Light a candle for peace

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

It is better to light a candle
than to curse the darkness.

Mother Teresa


Over 300 people showed up to light a candle for peace. They lined both sides of the street and stretched a couple of blocks. For the most part, those in the cars who passed between raised their thumbs and honked in support; however, there were a few that were emphatically Bush supporters.

About half way through the hour long vigil, one lone dissenter showed up – a middle age man who stood across the street, holding up a Marine Corp flag. He nodded pleasantly at the people holding the candles; they waved back.

The people were smiling, but quiet, subdued. That moment of truth weighed heavy, as we stood shoulder to shoulder in an unbroken line of flickering light, sending a message of hope as ephemeral as the flame.



Moment of Truth

Reading a Sydney Morning Herald report from reporters in Baghdad. The author writes:

In 1991, the coded messages gave us 1 hours’ to 2 hours’ notice. But for now, the next best indication of imminent action will be the UN’s withdrawal of the weapons inspectors and the evacuation of the last remaining members of the diplomatic community.

In a story at ABC News

The United Nations flew most of its helicopters out of Iraq on Sunday, and Germany advised its citizens to leave the country immediately amid mounting fears of war with the United States.

Iraq is now on war footing, with Saddam Hussein vowing to take this war everywhere, and Bush issuing a global ultimatum:

Tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world.

Yes, but whose truth?

When we lived in Vermont, my cat once caught a tiny deer mouse. You know the kind of mouse I’m talking about – tiny little body and huge ears and eyes. Zoe played with it and batted it about and tortured that little thing until we forced it from her, and put it out of its misery.

If we’re going to have this war then let’s have it so that we can face the aftermath. Let’s stop with the pretenses, and the phony summits, and the press releases, and Powell saying one thing while Cheney says another. If we’re going to rain bombs on Baghdad, let’s do so and quickly, rather than leave the people of that city in terror. Let’s stop toying with Iraq and move in for the kill.

In two hours I’m going to join a couple of hundred people holding up candles against the warm spring breeze, murmuring words of peace. But inside there’s a part of me that wishes the war would just start, so it could be over.



Candlelight Vigil

I will be attending one of the candlelight vigils tonight. I was surprised, and heartened to see how many there are in St. Louis. There’s three in my immediate vicinity, alone.

I won’t be holding a candle though as I’ve volunteered to try and get some photos of the event. I say ‘try’ because I’ve not had the best of luck with my digital camera in low-level illumination. I have a flash, but I’m concerned it will be too bright, and will ruin the effects of the candles. Oh well, will do my best.

I think one thing we’ve learned since the last major global anti-war demonstration is that these demonstrations aren’t for everyone; neither is some or even all aspects of the anti-war movement. We must remember to respect each other’s beliefs and choices, if what we say in these demonstrations means anything at all.

We’re heading into tense, difficult times. Regardless of what each of us believes, we have to keep in mind our respect for each other. Our service people in the Middle East deserve our respect. So do the people of Iraq. It just breaks my heart to see two groups who deserve respect having to kill each other because a few men, deserving of no respect, have demanded it in their arrogance.

Sorry. Sorry. Candlelight vigils and hope. That’s the ticket. Hope.

Today will only be about hope.


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