An hour after anti-aircraft fire stopped crackling overhead, the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) delegation walked the streets of Baghdad. From the bomb shelter on the first floor of the Al Dar Hotel in the Iraqi capital, they heard and felt the first strike in the battle for Iraq by American-led coalition forces.
On Wednesday flashes lit up the sky like lightning. The ground shook. Explosions, air raid sirens, and anti-aircraft fire roared in a horrific cacophony of noise. Yet, hours after the first military exchanges between Iraq and the coalition, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams walked to an orphanage to comfort sobbing children and feed toddlers.
Six CPT staff members remain in Iraq as the war heats up. Almost daily since October, CPT volunteers and staffers have visited the orphanage run by the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Mother Teresa. After the attack they also went to the Al Monsur Hospital to encourage staff and pray with patients. Later they erected a tent beside the Al Wathba water treatment center, yards from the spot where they had planted a tree and prayed for peace just six days before.
"Some of us will sleep in [the tent] overnight," says Scott Kerr, an American CPT volunteer. "We are already vulnerable by being here, so we hope to protect the water treatment center because it is vital to civilians' survival."
He says CPT's delegation has taken a perilous stand. Kerr says members are willing to risk their lives to chronicle the conditions and impact of the war on civilians. Hours after President George Bush delivered a 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, Canadian CPT volunteer Lisa Martens said the team was not contemplating leaving Iraq—although war had become a certainty. She said ...1