Peggy Gish, author of, Walking Through Fire: Iraqis’ Struggle for Justice and Reconciliation (Cascade Books, 2103), now a member of the CPT IK team and sharing the stories of the Yazidis terrorized by the Islamic State
As minority ethnic groups in Iraq are being terrorized, killed, and forced out of their villages by the violence of the Islamic State, countries of the world have begun a new round of military strikes and supplying weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi government forces. In the midst of this, Peggy Gish has been working with the Christian Peacemaker Teams on the ground in the Kurdish region of Iraq. With local individuals and groups, the Iraqi Kurdistan team has been able to listen to and share the stories of, and advocate for the needs of the people whose lives have been under threat.
In her book, Walking Through Fire: Iraqis’ Struggle for Justice and Reconciliation (Cascade Books, 2013) Peggy calls on us not only to open our hearts to victims the violence, but to the understand these events in light of the past decades of war, occupation, and internal strife.
We are invited to step into the streets of war-torn Iraq with her and meet those who live every day with the consequences of military “solutions.” Through Iraqis’ eyes—through their stories—Walking Through Fire “tells the truth” about what war and the U.S. government’s antiterrorism policies have really meant. Iraqis recount the abuses they experienced in detention systems, the excessive violence of the U.S.-led occupying forces as well as tensions between Kurds and Arab Iraqis—tensions rooted in Saddam Hussein’s genocide against the Kurds.
Also highlighted are the efforts of courageous and creative Iraqis speaking out against injustices and building movements of nonviolence and reconciliation. We get a glimpse of how the author, a peace-worker, immersed in the chaos of war, dealt with the suffering of those around her, as well as her own personal losses and kidnapping ordeal. Her experiences strengthen her belief that the power of nonviolent suffering love is stronger than that of violence and force, and can break down barriers and be transformative in threatening situations. She counters the myths of the superiority of violent force to root out evil in places such as Iraq, and challenges us to do all we can to prevent the tragedy of any future war.