“’…by putting my weapon down I chose to reassert myself as a human being.
‘I have held a rifle to a man’s face, a man on the ground and in front of his mother, children, and wife, and not knowing why I did it. I have walked by the headless body of an innocent man right after our machine guns decapitated him. I have seen a soldier broken down inside because he killed a child. I have seen an old man on his knees, crying, with his arms raised to the sky, perhaps asking God why we were taking the lifeless body of his son. It is the war that has changed me forever….
‘I was very much against the invasion and….I felt the need to leave a declaration that I had opposed it. I wrote up a sign that said “Give Peace A Chance,” and while pulling guard…I asked a friend to take a picture. Something deep inside was beginning to tell me that war was imminent, and if I was to die in that war, the one thing I would have wanted my daughter to know, was that her father had been against it.
‘I am turning myself in with the clear belief that I am not a criminal, and by doing this I am risking jail and humiliation and the scorn of some of my peers, because I truly believe in what I am doing. May God help me.’
Camilo Mejia, in his Application for Conscientious Objection, as quoted by Staughton Lynd in his essay, War Crimes, in No War No More”
A Prayer for All Children by Arya-Francesca Jenkins
May you live long,
Knowing genuine strength in
Tenderness and love.
May you protect the weak,
Because once they were your mothers.
Respect your enemies, for
Once they were your mothers too.
Follow the path of gentleness and peace,
Avoiding violence, oppression and war.
Resist these with all your being.
Harbor no ill will toward anyone.
Face life with an open heart,
An open mind, and spare no one
Dedications by Douglas A. Fowler
For all those who fed me, spoke to me
and tired angels
walk away as best they can.
During that summer I worked for the Geological Survey, Big Will from McKeesport had a gig with the National Forest. I stopped to see him on a Saturday and his landlady fed us white bread sandwiches of sliced roast beef with too much mayonnaise and we had coffee and I kept thinking about Rock Creek and up on Mt. Rearguard where the windy static sizzled on my ice-ax,
but now, I mostly remember Will’s landlady with her white hair, white bread, and little house in Red Lodge along the main street highway two-twelve, white-sided with a gate and picket fence, back before the invasion of glassed-in oversize gables on the rustic cedar fortresses of a brave new economy.
“Earth abides” is the well known reference to Ecclesiastes: “. . . but the earth remains forever,” Ecclesiastes 1:4, Revised Standard Version, Cleveland: World Publishing, 1964.
“Tired Angels” titles a lyrical rock song written by Felix Pappalardi and Gail Collins in the early 1970s. Despite the tragic violence of their marriage, “Tired Angels” remains as an anthem of peace from the closing years of the Vietnam War. Mountain, Nantucket Sleighride, New York: Windfall/Bell Records, 1970.
For the phrase “walk away,” read Ursula K. LeGuin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, New York: Bantam Books, 1976, 251-259.