They wanted to shoot the children…

Mixed media drawing by Susan E. Brooks

“Mindless slaughter of innocent children! Gotta get outta here!”

Daily choice—no choice really. Try to stop the killing and get killed myself, knowing they would just go ahead and kill the babies anyway. Or I can try to get out and let the world know what is going on. Sneaking around, making arrangements to leave, must be careful or they’ll find out and kill me first. Pretending to go along with this sickening status quo while trying to find a way to escape.

I woke up distraught and horrified with a crippling load of guilt on my chest. It had been the worst dream ever! Everything was just gray and bloody. Why am I dreaming such a horror story?

Then I remembered. The Kurdish Peace Feast. I stood face to face with a woman who had lost three family members to ISIS. What does one say to someone who has suffered so much?

I didn’t know what to say except, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry!” and I hugged her. Multiple times we hugged that night. We reached for each other, and it was no polite-keep-some-space-between-us-because-we-just-met kind of hug. No, we grabbed and held on, almost desperately—what else could we do or say?

I tried to share in her suffering, and now I’m having nightmares too; but at least I get to wake up from them.