"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.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Magic Markers into Tattoos

An Iraqi man has his forehead marked with "K2"

"That picture where that unnamed man’s furrowed forehead is marked "K2" by the marine captures the fundamental process of dehumanization that you will find if you scratch the surface of all major 20th century atrocities. That man is no longer a man for those soldiers: he is a detainee, a number, a representation of the enemy, of the people who shoot at them, the people who they hate, people who they are scared of, people that aren’t people. He can be blindfolded, marked, humiliated before his heartbroken family, taken away at will.

Once you cross that line, some of those soldiers will eventually abuse, torture and kill some of those “non-people.” This isn’t even an indictment of American culture, rather, this is the fundamental lesson of a bloody century: dehumanization is the first step towards atrocity. The particular way in which we do this may be influenced by our culture --and where else have you seen such a pornographic interest in the victims-- but we are hardly unique or immune. In fact, reading about that very disturbing account of Dilawar’s death in Bagram, Afghanistan published last week in the New York Times made me think that we seem to have arrived somewhere between Chile and Argentina during the military dictatorships in terms of systematization of the torture.

The question facing us is whether we will stop before magic markers turn into tattoos." - Under the Same Sun, May 25, 2005

Come, consider the works of the Lord,
the redoubtable deeds he has done on the earth.
He puts an end to wars over all the earth;
the bow he breaks, the spear he snaps.
He burns the shields with fire.
"Be still and know that I am God,
supreme among the namtions, supreme on the earth!"

The Lord of hosts is with us:
The God of Jacob is our stronghold."

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