Friday, September 3, 2010

There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. - Victor Hugo

I’ve encountered threats of violence several times in my life. One confrontation happened when I was a teenager. I gently stared back into it’s eyes, responded truthfully and walked away. He later became my best friend. His name is Seyed Zoghi.
I am excited to share the good news with you all. I have been accepted and invited to join a short-term delegation to Northern Iraq with CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams) October 14th-27th. CPT is an organization that works towards peaceful solutions in the midst of places like Colombia, the Kurdish North of Iraq, Israel/Palestine and among the Aboriginal struggles of North America.
What’s in this for me? I have being growing in the ethic and practice of non-violence and undoing racism before I ever heard those words. From rural pasturelands to metropolitan cityscapes, I grew up in 15 different places between Texas, Colorado and Arkansas. I grew up around and had close friends of various backgrounds, races and worldviews. The Sahagians were an Armenian family our family was close to in Houston. I lived with the Mirahmadi-Zoghi’s, an Iranian/Cherokee family, when I moved out of my house at seventeen. I came to understand the difficulty of two cultures clashing and loved my way right in between. I grew up among thieves and drug dealers. I participated in this community of destruction. I have witnessed violence and racism in the south. I have listened to reverse prejudice in California. When I moved to northern California four years ago I was angry and disillusioned. It is here that I have come to know a peace deeper than circumstance. The desire to grow as a peacemaker has reached fruition and this is what has come into my life to follow that dream.
What is in this for you? Like so many great accomplishments for humanity’s betterment, it has come through cooperation. Like relief workers to disaster sites, some go and some send. I see myself as a hand, and you along with many others as the arm that stretches out to touch the lives of Kurdish families living in tent camps, displaced and longing to be at home. My knowing you is what makes undertaking this effort seem doable. I look forward to bringing the stories and images of the Kurdish people I meet back to you. To reveal their hope and their challenges that lie ahead, that we might share in both.
What is in this for others? The Kurdish people have asked for help. We will come alongside locals groups working toward peaceful solutions to their displacement and subsistence level living. Through our journeying and documentation, we will draw awareness to the marginalization of the Kurdish tent camp way of life. By spreading the news of what’s happening in these people’s lives, government officials, social groups and everyday folk will be moved to respond and help.
I want to extend the opportunity of partnering with me in a relational and economic sending. I have $2,900 to raise for the total cost of this trip. If you would like to contribute to this effort, the best avenue is sending a check made out to CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams), addressed to:
Christian Peacemaker Teams. Box 6508 • Chicago, IL 60680-6508.
Please include along with the check a separate note indicating your donation is to Leland Grammer for the CPT Iraq delegation.

Thank you for your star of friendship in my constellation! Shalom Ya’ll!