for Sundus Shaker Saleh, Iraqi Mother, with my love.
In our despair that justice is slow
we sit with heads bowed
we will ever be healed.
Perhaps it is a question
only the ravaged
And is that not now
almost all of us?
But hope is on the way.
As usual Hope is a woman
herding her children
all she retains of who
she was; as usual
except for her kids
she has lost almost everything.
Hope is a woman who has lost her fear.
Along with her home, her employment, her parents, her olive trees, her grapes. The peace of independence; the reassuring noises of ordinary
Hope rises, She always does,
did we fail to notice this in all the stories
they’ve tried to suppress?
and she puts on her same
unfashionable threadbare coat
and, penniless, she flings herself
against the cold, polished, protective chain mail
of the very powerful
the very rich – chain mail that mimics
suspiciously silver coins
and lizard skin –
and all she has to fight with is the reality of what was done to her;
to her country; her people; her children;
All she has as armor is what she has learned
must never be done.
Not in the name of War
and especially never in the
name of Peace.
Hope is always the teacher
with the toughest homework.
Our assignment: to grasp
what has never been breathed in our stolen
on the hill:
Without justice, we will never
Alice Walker’s most recent book is The Cushion in the Road.
The organization, Iraq Witness, has filed suit against the Bush Administration on behalf of an Iraqi single mother, Sundus Shaker Saleh. Saleh alleges that the Iraq War was a premeditated war against the Iraqi people — and now she is the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against six key members of the Bush administration.
For more information about this inspiring standing up of a mother of five, visit the CODEPINK website, www.codepink.org.