

Whether that’s true or not, the mere thought of Marines in Beirut again makes me ill. I was 14, almost 15, when the Marine Barracks were blown up by a suicide bomber. 241 American soldiers killed – 220 Marines, 18 seamen from the Navy, 3 soldiers from the Army.

I remember the somber look on Dan Rather’s face, the pictures of the destroyed Barracks, my grandmother calling, my mother trying to find out it such-and-such relative was there, somber parade of flag-draped coffins returning to the US, the memorial service broadcast live on televison, Reagan’s speech, the rain falling…as if God was crying for his fallen warriors.

I remember crying watching it. I was 14, that wonderfully romantic age, when you think everything is wonderful (except your parents) and I had discovered a great fascination for Marines a year earlier, while studying a compressed history of the Marine Corps in school. Now, these men, heroes (though they didn’t know it) in my wildest dreams of weddings and dress blues, had been attacked. Without second thought, I immediately began hating anything to do with Lebanon, with Muslims.

It took a long time to get over, to grow up and recognize that my feelings were bigotry, plain and simple. It took a long time, because there was no alternative story. We didn’t know what the people of Lebanon were feeling, so they weren’t real. They were just nameless, faceless beings – barely human.

My daughter will be 14 in just over two weeks, and she’s fairly used to – but embarrassed by – Mom’s continuing love and fascination with Marines. But, through the magic of the Internet, she is not hearing only one side of a story.

She has met girls her own age in Iraq who are enduring suicide bombings, kidnappings and disappearances of relatives, lack of electricity for most of the day, lack of potable water, and she isn’t blinded to the good that exists in all people, even those our leaders call enemies. She also isn’t blinded to the bad that exists in all people, even Americans.

One day last week, she announced she wanted to try to imagine living as her friends in Iraq do. She asked me to help. We cleared her room of all electronic gadgets – CD player, radio, blow dryer, curling iron, air conditioner, etc. She would only be able to use “pluggable” items for two hours a day…but always a different two hours. Showers would be limited to one every other day, and only for five minutes.

The first day, she got into the plan. She read, she took walks, she played on the trampoline. She even learned to live with conditioner in her hair when her time ran out before she finished showering. The second day, she managed to get her ablutions completed in the time available, started a 1000-piece puzzle, wrote a letter to a cousin in Indiana, and went to her cousin’s softball championship game.

On the third day, she came to me and said it was time to quit.

I was surprised and asked why. Because, she said, everything she was doing was “just camping”. She would never be able to live like her friends because there weren’t suicide bombers, there wasn’t anyone coming to take her family members away, there were no gunshots or raids in the night. Without that, all she was doing was making fun of the suffering of her friends. She didn’t live in fear, and that fear is what makes life unlivable in Iraq. People can adjust to not having electricity, to only having a certain amount of water to shower in, or a certain amount of time to spend on the computer. What they cannot adjust to is the fear that this day, this minute could be their last.

Wow. Pretty grown-up thoughts, huh?

People all over the world are living with that fear, not just in Israel, in Lebanon, in Gaza. Not just Iraq. So, today, for my sons and my daughter – for all the sons and daughters – I pray for peace, that all people may live without fear.

From Visions of Unity:

Wiccan Prayer for Peace
Dona Nobis Pacem

Lady of Peace who hears the cries of the world
Extend your power through me and with me;
Bless those in harms way.
Bless those who are suffering.
Bless those who are dying.
Bless the lost unknowing dead.
Bless those who love.
Bless those who are helping.
Bless those who are scared.
Bless those who can do nothing but wait.
Bless those who are falsely suspected.
Bless those of limited understanding.
Bless those upholding civil liberties.
Bless those who, though well intentioned, do wrong.
Bless the Ancestors
who love and hold us dear;
may we feel their comfort, too.
Bless those who work and pray for peace
throughout the good, green Mother Earth.
Bless us all, hold us safe within your embrace.


So Mote It Be!


July 16, 2006 - Posted by | Civil War, Family, Government, Iraq, Middle East, Protest, Religion, US Military, War


  1. When men squander their waking lives
    God-jawing `bout peace intent on war

    The world’s roads will soon be ruined
    Burdened in mans self strewn ambush

    And our cities will crouch like snipers
    Shelling their own decayed manifestation

    Humanity then becomes the blinded child
    Searching recklessly for its original eyes

    Comment by thepoetryman | July 16, 2006 | Reply

  2. As always, your words leave me nearly speechless. Bravo TPM.

    Comment by PA_Lady | July 16, 2006 | Reply

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