Monday, August 27, 2007

No head, only body parts

Yesterday, I went down to Clemson, South Carolina to pick up the “Iraqi Peace Flags” that the Unitarian Universalist church had made use of last April. The story of these flags, and how they were received, has been written on this blog last March and April. The women who had the idea of putting up the 1,600+ Iraqi Peace Flags came up to Asheville last April to pick them up. She was due to return them last May, but tragedy struck her life, and they have been in the trunk of her car ever since.

Her husband was killed by a speeding car. He was working for a local TV news station, and he was filming an jack-knifed semi, that has spilled a load on the local interstate. Two cars hit him – one was so damaged that he could not drive further. The other one left the scene and drove away. (If I hit someone with my car and hurt them or killed them, I likely would never be able to drive a car again. I might never be able to even leave my home again!) Needless to say, this lady has been overwhelmed with the death of her husband in such a violent and sudden manner. She showed me pictures of the funeral – her husband was also a fire-fighter, so fire companies came from all over, even from New York City. It was a very large funeral. She said she got her husband in a body bag, and that she could not even look at him. His body was destroyed. She also said that her husband was killed by violence. It is of a very different sort of violence than the violence of war, however.

I then went on to my second errand yesterday – to meet with Ann and discuss the Iraqi girl named Salee that is in Greenville for medical treatment. We decided that it would be a good idea to have Salee, her father, interpreter, and Cole Miller, the founder of No More Victims to come to Asheville on September 19th, to stand with the Peace Coalition during our vigil. This vigil is to mark four and a half years of US occupation of Iraq. We are also going to hold a pot-luck for Salee, and then a short program for her father to describe what happened to them and for Cole Miller to talk about No More Victims.

Salee was injured by a US bombing of her home in November 2006. She lost the lower part of her legs, her brother, her best friend in that bombing. She was rushed to Fallujah hospital, where she nearly died from losing blood. The Iraqis had to defy curfew (and risk getting shot by US troops) and get some people in there that had Salee’s blood type. Apparently in Iraq, everyone knows their blood type. Salee is in Greenville getting surgery and double prosthetics. Ann says she is very stoic, and does not talk about what happened that day of the bombing.

Her father has pictures, however. He has a picture of his dead son – no head, just body parts. No body bag for him, either. Just the naked reality of seeing your son in pieces in front of your eyes. And your daughter bleeding nearly to death. This father told No More Victims that he did not know that there were Americans who opposed this war. I am hoping that a large crowd on September 19 will show him that there are many in my town who opposed this war.

And what was Salee, her brother, and her friend doing when the US bomb dropped on them?

Playing hopscotch.

No comments: