Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dona Nobis Pacem ~ A Revolution Of Words

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A Changing Queen In An Upside Down World

For the past thirty days I've been fulfilling a promise, one I made to myself and a commitment to my readers. I wanted to bring to this project a bit more - no, a lot more - personal enlightenment on a very painful subject. War. Conflict. What is happening on the globe right now? Who is fighting whom? What are they fighting about? Why are they STILL fighting? It was not easy to condense the facts into nutshell posts hitting the highlights of very complicated sociological and political scenarios, but I wanted to bring a human face and an honest reaction to the page. I wanted to add substance and reality to the Peace Globe movement in a way that affects us personally - wherever we may live.
It was not easy to look at or digest. For me. Or for you.

So I wrote Thirty Days Thirty Reasons To Fly A Peace Globe - day one, day two, day three and so on. I had no idea what I was in for. At the beginning the idea was met with enthusiasm and encouragement. Your comments were insightful and steady. As time passed, the readers had little left to say and comments withered away. You weren't used to Her Highness the Whimsy Queen waxing off into statistically frightful fonts. What did I, Mimi Pencil Skirt, know about jungles and deserts and wars after all? There are no bombs falling in Bloggingham. Landmines do not plague my marketplace. Maybe I should stop all this violence nonsense and stick to intelligent cyber-fluff. Then I began to get emails like this one, "Mimi, I don't want you to think I'm not reading. I am but I have no idea what to say. It is too overwhelming."

So that's it. A few times I started to soft pedal the process out of respect for my audience. I couldn't fault anyone for not following my sorrowful journey. I, myself, admittedly, started to slip into sadness , survival guilt even, as the violent stories turned over and over in my mind day after day and I realized that so many human beings just a plane hop away from me endure lives of horror just outside their doorsteps. Everyday.

Is this too much for people to read, I asked?

Should I stop? But each time I started to do that, someone else would write and essentially say "I want more. I am learning. I never knew this before. It is hard but I want to look. Keep going."

I couldn't stop. The promise you know......

So I decided to soil my skirt and trek through the world's ugliest secrets. One by one........ Sri Lanka, Darfur, Iraq, Pakistan, Ogaden, Myanmar, Colombia, Israel/Palestine, Philippines, Laos, Afghanistan, Peru, Turkey, Papau, Uganda, Somalia, Kashmir, Senegal, Niger Delta, Nagaland, Chechnya, Maghred, Kivu, SouthThailand, Chad, Mexico, Balochistan, War On Terror, Saudi Arabia, and The Sahara Desert.

I learned a lot. A lot about me.
And you.
And them.

It was heartbreaking. And then one day - just when I thought I should quit for my own sanity - I got a letter from Margo Moon at The Starr Ann Chronicles. She wrote,
"Had to let you know that today, I received my third Peace Post preview from a fellow blogger. Just wanted you to be aware that bloggers take their Peace posts so seriously, that drafts get passed back and forth for inspection, then they get tweaked, and sent around again." She called the movement "organic."

Another blogger added soon after, "I am so proud to be in this movement." I never thought I had a voice. Until now."

How could I not be humbled by this? Someone, somewhere, was reading. And they were not turning away.
Whoever heard of serenity in the midst of war? Whoever heard of beauty and bravery on a blog? Whoever heard of reaching across the table, across the continent, and extending a hand of peace to people I don't even know? Citizens - imagine - on a web page whose country might be at war with mine, whose politics seem like a cry for war and where religion is used as violence and hate? Can I cross the blog border and forget all that and just remember that voices of peace can't war?

Unheard of. Whoever heard of such a thing?

The truth is -
Sometimes love whispers and sometimes it screams

but it is always heard.

So my privileged Milanis marched through the mud again.

I changed.

Not my boots.

But my heart.

I learned a lot.
A lot about me.

A lot about you.
And a lot about her.

And him.

I found this photo of a marine in the public domain national archives. It was taken by an unknown photographer in Da Nang, Vietnam. The year was 1965.
As much as I deeply respect those who served our country then and those who serve now to keep me free, my prayer is that not one more fresh-faced boy or girl has to die for that freedom.

Not here. Not anywhere.

Not your child. Or mine.
Shouldn't he be getting dressed for the prom or something? He looks like my own son. All I know for sure is that he is somebody's son.
And he should not be standing in a field with a gun strapped over his tender shoulder.

My war posts are not just encyclopedia fantasies. They are real. And on the page they screamed DON'T LOOK.

I ask that you


I don't have all the answers. But I do know this: Through all the war zones my pencil skirt waded through this month, one message rang perfectly clear.

We all just want to live happy and safe with the people we love.

It really isn't more complicated than that.

How, Mimi Pencil Skirt - as one reader recently asked - can you use the word revolution in the same sentence as peace? "Because," I said with a mouth full of unexpected resolve ..."because I now know the meaning of revolution."

I am turning. Turning. Changing. As I learn to love people who might look like an adversary at first glance, but whose brown eyes match mine a half a world away and seem hauntingly familiar.

I am turning. Changing. As I read.

And walk through jungles
with starving children
with nothing to hide behind
but my words

Now I have yours too.
I thank you for blogging across the globe for the cause of peace in our world
and for whispering, screaming, railing against the suffering we see....
I thank you for looking.
I am deeply moved to be in the presence of such company of caring
and incredible human beings
I am honored to be among the peace-keepers.

Tonight, I have been attacked by the presence of peace -
and a thing called hope
In the midst of a warring world I stumble through
with you
believing that words are powerful
believing that this matters.

I don't know why my grandfather's loving eyes gave me gifts of handmade earth-shaped marbles in a bowl that grace my piano top today, nor why he planned for me, all those years ago, to write about his prayers. I don't know why.
But I do know how.

And so do you.
Let the revolution begin.

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