The Editor: I wish to comment on Sylvain Lavoie’s Liturgy and Life Oct. 5 article: “Express faith through peace work, persistent prayer.”
I was in Nicaragua with Witness for Peace from 1992 - 95. The Contra war was over but Nicaragua was forced to embrace neoliberal policies. As one campesino put it: “During the war we had money but because of the U.S. embargo there was nothing to buy; now there is plenty to buy but we have no money.”
During the war, families fled from the war zones. Women who had lost husband and sons, grandmothers raising grandchildren joined together as Mothers of Heroes and Martyrs. In the northern city of Matagalpa, they sold donated clothing to feed their families and raise money to build 40 identical houses on donated land.
Similarly in Ireland, women with children were doing very poorly in the new economy. Ireland had been very generous during the Contra war with projects. doctors, engineers, human rights workers and, like many of us, they fell in love with Nicaraguans.
The Irish women knew that when the war ends, the work begins. They organized, created daycares, food kitchens, courses to acquire skills needed for employment. Together they raised money so that some 20 young women could visit the Mothers, learn from them and motivate others on their return.
I happened to be in Matagalpa the day they first met. A circle of some 40 women was formed. Three translators, dispersed around the circle, took turns, taking over time after time when a speaker — or a translator — was overcome with emotion. Both groups of women, young and old, were moved, just as I still am after two decades.
Each time I listen to Colleen Fuller sing Gramma God (Boyer), I know that She was there sharing our tears and urging us not to lose heart. — Cecily Mills, Edmonton
The Editor: We have all seen the agony of Syria as the civil war continues, the world powers take sides, and civilian adults and children are killed or maimed. We feel powerless in the face of this atrocity but there are things we can do.
We can pray for peace in Syria and encourage our families and parishes to do likewise. We can phone our MPs (don’t email, you will get a bland or automated reply) encouraging him or her to do whatever can be done to have Canada involved in Syrian peace-making, as Prime Minister Mike Pearson was during the 1956 Suez crisis. We can donate to Development and Peace or CNEWA who deliver humanitarian relief to the beleaguered people of Syria.
Finally, we can keep firmly in mind that the war in Syria is the direct result of western military interventions in the Middle East, especially the Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq. Should interventions such as this be likely to happen elsewhere, we must do what we can to protest, and above all to make sure all that Canada is in no way involved militarily in future wars, in the Middle East or elsewhere. — Michael Murphy, Saskatoon