Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blog Blast For Peace: On my way to a war zone

A week from today I depart from my home state of birth (Iowa) to spend five months volunteering along the US-Mexico border in El Paso, TX. Blog Blast for Peace means something concrete to me: I'm moving to a war zone.

Drug cartels are battling for control of the valuable portal into the U.S. which is Juarez-El Paso. In October the murder average was 10 per day in Juarez, an easy 40 minute stroll away from my front door.

Here are today's (11/4/2009) newspaper headlines:

El Paso TX, the sister city of Juarez, is ranked one of the safest cities in the US for its size. While the murder total so far for this year in Juarez is over 1900, the number stands at just 10 for El Paso. But can you imagine living just a mile away from that murder and mayhem? Even reading the morning newspaper is daunting. Mangled women's cadavers discovered in vacant lots...maybe even right downtown. Lawyers assassinated in the downtown streets. Ten thousand federal troops occupying the city. Juarez is one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has a friend or relative in Juarez. The war affects us all.

The United States is implicated in all the violence in many ways. But we have institutionalized our "innocence." Our drug czar is bound by law to resist any discussion of the legalization of drugs which are currently illegal. We build a wall to defend ourselves. It is then possible to point fingers: Why can't Mexico handle the problem? Why are they so corrupt? We can ask questions self-rightously from the other side.

If we want peace, we need to work for justice.
If we want peace, we need to dismantle racism.
If we want peace, we must promote economic opportunity for all.
If we want peace, we must do the inner work of healing and recovery, both personally and as a nation.

If we want peace, we can begin by opening our eyes to the realities from which we are largely insulated.

War is not so very far away.

Walking the line between pleasure and pain
Biding my time between loss and gain
I've run out of roads, I've traveled them all
Down at the border by the one-sided wall

Down at the border, facing that wall
Racking my brain for the cause of it all
No one to point to, no one to blame
I can't be the only one stuck in this game

Borderless love, the land of the free
Borderless love, how far can you see?
Borderless love, there's no border at all
In a borderless love there's no need for a wall

When I feel what I feel, when I see what I see
Why do my heart and my head disagree?
A one-sided wall, is it all in the mind?
Who can see more than one side at a time?

A wall is a mirror that can only reveal
One side of a story that passes for real
But break it all down, it all becomes clear
It's the fearless who love and the loveless who fear

Borderless love, the land of the free
Borderless love, how far can you see?
Borderless love, there's no fear at all
In a borderless love there's no need for a wall

Over, under, around and through
Life is love and love is true
Over, under, around and through
Walls of thunder, skies of blue


Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Amen! That's a grand Peace Glove and a very moving song! Thank you!

Adelle Laudan said...

Great post. Be safe. Wishing Peace to you and yours.

One Fly said...

Be damn careful!! Thank you for your caring and effort.

secret agent woman said...

They're all threads in the same bit of cloth aren't they - an end to war, social justice, environmentalism, protection of the weak. WOrking for any of it helps us attain peace. Peace to you, and safe travels.

John (Juan) Donaghy said...

My prayers go with you.

matthew101 said...

Yes! Stoked to have you back on the border. The Borderland needs more carriers of Hope & Peace than ever before.

Great post!


Bond said...

Thank you for participating in the BlogBlast For PEACE!

Most do not realize the war that is just across our border.

We need to rethink our drug policy's as those we are following are not working.


jennifer said...

Be careful in your travels.


Brother Tim said...

"Our drug czar is bound by law to resist any discussion of the legalization of drugs which are currently illegal."

That's BS, Billie, and you know it. Unless you're referring to the 'Law of Politics'.

I look forward to your reporting from the border.

betmo said...

thank you for this post- my mom asked me last week how the border was- and i told her i didn't know. it's strange to me the weird juxtaposition of worldliness and prudishness america has. we will use illegal drugs across the board with wild abandon in our youth and beyond- but refuse to make it legal. the only reason i can come up with- profit. it's more profitable monetarily for someone somewhere for the drugs to remain illegal. i have a feeling it really is that simple. and... people are expendable commodities in this country and in mexico- and around the world.

Anndi said...

People are more important than borders, our earth wasn't created with a grid. We are all one.

You'll be in my thoughts.


Marilyn said...

I never heard that song before. That was great. Please be careful.

Peace to you and yours.

Travis said...

I guess I'm insulated because I didn't know how bad it was down there. Be safe.

Peace to you and yours.

Dianne said...

I have always admired you Border, now even more

Be safe!

Karen Jo said...

I adore your peace globe and agree with the sentiment completely. We must all work for justice in the world and an end to crushing poverty that leads people to violence. Peace to you and yours.

Robert Rouse said...

Billie, keep yourself safe.

Dave Dubya said...

The US power elite are not interested in peace and justice. They profit from the drug war just as they do from every other war.

The US government has long been a right wing engine of empire and corporate profiteering.

Peace and justice need advocates more than ever.

God bless you.

Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

Yep, it sounds very true, that without justice, you will never get peace...

here is something that might interest you and a chance to see that justice occurs...

greetings from Scandinavia, Sarah Sofia

Julia Smith said...

'Borderless love, the land of the free
Borderless love, how far can you see?'

Love those lines. And thanks for the music clip.

Your peace globe is starkly gripping.

Peace to you, Border Explorer.

DivaJood said...

You are my heroine.

TomCat said...

Billie, your courage inspires. Please stay safe and keep us posted.

Michelle said...

So many different wars fought every day. :-(

This is a very powerful post and Peace Globe message.

Belated Peace Day wishes to you.

Libby said...

Thank you for that post Billie, y buen viaje. I will be down for a weekend in January; maybe I will see you guys there :)

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Saying a prayer for your continued safety.

okjimm said...

Ya... be careful.

okjimm said...

Ya... be careful.

Sanni said...

Love the globe - stay safe!!!
May peace be with you and yours today and always...


AArdvarker said...

You are one of the people who really walks the walk. Bless you.

Mimi Lenox said...

Your peace post always stirs me and inspires me.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, Billie. I consider you to be one of the most dedicated workers for peace I've ever had the privilege of "meeting."

Peace to you and yours. Safety be yours as well.

This beautiful globe is #1560 in the Official Peace Globe Gallery.

claire bangasser said...

Bravo, Billie. My prayers are with you. Yours is an inspiring move. Huge hug as well.

Freida Bee, MD said...

Stay safe and thanks.