Alors, mes amies (forgive my french, but with a Canadian guest I have to show some words in French)  ... that was my first welcome meet-up I tried to put together and imagine ... c'├ętait formidable !

Three kossacks from MD and DC joined us and this photo was taken by webgenie at the very end of the evening. Here we are:

from left to right: mimi, kim (wife of olliegarkey), olliegarkey, webgenie, Chacounne

There is no way in the world to have a hard time to chat and talk and think and laugh with Chacounne. She is such an inspiring mind, it is always a delightful pleasure to sit down with her and listen. I enjoyed the evening and her stay profoundly.

Let me explain a little bit about Chacounne's trip and mission below, but first let me get some other photos out of the way.

This is webgenie, who saved me and Chacounne from not finding each other in the huge entry hall of the Union Station.


Next is the smartest of us. He created artfully a sign identifying himself as dailykos hoping we would find him that way. Luckily the waiter could not only read, but think and - to my great relief - united us lost puppies.


You just need to know this: everything Olliegarkey wrote in this diary about him and his wife is irrefutable true.

I fell in love with my Wife that night because she recognized the danger fundamentalists posed if they were allowed to act unopposed, she shared my values, and most importantly, she was willing to spend an hour filling an empty trash can with creek water and washing chalk off of a church, and then another four defacing the college republicans chalk campaign as a response to their attack on my church. Because it was important. And because it was important to me.
An image worth a thousand words or more:
Olliegarkey with his lovely wife Kim

He is the good guy and that's why Chacounne just had to give him a huge, big hug.

Olliegarkey and Chacounne

Now to Chacounne. I think most of you knew her much better than I did. I remembered her comments, her signature referring to her husband Dan, who was tortured, her hugs and her kindness. But I was surprised about her intense determination to follow her mission to fight against torture, for peace and for justice. Her first diary touched me in the way she outlined what her ambitions are with regard to her lobbying efforts directly at the US Senate in Washington DC. This summarizes well what drives her:

He (Dan) left me a mission: To stop torture as the law, policy and practice of the United States, to push to ensure that those responsible at the highest levels are held legally accountable, and to stand up for Omar Khadr, the tortured Canadian child now grown who spent almost 10 years in Guantanamo Bay. ...
To be honest, this is the conference I have hoped to be a part of for many years. Yes, it is a conference for those of faith, and I am. I also believe that we need all hands on deck, including those of faith.
These photos represent faith and peace:


This woman stands for justice and against torture:


Chacounne had already written a diary about her first (very exhausting) day in DC, in which she mastered to walk all the floors of the National Museum of the American Indian (may be she will write about what her research area is and why this museum could help her solving a puzzle of special interest - I am not giving it away), walked the US Senate Dirksen building's hallways to knock at several Senators's doors to talk to them, lobbying against torture and for the release of the torture report, and showed up in the evening at our meet-up. What a day. Exhausting, but uplifting and inspiring.

Chacounne, a woman with a mission, a big heart, with compassion and empathy that show in her words and smiles. Beneath it is a strong will to fight for justice. This short clip is all I got done with my camera, before the memory card corrupted.

MVI 1847 from mimi on Vimeo.

The following three days at the conference invigorated her a lot, she seemed all inspired and "ready to go" to work on her project that developed during the conference in her mind. I am sure she will have a lot to say about that in the future.

I learned a lot from you during your visit, Chacounne, and it was my great pleasure to sit with you and talk into the wee hours. Thank you so very much.

Originally posted to Virginia Kos on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 06:31 AM PDT.

Also republished by DC Kossacks and Maryland Kos.

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