Peace on Earth



e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service
      
 

Peace on Earth

Dec. 12, 2005    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
800-282-8011   
tparham@flumc.org     Orlando {0411}

NOTE: A head and shoulders picture of Lewis is available at http://www.flumc.info/photo_gallery2.shtml.




An e-Review Commentary
By the Rev. James R. Lewis**




Sentiments about "Peace on Earth" abound this time of year, as well as prayers of thanksgiving, and Christmas wishes. That infamous song about the missing "two front teeth" could easily be rewritten "All I want for Christmas is my Daddy home ... " (or insert "hubby," "sonny," "wifey," etc.).

In light of these wishes for Peace on Earth and prayers of thanks, let me share again my oft-repeated mission: "The Good News that is often Forgot."

Back in June I received a summary of accomplishments in Iraq since Iraq sovereignty in 2004. It included the following (a whole lot more too, but these are the most obvious indicators):

* As of June 2005, and despite years of neglect by the Saddam Hussein regime, an insurgency intent on intimidating teachers and students, and the damage caused by war, 3,105 schools have been renovated and another 950 are currently under rehabilitation.

* Considerable progress has been made in the field of education: 860 secondary school master trainers were trained and passed on training to 31,772 secondary school educators nationwide. More than 8.7 million revised math and science books, which no longer mention Saddam Hussein, have been printed.

* Health-care spending is up more than 30 times its prewar levels. More than 3 million children have received life-saving vaccinations.

* There have been 26,785 new Iraqi businesses established.

* Construction is underway on 142 new primary health-care facilities across Iraq.

* Sixty-five water treatment projects have been completed, with almost 100 still in progress.

Since that time there was a strong showing at the constitutional referendum, and the next election will soon take place. As we approach the election, we are seeing signs the bulk of the Sunni population — which boycotted the election in January — will be voting this time, as it appears they are becoming convinced that the democratic process holds for them the most hope. Of course there's still a lot of public fussing about conditions here — it's beginning to sound like a pre-election year back home! Not a pretty sight, but democracy at work nonetheless.

Even some of the insurgents are trying to get in on the peace train: "President Jalal Talabani confirmed he had been contacted by rebels wanting to join the political process" (Arab News, 28 Nov.). Insurgent groups are responding to President Talibani's offer to "help" them lay down their arms. It's too early to tell what net effect this new development will have, but it is a wonderful sign of progress.

While I can't quite be Santa and put every soldier mom and dad in a stocking back home, I am glad to say that prayers for Peace on Earth are yielding results — that peace is on the move in this end of the world. We're not all there yet, but we are making significant progress in that direction.

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This article relates to Peace with Justice.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Lewis is a chaplain serving in the 111th Chaplain's Detachment in Baghdad, Iraq. Lewis was ordained an elder in full connection in the Florida Conference in 1998.




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