The mother, with tears streaming down her cheeks, thrust her baby toward us. “Take him,” she cried in Spanish. “Take him to a place where there is no war.”
The year was 1983, and a U.S.-sponsored conflict was tearing Nicaragua apart. I was there as part of the first Witness for Peace team to set up a prayerful, protective, and nonviolent presence in that country’s war zones. We were on a bus from the tiny town of Jalapa, bumping over a rutted, isolated road back toward Managua, with bursts of mortar fire echoing around us.
When July 19 comes around each year, I think of Nicaragua. Two weeks after fireworks explode here from coast to coast to celebrate the success of the American Revolution, Nicaraguans mark the triumph of theirs. Thirty-seven years ago today, they overthrew the Somoza dynasty that had brought repression and ruination to their country for more than four decades.