Washing Cars in Wartime – A Guest Post

Just two days ago ISIS released a horrific video of the death of Jordanian pilot Lt Moaz al-Kasasbeh. While ISIS is known to be brutal, this death showed a new level of cruelty, of inhumanity. If man is indeed made in the image of God then those who commit these acts are wounding their creator and I have no doubt, he weeps. The pilot was actually killed January 3rd – a full month before the video was released; a month where negotiations were going on between ISIS and Jordan for his release. The duplicity is nauseating. My friend Laura lived in and loves Jordan and it is through her that I have followed much of this news.

Today’s post is by Laura. It is not about Jordan or the pilot, but it is about war, about violence, about dignity — and human dignity is what I want to think about in the midst of this. Dignity of the innocent, the dignity God gives us in drawing us to himself, in calling us his children. Thank you Laura for this beautiful piece. 



Washing Cars in Wartime
“Syrian rebels attacked army roadblocks in Midan district in the heart of Damascus on Thursday to relieve pressure on outlying rebel strongholds being pounded by air strikes and artillery, opposition activists said.
“Assad’s forces responded by bombarding the densely populated commercial and residential district, situated just outside the Old City walls, killing a woman pedestrian and a worker in a car wash, they said.”
– Reuters, 8 November 2012


In the morning, he rubs his palms through his
hair and swings his legs over the edge of the bed.
At the door, like sentries, stand two pale blue rubber
boots. Knee-heighted waders, he puts them on.

In the morning, he makes his tea and, sipping, walks to
punch in the numbers for the punishing measure.
The tea is hot. Tit for tat, tit for tat, tit for
tat, tit for tat—the numbness is
learned, drummed into minds by
years, obedient generations, of slavish fear.

He marches in his boots to his post,
puddles and soap. The cars roll in.
Astonishing that cars must be washed
during war, bodies of metal,
gleam and polish.
The rain of weaponry makes nothing clean.
Cars must be washed.

Next he marches down the hall to report to the next
goon up. Breathtaking the fruitful efficiency of war
and its stillborn child, death.
Rolling like a wave over the weeping face of
the earth, deracinating life from its soil.
Life scrubbed lifeless.

The soapy water runs red into
the gutter drain. Down in the valley, the cracked
earth drinks the blood of patriots and villains
in equal measure. A green patch of grass,
a bold rebuke that life will not finally succumb and
bow to the instruments of death.
The emptied rubber boots in melted pieces
held more personified dignity in one car washer than a thousand
sorry soles of the regime.


LauraAbout the author: Laura Merzig Fabrycky is a freelance writer and editor, and serves as editor of Missio, a blog of The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation, and Culture. Her writing has been published in Books & CultureThe Review of Faith and International Affairs, the Foreign Service Journal, and Good Housekeeping Middle East; and her poetry has appeared in Glass, her church newsletter, and family Christmas cards. A diplomatic trailing spouse and mother to three young children, Laura has lived in Doha, Qatar; Amman, Jordan; and currently resides in the fever swamps of the Washington, D.C. area

Wrapping Up the Week – January 31, 2015

Now Available on Kindle! 

Between Worlds

Along with the massive snow storm affectionately called the Blizzard of 2015, the big news here this week is that Between Worlds – Essays on Culture and Belonging is on Kindle! More so it’s FREE on Kindle until Sunday night so please! Take advantage of it! If you have a Kindle or any kind of electronic reader there is nothing to lose! And maybe, just maybe, you’ll want the print edition as well. A girl can hope. Click here to get your free prize. Stay tuned for a giveaway on the blog next week! 

Conversion Roads by Laura Merzig Fabrycky. The best thing I read all week comes from a friend who writes for the Washington Institute of Vocation and Culture. This piece comes from the wisdom of a child’s remark at a dinner table. You won’t want to miss the poignant challenge of this piece.

Excerpt:  “It is not lost on me that parts of modern-day Nineveh — right where Jonah was sent by God — are still under the control of Daesh, those who call themselves the Islamic State. My heart is not unlike Jonah’s in  that I naturally long for God’s holy, wrathful judgment upon these murderous zealots, rather than for his gracious, blindingly good interventions. Perhaps among these we call Daesh, there may be another Saul? And perhaps, among us, there may be another Jonah?”

After The Slaughter, A Pakistani School Seeks To Heal. You all know that Pakistan has a big chunk of my heart. This piece goes along with the piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago called “The Courage to Begin Again.” 

Excerpt: At first glance, the school does look “healed up.” Clumps of bright-eyed boys, wearing smart, dark-green jackets and gray slacks, are hanging around on the lawns outside beneath a dripping gray sky. They’re chatting and examining this arriving stranger with friendly interest. Classes are over for the day; they’re waiting to go home.

Then you start to notice the details. The fresh concrete, where the school’s perimeter walls have been made much higher; the glistening new razor wire coiled on top of those walls; the soldiers with machine guns guarding them; and also, hanging from those same walls, the many banners bearing the words, in capital letters: “I SHALL RISE, AND I SHALL SHINE.”

With fewer voices, Auschwitz survivors speak This week marked the 70th anniversary of the closing of Auschwitz. The stories of Auschwitz continue to make us shudder and close our eyes to the horror, and to take our breath away with the hope and resilience shown by survivors. I did not want to miss talking about this during this week. Here is another piece from BBC News: Auschwitz 70th anniversary: Survivors warn of new crimes

Making “Fawaffles”: An Experiment with Arab and American Cultural Identity This is a delightful read by a kindred spirit and blog friend, Jessica. Jessica is half Palestinian – her mother grew up in Nazareth – and half American – her dad grew up in the midwest. Jessica knows well what it is to grow up Between Worlds. One of the ways she has chosen to embrace this is through food. You have to read her blog to learn more about this, but I love what she does with her blog Bint Rhoda’s Kitchen. In the meantime take a look at the article I linked above.

Excerpt: “But here’s the thing about being a third-culture-kid, about being from more than one place.  You always have more cards than you show.  And maybe, just maybe, the only way to truly be at home is for you to occasionally, just occasionally, throw down your whole hand.”

On my bedside stand: I’m still reading I am Malala – here’s a poignant quote from this past week

First the Taliban took our music, then our Buddhas, then our history…”

Travel Quote: Source – http://istanabagus.com/quotes/travel-quotes/

world make memories

Picture Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/hands-world-map-global-earth-600497/ word art by Marilyn R. Gardner