[Last update: 25 March 2003]

Letter from Peggy Gish

Monday, March 24, 2003

[Note: This letter has been edited for length.]

Right now as I write this there have been two bombs exploding in the background. . .In most directions we see plumes of black smoke coming up from buildings burning.Yesterday there was a lot of black smoke from burning oil that was hard on me physically. . . [Note: Peggy has severe allergy problems. Being in a house with a gas stove is hard for her.]

Some cars are still on the streets and we have been able to get around in taxis. Yesterday many of us went to a hospital where wounded people are being taken and were able to go into the wards and see and talk with the patients and their families: one 5 year old girl who had major spinal chord injuries from shelling, a 12 year old boy who had a large cut in his abdomen from shrapnel, and his intestines were coming out. He and 11 other members of his family were injured by shrapnel while in their home two days ago and were hospitalized. Many others were awaiting or just coming out of surgery for removing shrapnel. . .

For the last three nights I have slept out in one of two tents out at the Al Wathba water treatmentplant which is next to a large hospital complex. We could not get approval to put the tents on hospital grounds. Most of the bombing has been more distant from our camp, but a couple have sounded about one fourth or one half mile from us. There is a shelter building near our tents that we could go into if we felt we were in danger.

. . .

I have been experiencing a mixture of fear, anger, but mostly grief about what is happening. There is no good reason for this assault on this society and these innocent people. I am impressed by their strength and courage and their continued openness and graciousness to us who are from countries who are bombing them.

. . .

We don't know from day to day what we will be able to do. Our "minders" have just started wanting to know where everyone is during the day, and not having us go out on the streets around the hotels unaccompanied, but we have been able to go to most of the places we have wanted to go. So far we haven't had to go [anywhere] or do anything we have not chosen and which we feel is not meaningful or useful. But our situations could change anytime. We are discussing how we would deal with these possibilities. . .

We pray that the countries of the world are still able to stop what is happening here. We continue to need your prayers for us in all this. I feel that we have been carried by God's love and strength, and your love, prayers, and support. We are very much encouraged when we hear about massive protests and arrests for [civil disobedience] all around. Much strength to all of you in the good work you are doing. Thank you so much.

I love you all very much.


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