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 from the power grid across the city. We have only about 12 hours of electricity from our own generator each day. There are rumors that attacks against the power lines have taken out the major supply stations. Perhaps nothing is in the news because the party line is that conditions across Iraq are improving. Diesel deliveries are one-fifth what they were two months ago. Shortages are driving prices up dramatically. News reports note a "rash" of attacks against the oil pipeline network. Iraqis see a society devastated by the war becoming even worse.
Early this week we visited a family in the north of the city. The night before, 2,000 U.S. soldiers with 50 tanks and humvees had closed off the community, cut water and electricity, and with a list of names, had broken into homes in the area. Soldiers broke down the door of one house at 2 a.m. to ask the mother and six children, "Where is your husband?'' "You took him away on false charges the last two times you broke into our home."
The day after the raid the children did not go to school because they had no sleep and without electricity had been unable to prepare for the scheduled exams.
At a human rights organization on Tuesday, Alan Slater and I met a group of six men. They represent 2,500 men here in Baghdad who refused to fight in Hussein's military. For that blatant resistance they had the tops of their ears cut off, tongues cut, brands placed on their foreheads, the right to own property taken away from them, women in their family violated publicly, and then were thrown into jails or taken to the borders as outcasts.
Some of the public ministries have recently offered assistance, but still they are clearly without rights to be Iraqi. The U.S. occupation seems to be maintaining its distance even though Iraqis were urged before the war to refuse to fight against the U.S. invasion.
I just finished reading Klaus Wengst's Pax Romana and the Peace of Jesus Christ. He displays the biblical political spectrum of New Testament writers from Luke who was a loyalist of the Roman Empire to Paul who was a political skeptic and on to John in Revelations who promoted a Christian resistance to empire run amok. In times like these the last book of the bible serves as underground literature for people of faith.
Some of you readers may remember last year my discovery that Al Kindi was a prominent mathmetician/physician during the scientific renaissance here in Iraq that eventually helped to pull Europe out of the Dark Ages. A major hospital, streets of the city, and a district of Baghdad are named after him. It leads me to wonder about my family roots back beyond Martin Kindigh who came to the United States from Germany in the early 1700s!
For today I am Iraqi.