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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 cabin curtain
appears the flight attendant 
nervous, unsure, undone and shaken.
Her voice shares with us 
that the army has taken over 
the government, the country and the airport.
Be prepared to, upon arrival, be scooped up 
in the military net, cooperation required.

We land.
We open our doors 
to welcome the soldiers on board -
they act like hesitant new fathers 
crooked grins while cradling their AK-47s ...
they look like they would be lost without them.

My reception 
and unwelcoming committee 
is semi automatic -
a machine gun pointed in my face, 
just under my nose, above my lips
yet out of my reach,
and any vital organ.

I am always touched 
when first contact,
with new acquaintances 
progresses to the physical -
The welcome committee is clear 
with their intentions, that I 
have no choice but to 
welcome their first moves ...
a funky dance of hands 
moving over my body – 
for some people frisking 
might be necessary when dating,
but permission is always required f
or embrace, and disembarkation.

My timing is impeccable,
as usual, interesting to be sure -
it is my first time in Fiji 
and I arrive during a political coup ...
the politicians 
and political system 
are being disrupted ...
well, in all honesty ...
politics in general, 
everyday, can be disruptive.

We wait on the plane ...
waiting ...
to be turned over to our escorts -
I imagine the airport 
is quite active and chaotic,
but upon descending 
we find customs deadly quiet ...
as unexpected participants in the coup, 
we are politely herded into a line up.
There is no one else in sight, 
except men with guns,
but I think I smell a 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 
of the flight terminal, 
I am to be guarded 
under friendly fire, 
from friendly fire,
and prevented from taking flight.

It is an offer I cannot refuse, 
and generous I think, considering -
from my present point of view,
what other place on the island is safer?

My bubble is burst 
when Army becomes suspicious 
of a single woman traveling alone, 
except for her notebooks and camera -
He asks me; 
"Is it just a coincidence 
that a photographer showed up 
during this auspicious historical occurrence?"

To celebrate the occasion of their victory 
over the previous victors -
they argue with me ...
they argue, that their argument to me, is very sound -
“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
is "my view of Fiji, from above was lovely".
"I am hungry, 
tired from the flight - 
and yes, I am traveling solo."

As they continue to speculate about me, 
I make my move ...
I blow my nose,
with such animation,
that everyone laughs, 
astonished at my actions.

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

Normality is needed, 
especially by soldiers, 
who naturally seek a leader 
to take orders from ...
soldiers like to be liberated 
to perform their duty,
but need the pay, meals, uniform, transportation - 
all hoped for, of course, 
in service of their cause or country.
Some soldiers even hope,
to participate in forming a new future,
that might require 
reforming society's characters - at gun point.

There is no escaping 
that I have been momentarily cast in a net,
and the role being projected onto me 
is foreign spy and coup saboteur.
I am very fortunate 
that the herbs 
in my healing-cure-all-sattchel
are recognized by the officer in charge, 
whose Mother happens to be a healer.

What else can I do 
except offer free herbal advice 
and remedies to the soldiers t
o help sooth their nerves 
and calm their spirits.
Many of the soldiers thought 
the coup would be over by lunchtime  -
that they would be home by now
for a celebratory meal and a nap in the shade ...
completely out of danger and 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 heart matters.
The solders have begun to share with me 

their true love stories -
they all want advice 
about how to win and keep 
the passion alive, of their beloveds.
As the morning grows older 
it is obvious that the Military has time on their hands -
these guys are knowledgable of 
all the latest television shows and foreign cinema – 
and so besides the hot topic of healing love 
we also have entertainment in common.

I grew up watching international cinema, 
so I can wing my part in this unfolding drama,
for instance earlier in the morning 
after searching my belongings,
officials declared that vacationer 
is the hardest vocation to prove false,
and so who in their right mind 
would bring so many books on a vacation -
unless they wanted to divert attention 
away from their true intentions!
But I stuck to my story - 
that I am a tourist who, 
instead of buying cheap souvenirs,
buys books written by 
local writers, artists, healers and scholars.

By this point, 

we were all so tired 
we began to relax.
The soldiers have had little news 

of what is going on in the capital - 
and this morning, 
when they took up arms 
they were promised 
it would all be over quickly 
with little difficulty, or casualties. 
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 chaos of uncontrollable 
reactions to your 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.

After final wavering questions 

come sudden smiles -
they break out the results 

of their hunt for our evening meal -
bagged potato chips, 

a trophy from their victory over airport security.

Tonight, together, like cats, we all sleep

ocean-side on the airport tarmac.
We share a few jokes 
to warm up the cold night's dampness.

In the morning, 

I negotiate my exit from Army,
and procure my exodus from the airport.
I am given an escort,

one of the soldier’s cousins,
happened to also be 

a part-time-airport-pseudo-taxi-driver.

I am held captive again, 

this time by the airport taxi driver.
I am forced to stay 
at another cousin’s guest hotel ...
I am most happy to oblige, 
since I am assured it has washing facilities.
In a hurry to clean up 

from the events that ushered in my Fiji arrival -
I dry off and set about 
creating a nice clean start,
for my upcoming journey -
I just want to move on to a new day, 

featuring some sunshine in the spice market, 
and a large hot meal of spicy warm samosas.

Life is not about 

the inner and outer conflicts 
we meet unexpectedly -
but life becomes fed 
from our own internal battery, 
and our command of our essential Soul's wisdom ...
Do we greet our world with a warlike attitude,

and create a personal war out of any thing unnecessary -
or do we greet our world with compassionate behaviour,
and create an inner commitment to harmonize within,
so we can 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’.”