Dreaming Kumasi War and Peace

War Drums

Jesse and his mother “Freckles” 28 years ago

I woke to the sound of war drums from a lovely dream about Jesse the Wonder Horse and a precocious young foal. Their relationship was exactly what you would expect between an elder and a youngster. The two were tethered by one long rope to a tall and sheltering tree.

In my dream, I had nothing better to do than watch the dynamics between these two animals. A fluffy colt with bright eyes and irresistible energy who kept getting tangled up in the rope. And my beloved Jesse, steady and patient, unwinding the tangle, rope in his teeth, setting his charge free to romp to the end of his rope again. Later, I told my story to someone else in my dream, gushing about how the high-hipped foal had captured my heart. “I am just so taken by him! He’s beautiful!”

I lay in bed, savoring the rich images, the reassuring feeling that I didn’t need to intervene, that all was well with the world, that I could relax and let nature take its course.

Like I always do, I began tying my dream into the details of my waking life. The equine scenario quickly led me to our situation at home at Casa Kumasi, where Bob and I share the house with several precocious youngsters. Bright, talented and 30-some years our juniors. Some of whom are at the end of their rope in terms of trying to accomplish work in Kumasi, with their struggles to sort out their careers and now with the newest development in American politics, the impending war with Syria.

Yesterday afternoon, three of us were in conversation on the upstairs deck and Jay burst into the doorway, practically swallowing his tongue in his haste to get the words out, incredulous over at video interview with various American Politicos on Democracy Now. Our response was appropriate outrage tempered by deja vu.

This morning Bob and I reviewed the deck scene, commenting on how unsurprising it is that we are on the verge of another unwarranted military action and how seemingly hopeless it is to oppose the tide of destruction. We’ve seen this so many times since we were in grade school, beginning with the Vietnam War.

And then I turned to my desk where my browser took me immediately to my brother Joe’s latest, an articulate piece opposing Obama’s rash decision to rush into yet another war-torn land to commit further damage, written with feedback from interviews with Venezuelans, Catholics and soldiers.

GasMasksFrom the Chaplain’s Laptop: Children of Syria

Virtually every non-political organization in the Middle East is pleading against military intervention. The Orthodox Patriarch of Damascus, the Jesuits in Syria, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Melkite Patriarch in Syria, the Copts (who are facing extermination in Egypt from US-supported regime change), and the Armenians are all saying to President Obama “do not send attack missiles into our country.” In a magazine interview, Trappist nuns in Aleppo describe the real situation in their country: “All has been destroyed: a nation destroyed, generations of young people exterminated, children growing up wielding weapons, women winding up alone and targeted by various types of violence. The people are straining their eyes and ears in front of the television: all they’re waiting for is a word from Obama! … Will they make us breathe the toxic gases of the depots they hit, tomorrow, so as to punish us for the gases we have already breathed in? …It has become too easy to pass lies off as noble gestures, to pass ruthless self-interest off as a search for justice, to pass the need to appear [strong] and to wield power off as a “moral responsibility not to look away…” 

Bob and I have known for a long time that the American economy is built around perpetual war and that we are all, willing or not, complicit. Roped together, if you will. Young and old, rich and poor, passionate and jaded.

I keep asking myself why, if we are supposedly sentient beings, do we continue destroying each other? Must history continue to repeat itself? It’s enough to make me crawl back into bed and continue dreaming about a benevolent old gelding caring for his rambunctious young charge.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

3 replies on “War Drums”

Beautifully written piece Camille. Humanities seeming irresistible pull to repeat the sins of the past doesn’t I admit fill
me with hope for the future. Lets hope those young and young at heart keep fighting the good fight, no matter how futile it may seem.

I, too, understand all too well… more than you might know…the reality that the American economy is based on and dependent upon the perpetuation of war.
I empathize with the feeling of want (or is it need?) to crawl back into bed and continue dreaming. I fear for my sanity and to not be overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness…

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