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, April 22, 2006

The Silence, Vast and Still

Larry Beinhart's recent piece in Common Dreams (In Silence, the War Continues) should be read by all who care about putting out the war that rages in our hearts and overflows onto the bodies of the innocent. After laying out the case that the Iraq War constitutes a war crime, indeed the "supreme international crime": "To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." - Nuremburg Tribunal, article 109.

How far have we fallen from the days when America spearheaded the movement to make war illegal? As Beinhart shows, the major difference between those times and ours is not the prevalence of violence, or even its justification, but the sheer emptiness with which we the children have greeted the advent of this crime. Our ancesters may have been more instinctive in their aggression, but a latent moral outrage flared even in the most brutal days, a flare that has flickered out in our hearts. Knowing we are cowards, the news media shields us from the horrors we have unleashed on the innocent. And we are glad to be shielded. We have become unworthy of the fire of justice.

The major difference between the crime of the 1930's and our own is the self-willed muffling of our conscience, or in the words of Beinhart, "There are no mitigating circumstances, except, perhaps, the silence.

The silence, vast and still, came from the media. It came from our other politicians. From our historians, lawyers and generals, from our priests, ministers, rabbis, and imams, who failed to step forward and say, wait, once upon a time we said that waging an aggressive war was the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

Once upon a time we hung people for the crime of waging an aggressive war.

We are continuing that war. We have already begun the preparations for another war.

We may not be able to stop this administration from committing war crimes, we may not be able to bring them to justice, but we can end the silence."

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