Not so very long ago, it would have been laughable to think about connecting with friends in Japan, Australia, Germany, without great expense and long delay. Now, the Internet makes almost instant communication, at no expense at all, a daily occurrence.
You probably know, if you've been watching the news, that the situation in Iraq grows daily more dire. The number of car bombings, abductions and shootings increases to the point where some observers speak of civil war. Yet this chaos has not entirely stopped the flow of communication from people living in the madness. Recently, the speed of the Internet and the speed of telepathy united to present an amazing communication from Baghdad to The World Dreams Peace Bridge.
From a time slightly before the invasion of Iraq in March, 2003, members of the Peace Bridge have been dreaming about the children of the world, particularly the children of Iraq. What began as dreams soon turned into the Aid for Traumatized Children Project, through which the Peace Bridge has been able to provide almost $20,000 in aid to the children in Baghdad, Fallujah and other hard-hit areas of the country. For a small group of dreamers, that is a large feat.
Project fundraising is ongoing. For example, the Silent Auction/International Bazaar at this year's conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams in Berkeley, California June 24-28 will be a fundraiser for the group's work with the children of Baghdad. This work has provided therapeutic toys, art supplies and dream journals for the children, and also support for important, Iraqi-led programs such as Seasons Art School, run by Emad Hadi; and the PTSD Project of Dr. Ali Rasheed and Dr. Wisal Aldouri, aimed at teaching those who work with children how to recognize and treat post-traumatic stress.
In all of this cooperative effort, it has seemed only natural that e-mail communication would hurry back and forth many times each week from Baghdad, in the same way that members of the Peace Bridge living in Dallas, or Cincinnati, or Istanbul, less threatened parts of the world, communicate via the Internet.
Then, for two and a half alarming weeks in May, there were no communications from Baghdad. We knew that Ali Rasheed was safe in London, where he had been invited to speak about his program. But what of Emad and the children at Seasons Art School? Were they safe? Were they alive? Had the frequent power outages disrupted communication? Had the Internet Cafe they use closed?
In the past few months, I have become the primary contact for Emad with the Peace Bridge. We are in the process of creating a dream work program with twenty-one children between the ages of ten and fourteen who attend Seasons Art School, and I had just sent the first dream exercise for these children, The Crystal Birds, before silence descended.
I found myself feeling frantic as the days went by. Via the Internet (or lack of it) I was learning what it feels like to have loved ones living with the deprivations and uncertainties of war. Over the months since we first connected with Baghdad, I have come to admire and respect to the fullest the courage and heroic determination of those who remain in Iraq to fight for the well-being of the children.
On May 24, I sent a note to the Peace Bridge discussion group, expressing my feelings, my fear for Emad and the others. It felt, I said, as bad to me as if someone were dropping bombs on Kotaro in Tokyo or taking shots at Victoria's children in Australia. Could we please have a special DaFuMu dreaming for our friends in Baghdad? (For a full explanation of DaFuMu Dreaming go to the World Dreams Peace Bridge web site at http://www.worlddreamspeacebridge.org.) Other members of the group agreed.
At last, on Wednesday morning, May 25, I received an e-mail from Emad. Indeed, things had been bad. One of the school's staff had been injured on the way to the Ministry of Education and had to be rushed to the hospital. In another event, "terrorists" attacked the security guards at The Peace Bird's School, another program operated by Emad's organization, Childhood Voices-Iraq. And threats had been made against Emad himself.
At the same time, Emad was telling me not to worry. "In fact, you know," he said, "once security is missed in a country, then everything becomes abnormal, even though we are used to such things."
And finally, in this e-mail, Emad offered a proof to the strength of DaFuMu Dreaming.
" Dear Jean," he said, "before I forget I want to tell you something very important, I wrote this message today morning because yesterday I had seen you in my dream, you were crying and I saw your face different from the photo you sent us. Also I had noticed many people moving around you, so I really got worried and hope you are well, inshaallah."
Emad was writing out of concern for me, apparently having connected with my feelings and with the DaFuMu dreams and prayers sent his way by members of the Peace Bridge.
There are many wise dreamers on The World Dreams Peace Bridge. One of them, Kotaro, responded this week to say:
"When many things around the world seem becoming worse and worse a temptation attacked me, to look at these events from the point of higher dimension, I mean to see them very super psychic dimension. This temptation is very strong. But when I notice it I immediately escape from it. Ancient sages taught sometime that every human come into this world with the agreement on what the entity will experience on this planet. According to the teachings from one of the Asian religion, all things are just illusions. To escape from these too easy understandings, I always imagine so many children who are born within these years and those who were murdered, killed by the War or lack of foods, extreme cold weather, direct and indirect violence of power politics of big countries, and the babies waiting to born in wombs of their mothers who had been affected by DU without doubt."
Can we change the world by paying attention? By dreaming? By hoping? I believe so.
Note: Please, if you are attending the IASD conference in Berkeley, stop to look at the items in the World Dreams Silent Auction/International Bazaar. All proceeds go to aid the children of Iraq.
If you would like to know more about the work of The World Dreams Peace Bridge, take a look at our web site at
http://www.worlddreamspeacebridge.org, and if you would like to join us in discussion, just send a post to