Since I heard about it Monday at noon,
from a friend who didn’t want
his friends to learn about it from social media,
I have been connecting with some other of his friends,
through social media, socializing these media,
by asking for numbers and calling people,
so we hear each others‘ voice
when I break the bad news.
Why does loss bring us together?
The DRC government says
MJ has been kidnapped by “negative forces not yet identified”.
In his last report to the UN Security Council
kidnappings are mentioned 21 times.
It says most armed groups fundraise like this.
His group had found that
“certain members of the Congolese security forces had
also participated in kidnappings”.
War is messy like that.
I don’t have many pictures.
Of MJ and me.
The only one’s I found, on social media,
are from his second to last time he was with us
He said he needed a break from the DRC.
My dad probably has some.
And mom was always better at keeping in touch with MJ.
I always knew that MJ was an important person in my life.
We called each other brothers.
He lived with us when I was a teenager,
and my hero.
He taught me how to play poker and Warcraft III,
and somewhere in between
to be humble and brave.
But our last facebook chat was August 2016.
when we had just missed another opportunity
to see each other.
In Germany he was working with US soldiers wanting to get out
of the military that had ensnared them with empty promises
out of the senseless wars.
In the DRC he was working with Rwandan rebels wanting to get out
of the militia that had ensnared them with empty promises
out of the senseless wars.
One time, he jumped out of a window
when the military police was after him
This time I guess,
there was no window to jump out of.
As we gather to pray
with words from Mountain States Mennonite Conference
I feel close to him.
But also this nagging realization,
that we cannot say the names of the four Congolese
who were also abducted.
Because no newspaper bothered researching and reporting their names.
Not even the DRC government.
Even in mourning, all lives are not equal.
I believe and hold out hope
that MJ is alive
that he will be returned to us soon
and that he will dance at my wedding
But if I believe and hold out hope,
why does it feel like
I am writing a eulogy?
The MCC calendar I picked up,
for free at a local church,
has a picture from the Congo for the month of March.
Telling the story of
MCC‘ efforts to demilitarize Rwandan rebels in the DRC.
Of MJ’s work.
Danke Benni! Ich bete auch mit.
Love it! And I have pix of you two.
Thank you for writing this, Benni. I am so sorry for everybody whose feelings are stuck in this terrible limbo of uncertainty. You and all of MJ’s family and friends will be in my prayers.
Great long poem, Benni.
May God protect the abducted on either side.
May God grant peace that’s deep and wide.
May God send love.