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Every Day Acts of Peace

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Fiji 1989: Greet War, With An Open Attitude of Peace

Soaring over the Koro Sea.
From behind the curtain,
of the airplane's front cabin,
appears the Flight Attendant.
She is nervous, unsure, and shaken.

Her quivering voice is trying to share.
She shares with us the information
that the army has just acted out a coup.
The military has taken over the government, 
the country and the airport.

The Flight Attendant informs us 
to be prepared to be boarded,
the army is armed with will of might 
to strong arm us, scoop us up in their military net.
Cooperation is required.

We open our doors, and lock our hearts. 

The soldiers board our aircraft,
with their warcraft, they play their roles.
They act like hesitant new fathers -
all crooked grins while cradling their AK-47s ...
they look like they would be lost without them.

My reception, the unwelcoming committee 
is semi automatic, a machine gun 
pointed in my face, just under my nose, 
above my lips, so I can't speak,
yet considerately out of reach, of any vital organ.

The welcoming committee is clear. 
Their intentions are to give me no choice.
have no choice, but to welcome their first show of trust -
a funky dance of hands moving over my body.
Frisking a person sometimes requires no permission.

It is my first time in Fiji.
arrive during a political coup.
The politicians and their system are being disrupted.
In all honesty politics in general, 
everyday, can be disruptive.

We wait on the plane.

We wait to be turned over to our military escorts.
I imagine the airport will be quite active and chaotic.
When I finally descend, I find customs deadly quiet.
We are the only airplane in sight, to land, we are herded 
into a line up, guarded by more men, with more guns.

I think I smell fish frying.

When my turn comes, 
a military officer questions me.
He extends a gracious invitation to me 
to spend the night sleeping in the open air airport terminal.
I am to be guarded from friendly fire, and from taking flight.

It is an offer I cannot refuse.

Generosity's value is determined, in each moment.
Considering my present circumstance 
my point of view has altered to accept 
that being alive is a valuable act of generosity. 
I am happy to accept this is the safest place, for now.

My safety bubble is burst 
when Army becomes suspicious. 
I am singled out of the line-up, 
due to being a single woman traveling alone, 
except for her pen, notes, books and camera.

Army asks me, in very polite English; 
"Is it just a coincidence 
that a photojournalist showed up 
during this auspicious and historical occasion?
What occurrence brought you here to align with this moment?

I too wonder what forces of nature aligned to bring me here, now.

To celebrate the occasion of their victory, 
over the previous regimes victors,
they begin an argument with me, 
but I don't want to argue.
I don't enjoy peaceful hand fights with armed angry men.

Call me a lunatic, but I see a full moon in the daytime sky.

Army insurges their argument with me, 
“Who would fly to a country with no hotel reservations?!
Unless they intended to be met and greeted by local connections!?”
My response, made in all honesty, therefore true in this moment is; 
"My view of Fiji, from above was beautiful. You have a lovely home".

"I am hungry, tired from the flight and yes, I am traveling solo."

Army continues to speculate 
about me, with me, around me.
I make my move. 
I blow my nose with such animation, 
that everyone laughs, astonished at my action.

Like a dog leaping on a meaty bone, 
I ravish this laughter. 
I continue, I deplete, until empty, my nasal cavities.
Body function is as natural way to bring humanity down to earth,
and to restore the everyday meaning which connects the living to life.

Uplifting neutrality is needed.

Normality is needed, even when you don't know what norm means.
Normalcy for soldiers can mean naturally seeking a leader to follow. 
Orders, when taken from a leader, liberates the soldiers from 
everyday responsibility of their daily routine, and not so every day actions.
To perform their duty, the brain requires a sense of routine order.

To give orders, all that is required are provisions, meals and uniforms.

To take orders, all that is needed is transportation and money.

When the belly is full the brain takes a nap.
In service for a cause, which promises a better future,
some people hope that soldiering is simply participating in betterment,
that there is no bitterness when playing a role to form a new future -
that futurism might require reforming society's character at gun point, is moot.

There is no escaping the net I have momentarily been cast in.
The role being projected onto me is foreign spy and coup saboteur.
It is not the first time photojournalists have been incorrectly seen as saboteurs.
I am very fortunate that I am carrying my healing cure-all sattchel,
and that the officer in charge recognizes the cures because his Mother is a healer.

What else can I do. I accept and I receive their orders to be a giver.

I share free herbal advice and remedies with the soldiers.
I help sooth their nerves and calm their spirits.
Many of the soldiers thought the coup would be over by lunchtime.
By now, they expected to be home enjoying a celebratory meal,
a hero's nap in the shade, completely out of danger and out of the spotlight.

At this point it is best not to shoot my mouth off,
by offering advice on military matters - 

so I stick to healing matters of the heart.
The solders have begun to share with me their true love stories.

My role shifts to from receiving orders to giving advice to the lovelorn.

How to win the war on love, and keep the passion for life alive, requires foreplay.

The soldiers are worried that their beloveds might worry.
As the morning grows older it is obvious 
that the Military has more than just time on their hands.
These guys are knowledgable about all the latest foreign cinema.
Besides the hot topic of healing love, we have entertainment in common.

I grew up reading international poetry and watching world cinema.

I wing my part in this unfolding drama.
For instance, earlier in the morning,
after searching my belongings,
Military officials declared that 'Vacationer' 
is the hardest vocation to truly prove.

Military asks;
"Who in their right mind would bring so many books on a vacation?!
Unless you want to divert attention away from your true intention!?"
But I stick to my story, that I am a tourist -
who, instead of buying cheap souvenirs,
buys books written by local writers, artists and healers.

By this point, 
we were all so tired, we begin a sweaty relaxation.

The soldiers have had little news 
of what is going on in the capital city.
This morning, when they took up arms 
they were promised it would all be over quickly, 
no difficulty, no casualties, no foreign transients. 

I find it hard to believe 
that when people pick up guns 
they do not expect violence,
especially if they want to create 
a turbulence of change to social habit. 

The politics of people always turns from fantasy gains into unimagined losses.

The politics of creating chaos to control the uncontrollable.

How do people react to disruptive actions? 
If people have a hard time driving cars, 
in crowded cities without accidents,
then it is hard to expect they can drive political change 
without damaging something and bumping into everything.

Violence bankrupts, until empty, all accounts secured within the human heart.

The wealth of our planet is vaulted and locked away, sacrificed

every time a choice to solve perceived problems is violence.

After Military asks me some final wavering questions, 
sudden smiles unmask what was previously hidden.
Simple smiles brake the rhythm to their man hunt of this woman's rights.

Now hunting for our evening meal becomes the starving soldier's only objective.
Bags of potato chips become the trophy of their victory over airport security.

Tonight, together, 
like cats, we all sleep, stretched out,
on the ocean-side airport tarmac fishy smells surrounding us.
I count my lucky stars that I am still on this earth,
that we are all out of harms way, and that no one is hurting.
The diplomacy of love, healing and sharing humanity cures all wounds.

As we settle into the uncertainty of night's darkness,
we all share a few jokes held in our heart's lightness.
We smile to cool down after the day's heated events, 
and laugh to warm up within the cold night's dampness.
Deep in my slumber I dream of yak tea and Tibetan medical mantras.

We are cats and dogs, fish and birds, sun and moon moving within the unknown.

The unknowns of universality are not the same as the truths of our times.

My dreams are neutral, but my desires are intentional.
Mornings are best for negotiating change.
Eventually I secure my exit, from sleeping on the Army's tarmac.
For my exodus, I am given an escort by one of the soldier’s cousins -
who also happens to be a part-time airport pseudo-taxi driver.

I am held captive again, this time by the airport taxi driver.
He refused to take me anywhere except another cousin’s guest hotel.
I am encouraged to learn it has toilet facilities and clean towels.
I am in a hurry to clean up from my yesterday experiences.
Those events, which ushered in my Fiji arrival, need a nice clean start.

I simply want to move on to a new day 
featuring some more; sunshine in the spice market, 
eating a large hot meal of spicy warm samosas,
taking a bus to the other side of the island -
my plan is to stay in one of the indigenous communities.

Life is not about t
he inner and outer conflicts 
we meet unexpectedly when least expected -
Life is about being nourished and becoming more full
when fed from our own internal battery charged with upliftng neutrality. 
Our wealth is our command of our essential compassion and wisdom.

When we greet our world with a warlike attitude,

we create a personal battleground where we engage with rage.
Out of any unnecessary choices come the usual necessary promises,
the promise that change through rage creates grief,
not the promise that transformation from love creates compassion.

Being a keeper of the peace gives us the possibility to have understanding.

Wanting to be a peacekeeper gives and receives the gift of more to give.

Holding peace as a value means storing peace within our hearts.
When wisdom is required, reach within into the heart where peace is found.
Greet our world with compassionate wise behavior. 
Make an inner commitment to harmonize within, to become simply humble.
Greet war, with an open attitude of peace.

~~ Other People's Fingerprints ~~
Sometime after 2001 Daud Sutton wrote;
“If a polyhedron is ‘undone’
along some of its edges,
 and folded flat,
the result is known as its ‘net’.”