Tag Archives: Iraq


“If you want to make peace, don’t talk to your friends.  You talk to your enemies.”  Desmond Tutu

English: Sunday morning sermon delivered by Gr...

English: Sunday morning sermon delivered by Greg Barrett, author of The Gospel of Father Joe: Revolutions & Revelations in the Slums of Bangkok. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What have you done this week to create peace in your heart, your family, or your community?

Spiritually Inspiring Talk

Last night I was mesmerized by Greg Barrett, a Pulitzer-nominated author who spoke about his latest book, The Gospel of Rutba: War, Peace, and the Good Samaritan Story in Iraq.  This is the story of how Rutba, a rural desert town in western Iraq, rescued three American peacemakers during the Shock and Awe bombings of 2003.  Not far from the Jordanian border, the peacemakers’ taxi careened off the road and crashed.  One of the occupants was very seriously injured.  A truckload of Iraqis found them and took them to a small clinic in Rutba where the hospital had recently been destroyed by American Bombs.  Despite the destruction and lack of supplies, the Iraqi doctors saved the men’s lives and refused their money.  The Iraqi’s only request was, “Tell the world.”

Seven years later, despite warnings from the American military and the Iraqis that they would probably be killed, the peacemakers returned to help the town heal.  Greg Barrett accompanied them.  They refused to carry weapons and when the Iraqis discovered their intention for returning, they welcomed them as brothers and sisters.

English: US Marines cook kabobs for Iraqi patr...

English: US Marines cook kabobs for Iraqi patrons on the streets of Al Qaim (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Love Heals All

This story is just another example of how, when we choose to act out of love and peace, we can heal the divide between us.  Seeing the love of humanity that Greg Barrett exudes reminds me how important it is for us to have the courage to reach out in whatever way we can to those who are different.  We must learn to see “the enemy” as humanity.

Respect Cultural Differences

In the discussion after the talk, my favorite story was the one Greg told about the dinner the peacemakers and Iraqis had together on the return trip. Knowing that the Iraqis ate their food with their hands, scooping it up with pita bread, the Americans followed that custom out of respect for their hosts.  There was no interpreter and they did not speak each other’s language.  After they began eating, the Americans looked across the table at the Iraqis to make contact.  What they saw were the Iraqis eating their meal with utensils.  Both sides smiled at each other and burst into laughter.

What more can I say?  Well, I can only say I hope you will visit the book website and Greg’s blog—he’s a wonderful writer and a thinking, caring human being.  He’s on a book tour, sharing this story to open minds and connect us all, and he’s trying to raise money to do a documentary on the story.  Maybe you can help.

Hearing Greg’s story has inspired me and I hope it will inspire you too.  Namaste.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Gospel of Rutba (on Amazon.com), Muslim Peacemaker Teams, After Nine Years in Iraq: Reflections on Peace, Nonviolence, and Reconciliation