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Building peace while picking up the pieces

Originally published by The Kansas City Star (Missouri)
Nov 06, 2007
By LEWIS DIUGUID

Cries for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq have gained a lot of political traction. But world and Iraqi leaders must develop earnest plans to rebuild the war-torn nation.

That concern is the fizz in SODaPOP, which stands for Seasons of Discontent: A Presidential Occupation Project.

Longtime peace activist Kathy Kelly said Voices for Creative Nonviolence is leading a fall and winter campaign on Republican and Democratic headquarters in Iowa. She said Tuesday that about 50 volunteers will be at the offices of presidential hopefuls in Des Moines today.

Press Release: Civil Disobedience to Launch on Nov 7-8 at Presidential Campaign Offices in Des Moines, Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 6, 2007

Contact:

Brian Terrell: 515-255-8114 Kathy Kelly: 773-878-3815 (office), 773-619-2418 (cell) Website: www.vcnv.org

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE TO LAUNCH ON NOVEMBER 7 AND 8 AT PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OFFICES IN DES MOINES, IOWA

Letter from Cathy Breen - Amman, Jordan, November 27: Refugee Resettlement Program

November 5, 2007
Amman, Jordan

Yesterday I visited a family whose 10 year old son is working for 8JD a week, that is about $10. A sweet faced slip of a child, he smiled as I took a picture of him at his work place. His father meanwhile suffers the humiliation of idleness and the inability to support his wife and other children. Beset by death threats, they fled to Amman about ten months ago; their home in Baghdad is now occupied by militia. I felt embarrassed as I offered them a small gift of money, money from a family in the states who wants to help Iraqis stuck here. The family is in need of basic foodstuffs, furniture, blankets and a heater as winter approaches. They once had work, a car and their own home. I met the wife and mother with her smallest child in tow on a bus last week. We were both making our way to the UNHCR. She to beg assistance.

Letter from Cathy Breen: Amman, Jordan, October 27, 2007

October 27, 2007
Amman, Jordan

Dear Friends,

It is Saturday morning, and I just hung up the telephone. “Please pray for him” the mother asked me, referring to her son. Here in Amman from Baghdad, he is in the operating room as I write you, in an attempt to save his right eye. I will call him Fadi, though that is not his real name. Fadi already lost his lower right leg to a suicide bomb while going in a taxi to his classes at the university. Stopped at a checkpoint—Fadi was sitting next to the driver—a car pulled up alongside them and exploded. Scars from glass and metal wounds are visible on the whole right side of Fadi’s body.

I visited with this mother and Fadi a couple of days ago. As incredible as it seems given the tragic circumstances, Fadi was able to complete his studies. Just weeks ago he graduated from the University in Baghdad with a degree in Engineering.

The systematic burning and destruction of a Palestinian camp in Lebanon

October 24, 2007

By Michael Birmingham in Nahr al-Bared

Something terrible has been done to the residents of Nahr al Bared, and the Lebanese people are being spared the details. Over the past two weeks, since the camp was partly reopened to a few of its residents, many of us who have been there have been stunned by a powerful reality. Beyond the massive destruction of the homes from three months of bombing, room after room, house after house have been burned. Burned from the inside.

Letter from Cathy Breen: Amman, Jordan, October 15, 2007

October 15, 2007
Amman, Jordan

Dear Friends,

Fall has come to the northeast of the U.S. from where I hail. Although it is still T- shirt weather here in Amman, I imagine the leaves falling from the trees, a symbol of the passing of life, a forecast of the cold grip of the coming winter months. It is a natural phenomenon. The landscape will become barren and stark until spring arrives, if indeed spring comes again.

Letter from Cathy Breen: Amman, Jordan, October 10, 2007

October 10, 2007
Amman, Jordan

Dear Friends,

Yesterday I returned from a trip to Damascus, Syria. While I was there I had the opportunity, together with a young Iraqi Moslem friend, to visit the ancient Syrian monastery of St. Moses the Abyssinian. About 80 kilometers north of Damascus and 1320 meters above sea level, the stark and barren landscape brought back memories of Bolivia where, over a span of about ten years, I periodically sought silence in a hermitage hidden in the bowels of the Andean mountains.

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