Roller Coaster, January 27, 2008 Letter
Dear Friends, Family and All Good People,
These last few weeks have been a roller coaster ride of emotions as one minute we are confident we have the NGO approval in hand and then are clear we don't. Those papers are essential for being able to continue our CPT work here. This past week it became clear to us that a security incident with the team last year had rolled the process up into a new arena. We would need to get involvement from US officials and from the higher levels of the Kurdish government.
At the same time we were offered a one-month visa, after going for nearly two months without any, to assist us in obtaining the NGO papers. With that visa came a list of activities that would not be approved or allowed under the visa. It was clear to me that both the timing of the offer and the restrictions were unusual and must have been triggered by a decision at a higher level. I felt unable to compromise my CPT activities to that extent and am presently exploring whether I can negotiate some flexibility. I plan to be here in Suleimaniya two more weeks and maybe should have swallowed my principles.
At this point all work with the border villages after the US-supported bombing by Turkey is on hold until we discover where the unexplained glitch in the NGO process is located. That is unfortunate since we were very close to having support for the process of accompanying villagers back to their communities for their protection and to open a space for dialogue instead of violence between the actors in that horror.
The CPT open letter to US officials explaining our deep concerns about US logistical support of those cross border Turkish raids is printed in an earlier blog. We still encourage you to contact legislators with your concerns and write about those events in your local newspaper. Feel free to publish the letter as an opinion page piece.
Some of you may have read in the news about the huge explosion in Mosul when an abandoned apartment building holding explosives and weapons was detonated. Two different news releases reported that Kurdish Peshmerga or US military had earlier placed barrels of explosives in the building. Apparently they didn't know how many other explosives were in the building and take precautions to warn neighbors. One hundred homes within two kilometers were destroyed by the blast. Forty people died at last report and about 170 were injured. Please check the news you can find on this as well. It seems to have been the trigger to send huge numbers of Iraqi and US troops to Mosul for the "last important battle in Iraq against Al Qaeda."
As I near my time to leave Iraq, I am open to receiving invitations to speak about my experiences here as well as with other CPT projects in earlier years. You can email me: email@example.com or phone: 260-982-2971.
Let me close with a prayer I sent this week to Susan Mark Landis for an Iraq Concerns email prayer circle:
"Merciful God, may your reign come here on earth as in heaven," prays the displaced Muslim family that lost a mother in the US-supported Turkish bombing. "All Powerful God, we long for your reign here on earth as it is in heaven," the PKK Communist believer prays from her mountain cave, hiding from the Turkish attacks, purportedly against PKK terrorists. "Redeeming God, we long for your reign here on earth as in heaven," prays the Turkish fighter pilot as his crew targets the Kurdish sites supplied by US intelligence. "God of Justice, we pray for your reign here on earth as in heaven," prays the US Jewish officer from the surveillance base chapel before he heads home from work. "God of Mystery, we pray for your reign to come here on earth as in heaven," prays the CPT team as they consider a proposal to accompany displaced families back to their homes in the Kandil Mountains.
God, I don't envy your ears. I don't know how to anticipate how you might surprise all of us. I suspect I will have to change or be changed. Prepare us all for your life in the transformation you are already bringing into our midst. Amen.
Well, blessings of peace to each one of you!