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.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

What's Happening

Received from Cliff on Monday, Nov. 22.

Dear Friends, Family, and All Good People,

I trust you to keep up with the news, but I suspect that much that happens here in Iraq escapes the notice of the newsmakers in other places. So I want to start by sharing some of the daily events.

Not so daily is the announced release yesterday of our colleague and friend Theresa, a Polish Iraqi who has worked in justice issues! A photo on a Yahoo News item showed her at a press conference in Poland. CPT Iraq held a memorial service and sent out a release this week for Margaret, another kidnappee. Last night two of us were at a church with her family for her memorial mass.

A friend stopped by to give the testimony of the disappearance of his cousin. The cousin and four companion laborers, their driver, and foreman disappeared when delivering a truckload of water to Al Taji military base for Iraqi troops. A check of police stations, morgues, hospitals and a grilling of people along that route turned up nothing. We explained that, if US forces had detained them, they wouldn't be placed on the public detainee list for two weeks. We told them the process to check at their local Information Center and the one inside the Green Zone.

Saturday, I heard an explosion, raced to the rooftop, and saw the smoke from what turned out to be a car bomb that targeted a police cruiser and killed an officer and five civilians.

Following Friday prayers at the Abu Hanifa Shrine in Adumiya District of Baghdad, US forces cordoned off the area and Iraqi National Guard troops raided the most prominent Sunni mosque in the city. Forces killed a religious leader and three others and detained 41 people. We feared for Sheik Moayad, a regular contact of CPT in that district that has been frequently under assault by US forces since the invasion. Moayad had been 7 years in prison under the Sadaam Hussein rule and was anticipating a change of spirit across the land. He is presently okay, but the raid would be like an assault by Muslim storm troopers (if there were such) on St Peter's Square in the Vatican following a holiday mass by the pope. It WILL NOT calm the resistance.

One of the translators of our written materials into Arabic experienced a robbery of her shop about a week ago. A woman with two children entered her shop after dark, got her preoccupied and made off with money, phone, identity cards, and her trust. This week the mother of the translator returned from her pilgrimage to Mecca. Her bus was traveling through an area south of Baghdad controlled by Wahabi, Sunni Muslim militants. Armed persons in vehicles pulled alongside the bus trying to force it off the road. The driver told passengers to duck and he sped on. The cars dropped back and stopped a trailing small car instead. An AP news report this week noted that bounties are out for Shia Muslims, Iraqi security persons, and US citizens, $1000, $2000, and $3000 respectively, per person, dead or alive. A friend visiting last night said, "No, it is $30,000 for Americans. Unemployment at 70% enables the growth of alternative industries like this and encourages the Mafia to move into Iraq, a country without any order, just as happened in the former Soviet Union. The US must begin to pay Iraqis to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed in the war and occupation.

This week has been unique! One day we had 15 hours straight of electricity from the grid! Sure, most of it was at night, but we think it sets a record back to before the US invasion. Okay, the grid electricity went off as I was shaving this morning at 7am, and we don't have much generator electricity because of long lines and high costs, but. J

At the Communist Party office nearby we went to hear about election plans. (Yesterd, news reports intimated that they might be delayed for three months!) Instead the person we talked to told us of an attack against a member of their Politburo. The attackers killed the ranking party member and his two companions. The office suspected former Iraqi security personnel because the body was mutilated as well.

Have I inspired you to prayer yet? We have started a weekly day of prayer and fasting - Tuesdays until Easter. We will gather at 5pm Iraqi time and invite people around the world to join us. Included will be some weekly action suggestions to put feet on our prayers. Check the CPTNet listings or a blog we will have up shortly for weekly details. Prayer changes things and, if our complementary actions convince God that our prayers are serious, God will join us.

In the prayer and action,

Cliff Kindy


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