March 10 — how could I forget? How dare I fail to remember.
Four years and four months ago, John Stephens and I began a blog site called freethecaptivesnow.org , as both a personal vigil and a community service, compiling and posting nightly updates of reports — or mostly the lack of reports — about the fate of four… peaceworkers kidnapped in Iraq. They had been taken in Baghdad, and one of them, Tom Fox, was a Quaker and a friend of both John and me.
OMG — The first congressional press conference challenging the Af-pak escalation was today, and the only Republican there was Rep. Walter Jones, a conservative Catholic who represents Camp Lejeune, the Marine base from which a big chunk of the new troops will come.
“Sedition Watch.” This feature brings up “dots” of data that come onto my radar screen, which I’m working to connect.
The implications of the potential connections are unsettling, and I hope the authorities are watching. The elements here are straightforward: there are a lot of upset people, mostly guys, with guns out there, and with a high level of training in how to use them. And they are being fed a diet of sedition — talk of violent insurrection, or perhaps mounting a coup d’etat.
The conference speaker Wednesday night was a welcome improvement. Alexie Torres Fleming’s story is easy to summarize: born and raised poor in the south Bronx, she escaped from a collapsing neighborhood into middle class respectability, but then was drawn back to live and work in her home turf. She now operates a youth program.
I’m here in Philadelphia, at a conference entitled “Heeding God’s Call” . It started on Tuesday Jan. 13, 2009 and will extend into Saturday the 17th.
It’s supposed to be about strengthening the peace witness of churches and other faith groups, but especially that of the so-called “Historic peace Churches,” namely Quakers, Mennonites & Brethren. These three groups, especially the first, made up the large majority of the 270 or so persons I counted present in the opening session.