[[Black3]] (photo by anonymous protester)
The branding of the familiar Blackwater bear claw is becoming more ingrained on our psyche. Now the bear claw is covered with "bloody" hand-prints. No one with a conscience could fail to be moved by a recent non-violent street theater action initiated by Norfolk Catholic Workers, who sent a powerful message to personnel at Blackwater's 8,000-acre corporate compound in the swamplands of Moyock, NC on Sat. Oct. 20. Also, see www.blackwaterwatch.net
Neighbors and supportive protestors arriving on the grusome scene at the front entrance to Blackwater, discovered a "bullet-riddled" car splattered with "blood"(red paint) with its door thrown open. Around the vicinity of the car, lay several contorted "bodies," lying very still, as though "dead" in the afternoon sun, beneath the sign with the distinct bear claw image of Blackwater.
One had no choice but to confront the memory of innocent civilians randomly gunned down by Blackwater operatives on Sept. 16, 2007. The specific scene we recreated in Moyock depicted an Iraqi doctor and her nephew, who were both slain by a shower of bullets in Nisour Square, Bagdad, a day of chaos, destruction and infamy. There has been no accountability assigned for these egregious offenses.
One, beautiful spirit, Mary Grace, was arrested for kneeling and praying while "trespassing on private property." How ironic that an American is punished for praying in public at the site of a organization which totes Christianity as one of its "virtues." As part of its branding of America.
The gentle and courageous souls behind these striking non-violent actions have distinguished themselves by their collective commitment to the lifelong cause of justice for the oppressed, through the Catholic Worker model and their own spiritual journey. In their regular week, some of them feed the homeless and provide community support services while others vigil consistently on behalf of ending the war and bringing our troops home. Along the way, they challenge and expose the Oppressor.
Steve, Peter, Bill, Mark, Beth, Laura and Mary Grace have had immense personal inconveniences and taken risks most of us are incapable of imagining. They are transparent and committed people. They follow the timeless example of Christ, the revolutionary, who was the ultimate advocate of human rights and dignity for the poor among us, for those with no voices. It is often the poor who teach us the most.
If only more Americans could note their resoucefully creative example and adapt it to issues they feel strongly about, there would be more empathy for suffering and less hate and chaos in the world. More bridges would be built rather than bombed. If we are to survive globally, a new paradigm shift is our last desperate option.
It was especially haunting that the re-creation was done silently, which amplified the message on a breezy, sunny afternoon in a once-sleepy North Carolina town.