As congressional hearings began in Washington to determine the "facts" in the Iran-contra scandal, the family of Ben Linder attended his funeral in Nicaragua.
On April 28 the contras killed Benjamin Linder. His death, like the deaths of the two Nicaraguans killed with him, would have gone unnoticed in this country, except that Ben Linder was a U.S. citizen. Linder has now become the first U.S. citizen killed by the contras. He joins thousands of other innocent people killed by the U.S.-backed mercenaries since our government created and began funding that war. He was killed because of his engineering skills and his willingness to share them with the poor of Nicaragua.
Ben Linder, like other U.S. citizens living in Nicaragua, knew the risks involved and accepted those risks. He helped the people of rural Nicaragua obtain electricity, knowing that he could suffer injury or death at the hands of U.S.-employed mercenaries.
Ben Linder was a servant of humanity. He was a sign of hope for those who knew him. Through his actions and his life, he was the kind of ambassador our country should send to Nicaragua.
Linder understood that you can do more good with dams and ditches than bombs and guns. And, unlike the U.S. government, he could proudly tell the whole truth about what he was doing in Nicaragua, and why.
In the tiny village of El Cua, where Linder lived, people remembered him for the joy that he brought to the children. He was the only clown the children of that village had ever seen. And the kids liked to run after him as he rode down the street on his unicycle, dressed in his clown costume.