Please, Mr. War — Don’t Take My Mama
Sorry, friends, about the missing page. This Post was inserted this week before it was completed. Here’s the rest of it.
THE IMAGE of this little Guatemalan tyke has been one of my favorites over the years. See her beautiful home-made togs, her questing, trusting expression. I don’t know this kid’s history, and I hope her mama was standing close by as this photo was snapped — on a particular day during the long wars against the Mayan people by their own government.
This child was featured in the calendars of Witness for Peace for some years, and her picture still stands on my mantle at home. I feel that I knew her, for I had become acquainted with Mayan kids on visits to Guatemala. Looking at this photo today, I think of the little tykes of Iraq and Afghanistan, and all the children of war the world over.
THE WITNESS FOR PEACE group mentioned above is one I have known something of at first hand. During the Nicaraguan Revolution, I visited their offices in an old rambling house in Managua. My son Dan was working there. He lived in a tiny room down the block, in the small home of a dedicated Nicaraguan nurse, an older and rather poor woman who went out on vaccination campaigns in the countryside every day of the week. She loved the Revolution! My son made sixty dollars a month with WFP, and for me it was about the best job he’d ever had.
Little guys we knew in Managua near the Witness for Peace house
WFP began by standing on the border of Nicaragua and Honduras to keep U. S. military from wiping out the Nicaraguan insurgents. The volunteers with WFP came to that border without guns. They brought only their bodies — to place them in the way of our bombs. And the bombs did not fall; it wasn’t considered smart strategy to drop them on peaceable Americans. Mr. Reagan was hopping mad about it, but he never invaded the country.
I visited my son, his WFP friends, and the brave Nicaraguan nurse, and wrote about what I was learning for newsletters back home and for the People’s Daily World, trying to help spread the good news about this revolution. I lived for a month in a wooden shed in back of a small house in a certain colonia in Managua. Mangos fell all night from a great tree by my shed, and each morning I would pick some up for my lunch bag.
It was a marvelous time to be in Nicaragua. All those afraid for their lives had gone home. No U. S. government agents to be seen. No U. S. businessmen. No media hounds telling the wrong story. On the streets no Northamericans but us solidarity types. Wonderful.
After some exciting revolutionary years, with beans and rice for all, health clinics for all, education for all, and textbooks not written in the U. S., the Revolution was mostly lost. The Nicaraguan people saw that we would never give up the profits we’d extracted from that country. (Remember the United Fruit Company?) The revolutionary team was voted out in favor of a government that had only one advantage — it could get along with the U. S. The new malls came, the fancy shops.
Was it all a dream . . . ?
Beautiful girls of Nicaraqua