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.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

This is Your Freedom



Jesus is Laid in the Tomb



See the complete set of paintings at Church's "Anti-War" Paintings Draw Fire

"In a May 7th (2004) dispatch reproduced by IBC, New Standard correspondent Dahr Jamail reported that “rows and rows of fresh graves” occupied by civilians killed by their American “liberators” “filled the football stadium in Fallujah. Many of [the graves],” Jamail noted, “are smaller than others. My translator Nermim reads the gravestones to me: ‘This one is a little girl.’ We take another step. ‘This is one is her sister.’ Next to them is their mother.”

“We walk,” Jamail continued, “slowly under the scorching sun along dusty rows of humble headstones. She continues reading aloud to me: ‘Old man wearing jacket with black dishasho, near industrial center. He has a key in his hand.’ Many of the bodies were buried before they could be identified. Tears are welling up in my eyes as she quickly reads: ‘Man wearing red track suit.’ She points to another row: ‘three women killed in car leaving city by American missile.’”

Jamail quoted an Iraqi man who “’saw American snipers shoot a woman while she was hanging her clothes’

“Another man” interviewed by Jamail pointed to a mosque and recalled that “Marines entered the mosque before they bombed it and slit the throats of refugees. This,” the man asked Jamail, “is their democracy? This is their freedom?’”

"One of the bodies brought to the [Falluja] clinic," wrote Jamail on April 14th, 2004, "was that of a 55-year old man shot in the back by a [U.S.] sniper outside his home, while his wife and children huddled wailing inside. The family could not retrieve his body for fear of being shot themselves. His stiff corpse was carried into the clinic, flies swarming above it. One of his arms was half raised by rigor mortis” (www.iraqbodycount.org/resources/falluja/index.php)" - "Thomas Friedman and the Murder of Civilians", Paul Street, ZNET, Jan. 5, 2006.

The resort to war is not written in stone. These crimes, and we are speaking specifically about violations of the Geneva Conventions which enshrine the principle that persons who do not take part in armed hostilities are entitled to specal protection and humane treatment, are the result of decisions by this administration that show no regard for the life of Iraqis. Our temptation as resisters of these crimes is to despair of the goodness inherent in both a corrupt and Godless administration and a public anesthetized to the point of inanity. For Americans in particular, it would seem, to act without, not just immediate success, but even the realistic prospect of success, violates the worship of success which our culture has long incarnated. As war resisters, the culture that uses war as a first resort and, with the fall of any economic alternative to "savage capitalism", encounters no rival on the world scene, seems beyond challenge as it more and more openly violates the moral principles regarding torture, war, and fundamental human rights. Domination of the media has led to a sense that the current world order is beyond question, that we are staring into the "end of history", in the memorable words of one neoconservative. As Christians, we must remember that it is not and never will be until Christ comes again.

As Christians, our primary duty is to the truth, which is also love. We must recognize that we are living in a country that has placed itself outside the laws of humanity. This is now officially recognized in Europe, "Dick Marty, the Swiss lawmaker leading the probe on behalf of the Council of Europe, said there was no question the CIA was undertaking illegal activities in Europe in its transportation and detention of terror suspects. 'The strategy in place today respects neither human rights nor the Geneva Conventions,' Marty said at a news conference in the Swiss town of Burgdorf. 'The current administration in Washington is trying to combat terrorism outside legal means, the rule of law.'" "Investigator believes CIA flouted law in Europe", AP, Jan. 14, 2006.

Once we recognize the beast in whose belly we live, our duty, as Christians, is to resist with whatever weapons God has granted us, to the limit of our strength, leaving all prospect of success in His all-caring hands. Success will come first in the form of a newly-formed heart.

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