For 1,579 days since the start of the war in Iraq we have witnessed the destruction of a land and its people in the name of peace and security.
Billions of our dollars, millions of hours of human effort, the sacrifice of thousands of lives, the torture and maiming of soldiers and civilians -- and we are no safer.
The people of Iraq live in a hellish, escalating civil war that is spilling over its borders, and the world looks at our government with fear, distrust, and bitter disrespect.
Speeches, commissions, images, news reports, punditry, fear-mongering, and false patriotism have only distanced us from the horror and suffering that permeates our world because of this war.
HOW CAN WE RESPOND?
We sense a need for a different response -- a response from the heart and the body.
We sense a need for people from every community, spiritual practice, and political stance to set aside time to come to Chicago's lakefront and join others in a practice used by all cultures in times of insurmountable suffering: the bowing or prostration of the body to the earth.
WHAT WILL WE DO?
This ceremony has no sponsors. It is an organic response of people from across the city and suburbs of Chicago.
It will begin at sunrise and end at sunset on July 15, 2007.
It will take place on the pier of North Shore Beach in Rogers Park.
We seek only your participation by either performing basic sun salutations as practiced in Hatha yoga, bows or prostrations as practiced by Buddhists and Muslims, offerings of prayer while kneeling on the sand as practiced by Christians, or simply bowing and kneeling to the earth in an act of awareness of the great need of our world for healing and peace.
We ask that you perform as many as you feel able as we count off each day that the war has continued. We suggest that you try to do 108, which is a sacred number for Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians, symbolizing a measurement of sacrifice and sustained reverence.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?We also seek volunteers to ring a bell and announce each day as we move through the 1,579 days since the war began on March 19, 2003.
We ask that these volunteers sign up for one of the 40 months of the war.
Prayer flags, candles, poems, incense, offerings of flowers to be placed on the pier or on the shore are encouraged but will be removed at the end of the day.
Donations will be accepted for Emergency (www.emergencyusa.org), a humanitarian, neutral, non-profit organization that provides high-quality treatment, surgery, and rehabilitation to civilians in war and post-war areas around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Emergency also trains medical and non-medical personnel in these areas.