I am heartsick. This morning, I heard the piece on NPR (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9134349) about the slaughter in a market place in Iraq. Children, of mixed backgrounds, are playing together. This neighborhood is an exception to the war. Shia’s and Sunni’s living in relative peace, their children playing together. Until an act of supreme malice and prejudice, armed gunmen came to the common area and actually opened fire on the children playing soccer. These malicious men left none of the children alive and sparked a firestorm that would change the neighborhood forever.
Overcome with wild grief this neighborhood went from relative calm to complete violence, another victim of the war. Can I blame the men, who swarmed from their home to find their sons and brothers slaughtered, from going crazy? Can I blame them for finally being overwhelmed by the horrific pressure of living in an undeclared civil war? No.
I can and do blame the gunmen, who through an act of supreme maliciousness killed the hope for the future for the families involved. They will never see their children grow up and contribute to the peace in their land. But that is what terrorists do. They target the vulnerable to kill off hope and strike terror on the psyches of their victim. The depravity of those who perpetrated this crime shows how desperate the insurgents have become. They’ve turned against their own, be they Shia or Sunni.
I am powerless to do anything for these families, but I can pray. I can pray for peace to sweep the land. I can pray for mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers to be comforted and to find peace. But that is all I can do.
But, I do know that prayer is a powerful tool, it is not ineffectual. So I pray for peace, I pray for the hearts of the leaders and the insurgents to be softened to consider peace and find compromise to obtain peace. I pray for those who are just trying to live their lives in the midst of war to be protected and comforted. More importantly, I pray for the people of Iraq to take charge of their homes and their government and find a way to live in peace.
I pray for the world to have peace.
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