Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Profiles In Courage

Lynne Stewart Joy

I had lost faith in the system completely. I could not imagine courage in the face of the tyranny of fear today. I kept thinking of the stories of bravery in John Kennedy's book, "Profiles In Courage" I have a first edition somewhere... I remember the old television show made from the book ... and thought, if only...

We knew of the courage of Lynne Stewart, the quiet courage of the translator Mohammed Yousry, as they faced being tried for the fears of their times. But, I imagined what could we do, as the government demanded 30 years in jail for Lynne... Today, I waited in the court room hall, there was too little room for us to get into the tiny court room. Lynne entered the packed hall, and the crowd began to sing, "My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord... Glory Glory Alleluia, her truth is marching on... " Then chanted "Lynne Stewart Must Go Free!" until the walls rang.

Then we waited ... all day in the cold. Late in the afternoon word came down, Twenty-eight months for Lynne Stewart and twenty months for Mohammed Yousry. He continued bail for both, as they appealed their convictions. I stand, eyes filled with tears, and in awe of the courage of Judge Koeltl, standing up to the fear and pressure of his day, to take his place among those who John Kennedy described as profiles in courage. When he spoke of leniency because, "Ms. Stewart performed a public service, not only to her clients, but to the nation," Judge Koeltl created a bit of faith in the future of our republic.


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