An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Impunity

"The world is soaked with mutual blood. When individuals commit homicide, it is a crime; it is called a virtue when it is done in the name of the state. Impunity is acquired for crimes not by reason of innocence but by the magnitude of the cruelty." -- St Cyprian of Carthage, To Donatus, chapter 6

"A U.S. Army captain forced an Iraqi detainee to dig his own grave and then ordered troops to pretend to shoot the detainee in one of several mock executions described in investigative documents released Tuesday by the Army...Included in the documents were reports of other mock executions, a homicide and the description of an incident in which a soldier allegedly goaded a prisoner by holding up the Jewish Star of David symbol while threatening other Arabs in the room...Two days later, the platoon came across a father and his sons loading metal onto a truck at the ammunition factory. After detaining the Iraqis, a soldier recounted, the sergeant asked the father, "Which one do you want to die?" รข€” referring to the man's sons.

Several soldiers said they recalled the sergeant taking one of the sons around the corner of a building and firing a shot.

'I yelled to him but he either ignored me or didn't hear me and proceeded with the boy around the building. We heard a single shot,' one sworn statement read.

When asked why he did not inquire what happened after he heard the shot, one soldier answered, 'The less I know, the faster I go home.'

Yancey's commanding officer, a colonel whose name was also blacked out, wrote, 'I do not see a requirement to tarnish [Yancey's] record for life with a federal conviction and dismissal at a general court-martial.' -- "Mock Executions of Iraqi Detainees Cited by Army", Los Angeles Times, May 18, 2005.

The powers that be know well the magnitude of the cruelty that induces an information vaccuum that sucks truth from our minds and compassion from our hearts. Or so it would appear as inanity drones on in the face of unspeakable cruelty. Or maybe it's just that we all feel, "The less I know, the faster I go home." Let us pray that we will not go home, but that we will grow hearts.

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