Saturday, February 9, 2008

Kathy Kelly Goes to Amman

Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence never stops moving, she's been in Colorado several times over the last few years. On Feb. 9, she updated peace activists with stories from Amman, Jordan, where she has been witnessing the horrible conditions of Iraqi refugees trying to escape the violence in her own country. One nice thing about Kathy is that she does not minimize the tribulations of formerly rich citizens of Iraq, saying that the upper classes under Saddam are suffering every bit as much as the urban poor. In fact, criminal gangs in Baghdad have been identifying those refugees who might possibly have money left, and kidnapping their relatives so that they can get ransom that will impoverish the victims. The strategy seems as perverted as the ransom-grabbing efforts of Latin American "rebel" groups like FARC, who have been protested in recent weeks by thousands of people who are sick of seeing criminal tactics be touted as something revolutionary.

Kelly described helping a teenage British girl film interviews and testimonials from Iraqis in Amman. After some horribly unnerving stories, the British filmmaker woke from a nightmare muttering "I shouldn't be filming this, I shouldn't be filming this." Kelly's message for Americans in any aspect of the Iraq occupation is, "We shouldn't be causing this." But when we are so numbed as to the impact of our own actions, Kelly said, we ask ourselves "what percent of causation would we be comfortable with?", and decide that we can all live with a little planetary domination as long as we don't have to see the blood.

Kelly will be participating in a peace walk that will travel from Chicago to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Her organization is one that deserves help from all of us.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

When we stop hearing real stories of individual people and how this horror affects them it's too easy to be numb. We do need to support Ms Kelly and creative non-violence movements.

I didn't realize the Republican convention will be in St. Paul. Interesting choice! I wouldn't think they'd choose such a progressive community.

This is a haunting post. Powerful, even in the small amount you shared.