Monday, July 6, 2015


The tro-tro [mini-bus] hub in central Accra, where my bike [for 25 mile return trip] and I began

Later, in a market hub, 8 miles outside of Accra Ghana {June 2010}, doing a mini-bus transfer along with the locals, most all of us in western clothes.

“Does someone have a knife?!”  -- as the transit van pulled away, loaded up with everyone else aboard moving on, the driver yelling “we got to go!”  -- and my bike with stiff woven plastic packing cord stretched out but still securely tying it to the outside back door area [only way they could make it fit].   The driver’s assistant and I had been working franticly for 3 to 4 minutes to untie knots or just tear the bike off to no avail.  Now I was just holding on to it running behind, as the vehicle started away, gathering speed—2 mph, 5 mph.  My trip to the mountain-top Aburi gardens, and my use of my brother’s bike I’d renovated, were nearly both goners.

“Does anyone have a knife??!!”  -- a man of noble bearing, tall in traditional long brown flowing robe and square corned skull cap, deliberate and surely rose from where I’d noticed him sitting stately amidst the swirling crowd. It seemed he’d had special place, under cover of shade trees at the edge of our market road.   With a few quick steps remarkable for his age he is at my side.  Out from the folds of his garment appears a large folding pocket knife {like the French Opinels I’ve used for years I thought in the brief moment it was there for all to see --  the symbol of “le main commande” is etched into the base end of the steel blade near their beautiful wood handles}.
hether or not this knife was the brand, his hand did in that moment command, as he took the binding cords from me, sliced, my bike snapped free, and our eyes met.  The tro-tro puttered now faster away, and I gave a slight bow to him, as I steered the bike out of the road’s traffic, and as he was already turning to sit back on his bench under his tree, to resume his day.  The possible distant relative of former colonizers was back on his way, in this African’s debt, and grateful.  All left unsaid, that was enough.  The griot* had spoken.

* From Collins Dictionary: In Western Africa, a member of a caste responsible for maintaining an oral record of tribal history in the form of music, poetry, and storytelling.   {for all I know, he may have been royalty}

le main couronnée - the crowned hand logo

Trees at Aburi Gardens - photo by MM

In this time of July 4th  Lets strive for Independence from War Tax – 50% of Federal income tax goes to warmaking.
Consider minimizing prepayment of federal income taxes that go to war, by increasing the number of exemptions on your W-4’s, and not paying any immediate tax when you receive 1099 income, such as retirement fund disbursements. Not having paid so much through the year, will leave some tax due, to refuse and redirect to community service, job creation, and peace projects near in the Blue Water area, or farther away—whatever amount conscience inspires on April 15th.

This is a civil disobedience, with the tax payer advising the IRS openly, of their purpose to not pay all the tax due [amount an individual decision]—redirecting to peaceful enterprise.  The IRS will send letters, and there’s some cost to this discipleship, but help is available on the details from the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee.

When we render to our merciful, forgiving, all-powerful God what is God’s, what is really left for Caesar’s wars.
If we pray for and want peace, why pay for war?   Work for justice, invest in the tools of peacemaking.

Illumination by Kathy Brahney  

No comments:

Post a Comment