Beliefnet
Before and during the war in Iraq, Christian Peacemaker Teams a program of Brethren, Quaker and Mennonite Churches, posted delegations of volunteers there to educate the public and "get in the way" of military attacks. During the war, Beliefnet published a running diary written from Baghdad by some of the volunteers. Today, a few of those same "human shields" are back in Iraq, still protesting the American military presence.

This entry is from Cliff Kindy, 53, an organic farmer and full-time member of Christian Peacemaker Corps from North Manchester, Ind. Kindy was in Baghdad during the war and returned there recently.


Here in Baghdad we are into the fifth day with almost no electricity fromthe power grid across the city. We have only about 12 hours ofelectricity from our own generator each day. There are rumors that attacksagainst the power lines have taken out the major supply stations. Perhapsnothing is in the news because the party line is that conditions acrossIraq are improving. Diesel deliveries are one-fifth what they were twomonths ago. Shortages are driving prices up dramatically. News reportsnote a "rash" of attacks against the oil pipeline network. Iraqis see asociety devastated by the war becoming even worse.

Early this week we visited a family in the north of the city. The nightbefore, 2,000 U.S. soldiers with 50 tanks and humvees had closed off thecommunity, cut water and electricity, and with a list of names, had brokeninto homes in the area. Soldiers broke down the door of one house at2 a.m. to ask the mother and six children, "Where is your husband?'' "Youtook him away on false charges the last two times you broke into ourhome."

The day after the raid the children did not go to school becausethey had no sleep and without electricity had been unable to prepare forthe scheduled exams.

At a human rights organization on Tuesday, Alan Slater and I met a group of sixmen. They represent 2,500 men here in Baghdad who refused to fight inHussein's military. For that blatant resistance they had the tops of theirears cut off, tongues cut, brands placed on their foreheads, the right toown property taken away from them, women in their family violatedpublicly, and then were thrown into jails or taken to the borders asoutcasts.

Some of the public ministries have recently offered assistance,but still they are clearly without rights to be Iraqi. The U.S. occupationseems to be maintaining its distance even though Iraqis were urged beforethe war to refuse to fight against the U.S. invasion.

I just finished reading Klaus Wengst's Pax Romana and the Peace of JesusChrist. He displays the biblical political spectrum of New Testamentwriters from Luke who was a loyalist of the Roman Empire to Paul who was apolitical skeptic and on to John in Revelations who promoted a Christianresistance to empire run amok. In times like these the last book of thebible serves as underground literature for people of faith.

Some of you readers may remember last year my discovery that Al Kindi wasa prominent mathmetician/physician during the scientific renaissance herein Iraq that eventually helped to pull Europe out of the Dark Ages. Amajor hospital, streets of the city, and a district of Baghdad are namedafter him. It leads me to wonder about my family roots back beyond MartinKindigh who came to the United States from Germany in the early 1700s!

For today I am Iraqi.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus