Monday, June 17, 2013


Iraqi father and child at Abu Graib --early in Iraq War
A gentlemanly member of our church choir and I exchanged Father’s Day greetings yesterday before mass, and he then asked me the originator of the national holiday in the USA {he knew I’d not guess}—President Richard Nixon.  A leading proponent of the Vietnam War had promoted this day honoring fathers.
Yet war is history’s leading quick cause of orphans and widows—most injurious to fathers.  What deep dichotomy.   We want to honor, but instead, through the institutions of violence, we destroy.  Our heroes are our warriors, but this traditionally male work of war ends inevitably in suffering and loss to our families at home, and in the foreign lands where we fight.

A series of bombings in Shiite-majority areas of Iraq killed at least 30 people on Sunday-- A blast in Najaf struck a produce market---Haider Alaa-Reuters

The Father’s Day, 6-16-13, New York Times reported, “Dozens of Casualties in String of Attacks Across Iraq.”   If you read the international news, articles like this appear almost daily.  Nearly 2,000 Iraqis have been killed since April, according to the Interior Ministry, making it the country’s most violent period since 2008.”  We left Iraq a little over a year ago, saying our job was done.  A probable million people died violent deaths there in our decade of Iraq War.  Nobody ever counted {a most reliable count was ignored, and this less than half way through the war}.  Hundreds of thousands of fathers? 

ow we are poised to replicate the fight which made Iraq a failed state, in Syria.  Already 90,000 have died there, our headlines proclaim, as an attempt is made to ready the U.S. public [this link changed by NYT on 6-18-13, found similar article to original] to go to war again.  The enemy Sunnis of Saddam that we chased out of Iraq [where we helped install a Shiite government], we now employ covertly to attack the Shiite government of Syria.  We continue to stir the pot of ancient animosities.

The international forces that trust only in guns and bombs to solve conflict, have turned the nonviolent change of Arab Spring, back into an Arab Fall of death-dealing weapons.  A string of hollow victories for violence—Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Bahrain, Libya, Mali, now Syria.  How many fathers, mothers, and their children must die?
Yesterday I sat in my backyard garden with two of the fathers I’ve known longest and respect most.  We talked of our beliefs, of our wives, of our children—our success and failures as fathers.  We each have different perspectives, but we gave common voice to the hope that our children, and their generation worldwide, will be given the grace of so much greater opportunity for eye-opening service and creative work—peacemaking, the final remedy for war. 

Illumination by Kathy Brahney



No comments:

Post a Comment