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, July 22, 2006
Nobody is Safe
'Carpenters are running out of wood for coffins,' reported the New York Times. 'Bodies are stacked three or four high in a truck at the local hospital morgue. The stench is spreading in the rubble.'
'The morbid reality of Israel’s bombing campaign of the south is reaching almost every corner of this city...[W]ild dogs gnawed at the charred remains of a family bombed as they were trying to escape the village of Hosh, officials said. Officials at the Tyre Government Hospital inside a local Palestinian refugee camp said they counted the bodies of 50 children among the 115 in the refrigerated truck in the morgue.'
The Holy See has also spoken out: "The Holy Father has declared July 23rd to be a day dedicated to prayers and penance for people of all religious faiths 'to implore God for the precious gift of peace.' In a brief statement issued by the Vatican press office on July 20, Pope Benedict XVI urged prayers for 'an immediate cese fire between the (warring) sides,' the establishment of 'a humaitarian corridor in order to bring aid to the suffering people,' and the start of 'reasonable and responsible negotiations so as to end the objective situation of injustice exisitng in that region.'
I share this information with you in hopes that you will find a way to share it with the priests and people of your (arch)dioceses. Also, I wanted you to be aware that both the Holy See have spoken out on the current crisis in the Middle East and you can find those statements on the USCCB website: http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2006/06-145.shtml.
Unfortunately, these statements make no mention of the provocations which the Israelis have inflicted on the Palestinians just in the last eight weeks. In the words of Alexander Cockburn: "Let’s go on a brief excursion into pre-history. I’m talking about June 20, 2006, when Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile at a car in an attempted extrajudicial assassination attempt on a road between Jabalya and Gaza City. The missile missed the car. Instead it killed three Palestinian children and wounded 15.
Back we go again to June 13, 2006. Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a van in another attempted extrajudicial assassination. The successive barrages killed nine innocent Palestinians.
Now we’re really in the dark ages, reaching far, far back to June 9, 2006, when Israel shelled a beach in Beit Lahiya killing 8 civilians and injuring 32." CounterPunch, July 21, 2006.
Devoid of context, the charges made against Hezbollah and Hamas become pretexts for may soon amount to ethnic cleansing in southern Lebanon, paid for by your tax dollars. Do the good bishops mention that one-third of the Lebanese civilians murdered by Israel’s attacks on civilian residential districts are children? "That is the report from Jan Egeland, the emergency relief coordinator for the UN. He says it is impossible for help to reach the wounded and those buried in rubble, because Israeli air strikes have blown up all the bridges and roads." Paul Craig Roberts, CounterPunch, July 22-23, 2006. Our bishops seem unable to ask questions as simple as "If Israel is targeting Hizbollah, why are Israeli bombs falling on northern Lebanon? Why are they falling on Beirut? Why are they falling on civilian airports? On schools and hospitals?"
In fact, though I welcome statements in support of those suffering so grievously in Lebanon, when they tacitly accept the equivalence between a few rocket attacks and the destruction of an entire country's infrastructure, such statements become complicit in the terror campaign long planned and currently being carried out by Israel. We must raise our voices against such immoral unbalanced statements. Where is the church that is the voice of the poor? Are we not eating and drinking damnation unto ourselves when we sit silently while blatant crimes are carried out in our names and with our money? Where are the bishops who will speak about that?
In the end, we must trust in the reality of divine justice with all our hearts, for divine justice is what guarantees the instability of unjust conditions - it is the power of life that eats away continuously at the foundations of the empire of violence. Only by more and more violence can these unjust conditions be kept upon an even keel. The rulers of Israel and the U.S. must keep adding more and more police, more and more military control to preserve the illusion of their dominance. The trajectory is clearly toward toward total annihilation of the living world that will never cease to resist their lust for power for its own sake. "All that grows on the foundation of injustice is organized peacelessness. So unjust systems have feet of clay. They have no lasting development. The hidden presence in world history of the divine justice in God's Spirit 'destabilizes', so to speak, human systems of injustice, and sees to it that they cannot last." Jurgen Moltmann, The Spirit of Life. May each one reading this blog become part of that destabilization!