Cliff Kindy Iraq Blog

Current entries are related to Cliff Kindy's fourth Iraq trip, beginning in October 2007. The blog archives contains letters from Cliff's third Iraq trip in 2004-5.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Cliff #5: Difficulty Will Make Us Stronger

November 28, 2004

Dear Friends, Family, and All Good People,

It is a bright, sunny day in Iraq. I can see my breath on the rooftop and it is 62 degrees in the office. Three mortars and what looks to be a car bomb have hit the Green Zone already this morning before 9am. The interim Iraqi Government building is a target, judging from rooftop observation.

Shortly after arriving in Iraq, I finished reading Robert Cole's The Moral Life of Children. On page 93 he quotes from George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier: '.many of the qualities we admire in human beings can only function in opposition to some kind of disaster, pain, or difficulty.' Cole goes on to argue about the word "only," based on his own observations of children in very tragic circumstances.

Orwell's words resonate with my experiences here in Iraq. Sheila and Tom visited Father Yousif, a Dominican priest, at St Joseph's Church this past Wednesday. He spoke of Gandhi, King, and Mandela as people who had the courage to dream, then concluded with, "Iraq needs such people." Across Iraq, people are creatively rising to the challenges that Iraq faces. The difficulties make us more than we would usually be.

Yes, obstacles can drive us to flatten Fallujah, if it stands in our way, but they also draw from us the bold nonviolent opposition voiced by the peaceful crowd calling for the end of the US occupation - an act in volatile Adhumiya District that impelled the US tanks to withdraw. Last year we CPTers had identified Husain, a teacher, human rights worker from Kerbala, as the next Badshah Khan (Gandhi's colleague from north India) of Islam. Husain has been birthed from the difficulties. What need is there for a Gandhi, King, or Mandela if life is smooth?

This week there is rising resistance to the scheduled January election of an Iraqi National Assembly of 275 members. There had been a boycott call from Sunni parties as the assault on Fallujah developed, but now even major parties are joining the push. A friend who works regularly with US soldiers and contractors wants the election to go as scheduled because "It is a start." Our Thanksgiving dinner degenerated into a disagreement between the Sunni and Shi'a guests over the timing and validity of the election. It was interesting to note that the Iraqis had the deepest thankfulness to express as we shared around the table!

We hear of more kidnapped Iraqis. Friends of close neighbors experienced a kidnapping with a ransom of $20,000. The husband was released with the payment and the family plans to move to Jordan. Another friend has two co-workers who were kidnapped recently. They released themselves (!) unharmed. The 11-year-old son of another friend lives with his grandmother so he is closer to his school and less likely to face kidnapping.

Join us for our Tuesday fast, prayer and action day. Check for the reflection focus and the suggested action. Feel free to invite others to join us weekly until Easter.

We downgraded our security alert yesterday. We won't change our cautionary, low profile presence, but we want to recognize the change in danger that we sense.

This week we have been only 2 - 6 hours daily on the electrical grid. Some communities in Baghdad get only 1-2 hours daily. On a trip to spend the night with friends, Tom and Maxine noted a line of cars to a gas station that was two to three miles long. We have not been able to get gas for the cook stove for the past two weeks. Oh, and this country has the largest petroleum reserves in the world next to Saudi Arabia.

To look at the bright side of the situation, we can only expect that this difficult US occupation will only generate dozens of Mandelas, Iraqi and elsewhere. They will throw off the occupying empire and build a new society on the rubble of destruction. Would that the Church had such impetus and vision!

Praying and working for that Day,

Cliff Kindy


Blogger Bill Adams said...

Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

Semper Fi!

Bill Adams

1:45 AM  

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